Energy efficiency renovation programmes in the Visegrad countries, Bulgaria and Romania. Good practices and recommendations for ESIF post 2020.

The event organized in cooperation with the Permanent Representation of the Slovak Republic to the EU explored good practice and ideas on effective set up of the ESIF post 2020 focused on leveraging the crucial role of buildings in meeting the challenges of climate change and European energy targets in the Visegrad countries, Bulgaria, Romania and the EU in general.

Buildings for the Future, Chance for Buildings, MEHI, NAPE and the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) joined forces to promote energy efficient renovation in buildings across the Eastern block of the European Union. As part of their effort they unveiled a set of recommendations for designing a more forward looking programming and effective use of ESIF post-2020.
The building stock accounts for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU, making them the single largest energy consumer in Europe. Renovation of existing buildings can lead to significant energy savings and plays a key role in the clean energy transition, as it could reduce the EU’s total energy consumption by 5-6% and lower CO2 emissions by about 5%.
The buildings sector is also the sector with the biggest current investment gap (at around €180 billion each year) — nearly three quarters of the EU’s 2030 clean energy investment gap is accounted for by energy efficiency in buildings.
With this in mind and in the framework of the ESIF post 2020 trialogue discussion, Buildings for the Future, Chance for Buildings, MEHI, NAPE, and EU-ASE have jointly organized a policy workshop to take stock of best practices in promoting energy efficiency of buildings in the Visegrad countries, Bulgaria and Romania.
The event “Energy Efficiency renovation programmes in the Visegrad countries: good practices and recommendations for ESIF post 2020” provided a timely opportunity for an expert contribution to the ongoing debate on the effective setup of future ESI Funds in promoting energy efficiency in buildings.
Today it has been very useful to hear about good practices and renovation programmes from different Eastern European countries” – said Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy – “we wish that the recommendations and the inputs provided today will contribute to a 2021-2027 ESIF that sustain such programmes and bridges the gap between current and needed investment levels into energy efficiency of buildings”.
The initiative took place under the auspices of the Permanent Representation of Slovakia to the EU and with the support of the International Visegrad Fund.

 

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EU-ASE, key player at the European Sustainable Energy Week 2019

Held from 18-20 June, EUSEW19 brought together climate and energy experts for an unparalleled policy conference, bringing the energy transition debate to the table once again.

Selected by the European Commission and EASME as Strategic Partner for this year’s edition, the European Alliance to Save Energy played a significant role during the week, organising three different sessions – Sustainable finance for innovation and energy efficiency; Every Drop Counts: The water-energy nexus and its relevance across EU policies; EPC: Delivering real energy savings from EU to local level – and hosting a stand at the Networking Village. The goal? To get across the message that investing in energy efficiency is, indeed, the smartest and most cost-efficient move in order to achieve decarbonisation by 2050 at the latest. On top of this, Monica Frassoni, President of the Alliance, was once again nominated as EUSEW Ambassador, taking part to the debate and giving away one of the Sustainable Energy Awards.

 

Introduced by Julie Kjestrup, Head of the Danfoss EU Office, the first session focused on the role of sustainable finance to boost investments in innovation and energy efficiency across sectors. After a presentation by Climate Strategy CEO Peter Sweatman, pointing out to the need to scale up investment in R&I to achieve decarbonisation, the event kicked off with a first all-female panel moderated by Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Senior Advisor at E3G and EIT-ClimateKic. Over a lively discussion, participants –Adèle Naudy-Chambaud, EU Public Affairs Manager at Schneider Electric; Diana Barglazan, Policy Officer for Energy Efficiency at DG ENER; and Ingrid Holmes, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Hermes Investment Management – addressed both the private and public instruments already available for directing capital to investment. With stellar moderation by Helen Spence-Jackson, from EIT-ClimateKIC, the second panel also featured a private-public mix of speakers, this time focusing on existing barriers to investments and how to tackle them. Barry Lynham, Managing Director at Knauf Energy Solutions, highlighted that the first step to take would be for “energy efficiency to stop focusing on barriers, as it only means great opportunity”.

The session –co-organised with EU-ASE member European Climate Foundation– was closed by Monica Frassoni, who underlined that we do indeed need technology, but also societal organization, strong regulation, and much more urgent action on climate. “Energy efficiency is one element of a bigger system of which we are all elements, so we better do it together”, she said.

