Business Alliance call for urgent action on the transition to a climate neutral Europe

To the kind attention of Ms Grațiela-Leocadia Gavrilescu
Vice Prime Minister, Minister of the Environment of the Government of Romania
Cc ENVI Council Members of the 28 Member States of the European Union

Dear Vice Prime Minister Gavrilescu,

I am writing to you on behalf of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE). We are a multi-sectoral business organisation whose members operate across the 28 Member States of the European Union, with an aggregated annual turnover of €115 bn, directly employing 340.000 people in Europe.

The Alliance creates an outreach platform for our companies (Danfoss, Knauf Insulation, Schneider Electric, Saint-Gobain, Siemens, Signify, and Veolia) towards politicians and thought leaders to ensure the voice of energy efficiency is heard from across the business and political community.

Below we summarized our reactions to and recommendations on the European Commission’s communication A Clean Planet For All. More information on our views concerning the EU long term energy and climate strategy are available in the position paper “Energy Efficiency accelerating the shift to a decarbonised Europe”.

  • We welcome the European Commission’s vision and we share the sense of urgency to tackle climate change it vehiculates.
  • We support the objective of netzero emissions by 2050 in order to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 °C and align the Paris Agreement objectives.

According to the latest science as spelled out in the IPCC special report,  global emissions must fall to net-zero as early as possible if we are to prevent economic, environmental and human losses that would stem from the temperature increase above 1.5 °C.[1]

  • We call upon European leaders to agree on net-zero emissions by 2050 without further delays.

The European Commission communication clearly demonstrated the transition to net-zero emissions is an economic opportunity that Europe should not miss. An EU-wide strategy for climate neutrality can unleash innovation and investment streams in the short and medium term while safeguarding the future of the planet. We need to act fast. As the Commission has acknowledged the current 2030 targets are not sufficient to be in line with the Paris Agreement objectives.  Therefore, in a 2030 perspective, we need to step up those targets to boost our efforts in terms of policies and investments. This way the EU will continue to prove its global leadership in curbing emissions and reinforcing the business, social and environmental case for climate-change mitigation.

  • We strongly endorse the call of the European Commission for energy efficiency to play a central role in reaching net-zero emissions by 2050

Integrating the Energy Efficiency First principle in the long-term EU energy and climate strategy becomes even more urgent if we consider that 76% of EU GHG emissions cuts needed to achieve the Paris Agreement objectives can come from energy efficiency improvements, in particular in sectors with high potential.[2]

Energy efficiency is by far the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions . Yet, when presenting the cost of energy efficiency in the policy scenarios, the European Commission used in its modelling exercise a high 10% discount rate that made the investments look less attractive, while the discount rates applied by Member States across the EU usually range between of 4 to 5.7%.  Lowering the discount rate used for modeling purpose would  help to promote investments necessary to halve the energy consumption needs by 2050 (as compared to 2005) as announced by the Commission in the LTS.

  • We believe that Energy Efficiency First should be considered as a basis of the European long term strategy and the main driver of the transformation towards a fossilfree energy system.

According to the EU’s Governance of the Energy Union Regulation, “Energy Efficiency First” means assessing the potential of energy efficiency in all decision related to energy use. In practice this is about systematically comparing the added value of energy efficiency measures and carbon-neutral energy supply solutions, taking account of benefits such as job creation, economic growth, energy security, improved air quality, and climate mitigation. The Energy Efficiency First principle boils down to making informed choices to invest taxpayers’ money in cost-effective measures. We need to avoid investments in infrastructures that are incompatible with the net-zero ambition and could thus lead to the creation of stranded assets.

  • We welcome the call for higher buildings’ renovation rates and the recognition of the role that digitalisation and near zero-emissions buildings will play in the transition.

While it is well established that buildings sector  (both the residential and service sectors) will play a crucial role in the reduction of the final energy consumption, the modelled renovation rates in the LTS are not capturing its full potential. The Communication assumes a timid 1.8% yearly renovation rate, which will not be sufficient to achieve the needed transformation of the building stock – 97% of which is still remaining energy inefficient.

We, therefore, urge European leaders to back deep staged renovation of the European building stock and aim to increase the retrofit rate to at least 3% per year. Highly efficient and resilient buildings will also help accelerate the integration of renewables into a flexible and consumer centered energy system.

