Open Letter: The importance of Minimum Energy Performance Standards to spur the Renovation Wave

Brussels, 9 September 2020

 

Dear Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans,

The upcoming Strategic Communication on the Renovation Wave is crucial to deliver on the objectives of the European Green Deal and the EU Recovery Plan, since faster and deeper energy renovations are a must for a climate-neutral Europe and a clear win-win investment priority for a green and fair recovery.

We are contacting you to stress the importance of Minimum Energy Performance Standards for existing buildings in the EU legislative framework to fill the EU policy gap and make the Renovation Wave a success. Two recent studies by RAP (2020) and CE Delft (2020) show that Minimum Energy Performance Standards can stimulate the required volume and depth of renovation, and effectively make the EU building stock highly energy efficient, renewable-based, smart and flexible at the center of a decentralized energy system, which is essential for the EU to meet its climate targets and recover from the crisis.

What are Minimum Energy Performance Standards?

Minimum Energy Performance Standards require buildings to meet a predefined minimum energy performance standard, set for example in terms of an energy rating, which must be reached by a specified date or at a certain moment in the natural life of the building (sale, change in tenure). The standards can be progressively tightened over time in line with the EU’s climate and energy objectives.

What are the benefits of Building Energy Performance Standards?

Minimum Energy Performance Standards can ensure that the worst-performing buildings are upgraded and can help get the EU building stock on a trajectory towards climate neutrality. They can support the alleviation of energy poverty, by reducing energy bills for better and more comfortable homes, if accompanied with adequate social safeguards to help ensure the affordability of housing.

Minimum Energy Performance Standards are already in use worldwide, including in several EU countries, such as the Netherlands, France and Belgium. They are a proven policy solution that can help overcome the significant barriers that have hindered energy renovation to date, when introduced as part of a comprehensive renovation policy framework. These standards signal the transition and destination for the entire building stock and individual buildings, which helps align the demand for supply chains, providing impetus for business and social innovation. They can also direct the take-up of funding towards buildings most in need of energy renovation, improving the effectiveness, dispersion and absorption of existing and new programmes. If done right with sufficient lead times, the standards allow the market to mobilise itself and properly plan for the transformation.

Minimum Energy Performance Standards now need to be included in EU legislation

It is for all these reasons that earlier this year the Industry Committee of the European Parliament called on the Commission to “develop a legislative framework for the introduction of minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings that are progressively tightened over time in line with the 2050 objective”.

Any set of measures aiming at tripling the renovation rate and reaching a highly energy-efficient and decarbonized building stock by 2050 must include Minimum Energy Performance Standards to be successful. We therefore expect the European Commission to put forward legislative proposals in the immediate future to introduce Minimum Energy Performance Standards, making use of the available funding and technical assistance to support their introduction. There are different options how this can be done at the EU-level, e.g. by strengthening relevant articles of existing energy and building legislation, proposing incremental targets across the whole building stock, or by setting an obligation based on results.

As a flagship of the European Green Deal and the EU Recovery Plan, we look to you to ensure that the Renovation Wave includes an action plan with new measures including Minimum Energy Performance Standards to ensure delivery of the Renovation Wave’s ambitions and to provide tangible benefits to EU citizens.

 

Download the letter here

Leading businesses urge Governments to put building renovation at the centre of recovery plans

Ahead of the important European Council meeting of next 17-18 July, EU-ASE addressed a letter to the 27 EU Heads of State and government to call for leadership and long-term political vision for managing the economic and social crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Brussels, 14 July 2020

 

Dear Leaders of Europe,

 

The health and socio-economic crisis caused by Covid-19 calls for unprecedented decisions in the process of designing resilience and recovery plans. We have now an opportunity for Europe as a whole to make a great leap forward towards new and more sustainable economic models, instead of going back to the pre-crisis status quo. Now more than ever, Europe needs your bold political vision to implement immediate measures and to quickly fix the damages left behind by COVID-19, while investing in our long-term future. This opportunity should not be wasted.

As businesses and investors having energy efficiency and energy demand reduction at the heart of our activities, we expect Europe’s global climate leadership to be translated into measures which will lead to a green recovery and positive long term impact for citizens, business and the environment. As an example, the Renovation Wave is a unique opportunity to promote a European based industry, with technologies and expertise able to serve the renovation demand locally. Investing in the comprehensive renovation of the European building stock will help maintain the competitive advantage of the European construction value chain and create local jobs, while lifting millions of Europeans out of energy poverty. But despite its great potential, only a few Member States have committed to this objective by submitting their Long-Term Renovation Strategies due in March.