The second session of the day, jointly organized with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, focused on the link between water and energy. Despite being inextricably interconnected, water and energy policies do not account for each other. As a result, both scarce resources are wasted, keeping the EU away from fulfilling its climate and energy targets and contributing to fighting the climate crisis. Chaired by Maive Rute, Deputy Director-General of the JRC, and Monica Frassoni, the discussion confronted industry proposals with policy-makers views. Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General of DG ENVI, highlighted the impossibility of delivering any policy related to water without a comprehensive approach that includes the water-energy nexus. Industry members –including Jure Sumi, Business Development Director at Knauf Insulation; Simon Goldschmidt, Chief Commercial Officer at Orbital Systems; and David Martin, Vice President of Government Relations at Nalco Water– pointed out the many already available existing solutions for preventing the waste of energy and water, like green roofs, smart systems for the management of leakages, or domestic sector solutions applying circular economy principles, such as Orbital System’s efficient shower. The event was an opportunity to present EU-ASE’s most recent paper on the energy-water nexus.

 

The second day of EUSEW19 kept us a busy in the Networking Village. From our stand, we presented the energy efficiency success stories of our members, tangible examples of energy efficiency real solutions across sectors that delivered both tangible and intangible benefits.

We closed EUSEW with a final discussion on EPCs, co-organised with EFIEES, eu.esco, EVO, and Stepping Project. The session shed some light on the main barriers both public and private sectors face in relation to the tool –lack of information, wrong perception of the risks associated to them, or limited internal capacity in public authorities– while also proposing new financing schemes and solutions to address them, such as an innovative instrument designed by Slovak Investment Holding that takes the burden off both the esco, and the public building. Katarzyna Wardal, EU Public Affairs Manager at Knauf Insulation, pointed out to the need of technical assistance coming from a proper regulatory framework to cover up for the lack of capacity in public authorities, suggesting cohesion funds as an optimal tool to do so.

With its persistence presence over the three days of the policy conference, this year’s EUSEW has further proven that EU-ASE is the leading voice of energy efficiency in the European Union.

Did you miss it? Re-play the sessions here.

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EEGlobal 2019 – Doubling down on Energy Efficiency

Join hundreds of energy efficiency influencers at the 2019 EE Global Forum, being held June 11-12 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

Over the last 12 years, EE Global has established itself as the energy efficiency high-level gathering place – the one event that draws together business executives, government leaders, and advocates from across sectors and continents for actionable dialogues on advancing energy efficiency.

This year, EE Global will be Doubling Down on Energy Efficiency, with an agenda focused on facilitating faster, broader implementation of innovative energy efficiency solutions to help mitigate climate change and drive economic growth. For more information, or to make plans to attend, visit www.eeglobalforum.org.

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At COP24, President underlines that Energy Efficiency comes first, but needs to work in synergy

EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni took part to the EU Energy Day, a long-day session organised by the European Commission on the framework of COP24 in Katowice, where she participated in the panel “Renewables, decentralisation and democracy: transforming energy systems”.

One of the very few energy efficiency voices present in the panel, during her intervention Frassoni underlined that Energy Efficiency First must indeed be central to all future planning, but that it needs to work in synergy with other actors of the energy transition, with especial emphasis on renewables. Citizens, which are at the heart of the change, must be included as active participants in the climate and energy discussions, she said.

After her intervention at the panel, Monica was interviewed by EU-ASE Member Danfoss on the back seat of a Tesla car. On this innovative, different setting, she addressed the untapped potential of energy efficiency and said it is “the golden bullet in our hands”.

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The Franco-German axis, important player on leveraging energy efficiency in the European Union

The event, jointly organised by EU-ASE, DENEFF and OFATE, brought together a cross-sectoral panel of energy efficiency actors to show clear support to an ambitious national and European energy efficiency agenda

Last Friday 30th November, EU-ASE, DENEFF and OFATE held its First Franco-German Energy Efficiency Business Summit. The event took place at the Jakob Kaiser Haus in the Bundestag, in Berlin, and was attended by around 60 participants. The session aimed at delivering the message that the Franco-German alliance stands strong for energy efficiency and policy implementation at national and EU level, with representatives from both countries’ public administration and business sectors.

The discussion was opened by Andreas Jung, MP, who called for energy efficiency as essential to combat climate change, and praised the FR-DE collaboration, expressing his wish that it continues with its important work. After him, Carsten Müller, MP, supported this idea saying that both France and Germany are leaders in the energy business and, as such, they should also take leadership on climate and energy policies.

EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni, who moderated the first of three panels, pointed out that targets set out by the EU, as well as the recently released EU Commission’s Long Term Strategy, were insufficient and that we should aim at more ambition in order to achieve the 1.5ºC goal. She underlined that “there is good language and disposition towards energy efficiency but, in terms of actual agenda and actions, we are still far from what is needed.” Barbara Frei, Schneider Electric Country President, said that Europe is no longer on track to meet its 2030 objectives and energy efficiency is the only and primary leader to be able to reach environmental and climate goals. “The next ten years will be critical to mitigate climate change: the revised Energy Performance in Buildings Directive provides us with a unique opportunity to accelerate the energy transition, with the support of innovative and enabling technologies such as Building Automation and Controls,” she added. Her intervention was followed by Thorsten Herdan, German MP, who opened his speech claiming that France and Germany need to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change and the ambition in regards to energy efficiency. He pinpointed some raw facts to the audience, such as the energy demand reduction potential of energy efficiency and, hence, how important it is to invest on it. He also underlined that strategies are usually too focused on the demand side and that the supply side should be taken into account. “The current bad side of policies”, he said, “is that right now neither France nor Germany are allowed to raise the level of ambition as set out in their coalition treaty”. As other speakers, he also signaled at the need to change the narrative to improve understanding of the benefits of energy efficiency amongst legislators and citizens, making clear that energy efficiency is not a cost driver but, in fact, the complete opposite.

Marjolaine Meynier-Millefert, French MP also participating in the session, recognized that “there is no point pretending that there is not a long road ahead of France in the path towards an energy efficient economy”, but also highlighted that French potential is very high and that energy efficiency improvements in building are to become a top priority in the country’s energy roadmap. She also presented a new communication plan to be implemented in France to make citizens aware of the different climate challenges and getting them on board of the change of paradigm needed. “France cannot afford not to be exemplary when it comes to climate”, she said. Emmanuel Normant, Vice President for Sustainable Development at Saint-Gobain, presented the EU building stock as the big opportunity for reducing GHG emissions, but pointed out that the deep renovation had yet to happen, as only 2% of it is classified as A in the EU building rating system. “The technology is there“, he underlined, “but there is a need for faster deployment of solutions.” He highlighted the need to embark energy efficiency in every other decision and solution, and to compare the cost of the investment to the benefits reaped on the long-term. “If we are not serious with building renovation we are not serious with our commitment with Paris”, he added.

On the European Commission’s behalf, Hans Van Steen, from DG Energy, communicated that the European institution is very happy about its 2050 Long-term strategy and the targets and goals proposed. He said that it sets a clear pathway with specific goals towards carbon neutrality, and that it is not only about the climate, but also about delivering benefits to EU citizens by increasing welfare, competitiveness, and the chance to show leadership.

The second panel, moderated by Christian Noll, the Director of Deneff, focused on the private business perspective and brought together several high-level speakers with a cross-sectoral point of view. Katarzyna Wardal from Knauf Insulation called upon governments to put net zero buildings the heart of their national legislation and Andreas Rindt on behalf of Signify supported the idea, stressing that developments on the national level still need to take place. Kamila Waciega, Director of Energy at the Public Affairs Department, Veolia, agreed and stressed that the real energy efficiency gains can only be achieved when primary and final energy savings are taken into account. All panelists agreed on the urgent need to attract private investment to accelerate and improve implementation, as well as an everyday more pressing evidence that a clear and stable framework that can drive business decisions and actions is key. The importance of the Governance Regulation, which sets roads and rules for implementation of the rest of the directives, was especially emphasized. Karl-Peter Thelen, Executive Director Regulatory and Public Affairs at Engie, stressed that energy efficiency is a key element for a sustainable future and that the most important part when it comes to implementation is that Member States set clear targets and a framework “to increase the attractiveness of investments in energy efficiency while at the same time allowing for optimal technical solutions”. 

The session ended with a third panel, moderated by Sven Rösner, Director of FR-DE Office for Energy Transition (OFATE) brought forward a fruitful debate between advocacy organisations and German Federal Government representatives, aimed at evaluating the impact of the new European framework on the national context. The panel featured speakers like Stefan Besser, Head of Unit of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; Adrian Joyce from EuroACE; or Stefan Scheuer from the Coalition for Energy Savings. All the speakers highlighted the importance of bringing together all sectors of society – Public Administration, citizens, NGOs, and of trying to forge new alliances. Another common point was that, first and foremost, energy efficiency should be the priority for buildings, as it is the most cost-effective option for decarbonization. Furthermore, Joyce said, it also brings social benefits, as it tackles energy poverty. “When you touch a building, you touch people’s lives, so you must touch them correctly”, he pointed out. Stefan Besser stated that currently no massive changes were foreseen for the German regulatory approach, a statement in stark contrast with the demands of his co-panelists. The discussion engaged both the panel and the audience on an interesting debate about the link between the current protests in France which sparked off as a reaction to carbon taxation and the fact that energy efficiency can help private households to spend less money on energy and create tens of thousands of jobs for all qualifications when properly implemented. On this note, Marjolaine Millefert-Meynier stated from the audience her opinion that the turmoil as we see it currently in France should also be seen as an opportunity, as people started to think about the way they use energy and the cost of it. She believes this to be a starting point for a dialogue on energy policies.

The event was followed by a guided visit of the EUREF Campus, a smart urban district and pilot project for the transition to sustainable energy and mobility.

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