  • We are convinced that the transition is feasible because:
  1. Reliable and tested technologies exist and are ready to be deployed at scale and across sectors;
  2. The legislative framework is in place and must be implemented in an ambitious and forward-looking manner;
  3. Innovative financing mechanisms are available and together with public resources can help mobilize private investments in areas with high mitigation potential.
  • We are eager to work together with citizens and decision-makers to support a just transition

A just transition, as spelled out during the COP24, will foster sustainable growth through innovation, knowledge transfer and development of new skills, each of these contributing to the prosperity, health and well-being of Europe’s citizens.


The process to achieve a climate neutral Europe is an opportunity to design an energy transition path that will benefit citizens, businesses and the environment. The European Alliance to Save Energy wants to be part of that process and accompany stakeholders in the definition of the most adequate and enabling policy framework there is.

We encourage you and your colleagues, as a political leaders to endorse the Commission’s strategic vision and notably its ambition of EU climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest.

We wish you a fruitful meeting and remain at your disposition for further discussion on this strategic topic.

We remain at your disposal for further discussion on this important topic.

Yours sincerely,

Monica Frassoni


[1] Keeping global warming to a 1.5°C rather than a 2°C rise will save an estimated €17 trillion in world GDP, according to research by Stanford University.

[2] World Energy Outlook, IEA, 2015, (figure 3.4), p. 76, see at:

Follow us

Privacy Policy

© All right reserved

Energy-Water nexus in the Recast of the Drinking Water Directive

I am writing to you on behalf of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE). We are a multi-sectoral business organisation whose members operate across the 28 Member States of the European Union, with an aggregated annual turnover of €115 bn, directly employing 340.000 people in Europe.

We welcome the Council’s ongoing work on the recast of the Drinking Water Directive. The recast of the Drinking Water Directive is a unique opportunity to include a missing dimension in the current water regulatory framework, which is the energy-water nexus. There is a huge energy savings potential in the water sector and measures to improve the better management of drinking water from Member States can avoid unnecessary loss of water and contribute to reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 6) and the Paris Agreement objectives on climate change.

Information to the public on performance of energy consumption and leakage rates

Given the scale of water leakages and the energy consumption of the water sector, we believe that providing information to the public on the performance in terms of energy consumption and leakage rates would incentivize the optimization of energy use by preventing waste energy lost through leakage throughout the entire water value chain.

In particular, we welcome the Romanian Presidency’s re-inclusion of measures which provide information to the public on the overall performance including leakage rates and energy consumption in Article 14 and Annex IV of the latest compromise text.

We regret that information to the public on the performance of water leakage rates and energy consumption is not mandatory and would therefore suggest removing the word ‘for instance’ as outlined in the text below. 

Annex VI, (7)

The overall performance of the water system in terms of efficiency, including for instance leakage rates and energy consumption per cubic meter of delivered water.

Additional measures to tackle water leakage and address water scarcity

Current leakage rates at EU level are too high. According to the Commission’s impact assessment, 23% of treated water is lost in public water supplies in Member States. This means that 23% of the drinking water for the public must be treated again to enable access to clean drinking water for human consumption, adding to the high energy consuming profile of the drinking water sector.

As example, one leak of 8,3 mm has emission of 3454 kg CO2 eq/a or equivalent to 75% of a car running all year[1]. In Brussels, based on this calculation and on the assumption of real water losses of about 23%, water leakage produces a total volume of drinking water lost per year of 11,1 Million m3/a which determines 634,4 Mtoe/a CO2-emissions equivalent to the emissions of 138 cars running non-stop for the whole year.

In light of the above, we would like to underline that more ambitious measures are needed in order to effectively tackle the scale of Europe’s water leakage problem. We would recommend reinserting the Recital 21 – including mandatory Member State action plans to be developed in order to deal with the growing issue of water scarcity – and consider that investments are needed to incentivize Member States to upgrade their water infrastructure in order to better adapt to climate change and water stress. As such, for Recital 21, we suggest to consider the text outlined below.

Recital 21: The principles to be considered in the setting of water tariffs, namely recovery of costs for water services and polluter pays, are set out in Directive 2000/60/EC.  However, the financial sustainability of the provision of water services is not always ensured, sometimes leading to under-investment in the maintenance of water infrastructure. With the improvement of monitoring techniques, leakage rates – mainly due to such under-investment – have become increasingly apparent and reduction of water losses should be encouraged at Union level to improve the efficiency of water infrastructure. In line with the principle of subsidiarity, that issue should be addressed by increasing transparency and consumer information on leakage rates and energy efficiency. Furthermore, Member States should be recommended to develop action plans that deal with the growing issue of water scarcity, including measures to deal with water leakage.