According to the European Commission’s recovery strategy released last month, the renovation of buildings across Europe is key and the upcoming Renovation Wave Initiative will be critical to stress the positive impact that sustainable and energy efficient buildings can have on health, well-being and quality of life; emission reduction and climate change; economic recovery and job creation. According to a recent study, for every €1 million invested in energy renovation of buildings, an average of 18 jobs are created in the EU. These are local, long-term jobs that will stimulate economic growth and will help drive us out of the economic crisis.

In order to fully realize Europe’s building renovation potential, it is paramount to increase the renovation rate of the building stock to a minimum of a 3% per year and make renovation programmes the cornerstone of the national recovery and resilience plans that you are due to present next October.

In view of the above, we look forward to working with you to decarbonize the EU building stock by 2050.

Yours sincerely,

Monica Frassoni
President of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE)

 

Download the letter

 

Media contact:
Matteo Guidi
+32 493 37 21 42
matteo.guidi@euase.eu

Letter calls upon the REGI Committee to exclude fossil fuels from the Just Transition Fund

Dear Member of the REGI Committee, 

We call on you to vote in favour of a better future for communities by voting for regions to leap forward, not backwards. In your vote on the 6 July, we ask the REGI Committee to exclude fossil fuels from the Just Transition Fund – including fossil gas – and support a just transition for all. 

Fossil gas is a fuel with substantial CO2 and methane emissions contributing to climate change and its catastrophic impacts on people and biodiversity. Methane is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 20-year period, making it the second most important greenhouse gas, contributing to 25% of warming experienced today. 

Fossil gas infrastructure is also not compatible with most renewable gases, and almost certainly not for renewable gases at scale. The European Commission and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have successively scaled down gas demand projections for 2030. 

The EU’s Just Transition Fund is an integral part of the EU Green Deal. It has the potential to ensure that Europe’s transition to a climate neutral, resilient and healthy future leaves no region – or person – behind. But this requires a strong commitment to a climate-neutrality goal that would limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C. 

Communities have an opportunity to leap forward to a more sustainable, more resilient and healthier future away from carbon extractive industries. Investing in fossil gas comes with huge cost to the climate, Europe’s competitiveness and European societies. Meanwhile, renewable energy investments bring up to three times more jobs per euro invested than the same amount invested in fossil fuels – and renewable jobs are more likely to be local than those in fossil gas. 

It’s time to face the truth: fossil gas has no place in EU funds, including the Just Transition Fund. The Council realised this and so too must the Parliament.

Read the full statement

Open letter: Include energy renovation as priority of German Presidency

In view of the German presidency of the Council of the European Union, EU-ASE has supported an open letter to German Federal Ministers Altmaier, Seehofer, and Schulze urging them to include building renovation as a priority of the presidency programme.

The letter states:

The Renovate Europe Campaign (REC) is following with interest the development of the Programme for the upcoming German Council Presidency. The proposed priorities that we have heard of through public events and announcements, have raised concern among our 39 partner companies and associations. Among those partners we have 15 national partners, including, from Germany, DENEFF.

Our concern arises from the fact that there has been absolutely no mention of energy renovation of the building stock within the proposals we have heard about (including in the 18-month Programme of the Council1), a very surprising omission considering the recent webinar that was organised by the German Permanent Representation in Brussels on the topic of the Renovation Wave. On this point, we urge you to ensure that the German Council Presidency supports and promotes the forthcoming Renovation Wave Strategy currently being prepared for publication in September by the European Commission as a crucial pillar of the forthcoming European economic recovery.

Our objective is to ask that before the Presidency starts on the 1st July, energy renovation of our ageing and inefficient building stock is included as a priority in the Final Council Presidency Programme, which we understand is still in the final stages of development.

 

Read the full letter here

Water is everyone’s business

The European Alliance to Save Energy is one of the undersigned organisations and businesses​ that stand with the 375,000 European citizens who have urged the EU governments and the European Commission to preserve the European Union’s groundbreaking Water Framework Directive in its current form, as advocated by the #ProtectWater campaign.

The Water Framework Directive is the key law to ensuring that freshwater ecosystems in Europe are protected and restored and water is sustainably managed, fully supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This law has provided a stable regulatory framework and has encouraged collective water stewardship action in river basins across the EU.

The joint statement is signed by:

AquaFed, Aqualia, Compagnie Intercommunale Liégeoise des Eaux, The Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola European Partners, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, Dupont Water Solutions, Ecolab, European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), European Fishing Tackle Trade Association, European Outdoor Conservation Association, Greencore, Grundfos, H&M Group, Heineken, Knauf Insulation, Kyoto Club, NVP Energy Solutions, Suez, Veolia, WAKEcup Global, Water Europe, and Xylem.

 

Read the full statement