We trust you agree that reducing energy waste in the water sector makes economic and environmental sense as it delivers tangible, multiple and collective benefits to European citizens, households and local authorities.

We remain at your disposition for further discussion on this important topic.


Yours sincerely,

Monica Frassoni

[1] Energy for disinfecting by UV and distributing the water under 6,9 bars pressure in Brussels:  0,15 kW/m3 or 0,033 kg CO2 equivalent/m3.  Considering 23% of water losses in Brussels, we waste 1,77 Giga Watts or 634,4 metric tons of CO2 eq per year, equivalent to 138 cars running non-stop on gas for the whole year (Source: Xylem Inc. based on International Energy Agency: World Energy Outlook 2016, Brussels Environment, Eurostat, US Environemental Protection Agency).

Follow us

Privacy Policy

© All right reserved

Op-ed: The pathway to sustainable cooling

Jürgen Fischer, President, Danfoss Cooling

Jürgen has broad leadership experience from global industrial companies within IT, telecommunication, and machine-building. He is passionate about the digital transformation in the cooling sector and constantly challenges innovation to leverage e.g. the potential of energy storage across Danfoss. In 2008, Jürgen joined Danfoss as Vice President for Industrial Automation, and since 2015, Jürgen Fischer has been President of Danfoss Cooling.

Jürgen holds a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Augsburg. In addition, he holds several degrees from executive education programs at INSEAD and IMD.

As the global temperature rises, sustainable space cooling solutions are more important than ever. The IEA Future of Cooling report estimates that the energy demand for air conditioners is expected to triple by 2050; leading to a space cooling energy growth of 30% in Europe by 2050. The increase in demand for space cooling can put severe pressure on the power grid and challenges to achieve the Paris agreement goals if nothing is done, warns the IEA.

Luckily, the report also estimates a saving potential for today’s space cooling by 50%. If we use the best available technology, we will secure cooling that is both sustainable and provides comfort for millions of citizens.

Success hangs on how quickly we can deploy this technology at scale. Five key areas can make a difference and help the EU Commission delivering actions of the “A Clean Planet for All” strategy:

  1. Roll-out appropriate energy standards and labelling schemes

Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) are the easiest and most efficient way to ensure that only energy efficient cooling devices are placed on the market. The roll-out of labelling schemes across the globe ensures that we use cost-effective technologies. This reduces the total cost of ownership for the devices and benefits of the end-users. However, the use of MEPS needs to be combined with strong market surveillance and enforcement to realize its full potential and ensure all stakeholders are complying with the same rules.

  1. Implement a system approach and secure maintenance of energy efficiency over time

Cooling systems need constant maintenance to ensure that they deliver the promised energy savings over time. According to the European Commission, 75% to 90% of the EU building stock is inefficient. But only 1% of it is renovated each year. There are two priorities for policy makers: one is to accelerate the retrofit of existing buildings and their cooling systems and the other is to improve their maintenance routines over time. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) goes into the right direction and addresses these two priorities. The stronger focus on the renovation of the existing buildings, e.g. via the long-term renovation strategies and on the optimization of technical buildings systems, such as cooling, heating and ventilation systems are identified. The next critical step is to ensure a good implementation of the EPBD at national level.

  1. Combining heating and cooling with renewable energy

With today’s technology we can use supermarkets as giant batteries which allows us to store fluctuating renewable energy sources and balance the energy system. Is heating the future of sustainable cooling? Using excess heat coming from cooling applications, i.e. in supermarkets, we can re-use it to heat our water or warm up our buildings — saving energy and money and reducing the pressure on our energy systems. We need to break down silos to unleash the benefits derived from connectivity across sectors.

  1. Leverage the potential of district cooling

In a district cooling system chilled water is being used to cool down buildings and therefore save energy. Copenhagen is a great example, where a district cooling system was established to service hospitals, office buildings, and schools. The result was win-win, with CO2 emissions reduced by about 65% and consumer savings of 80% on energy costs. Looking at the benefits, it is essential to unlock its full potential with new heating and cooling renewable targets. The new national energy and climate plans must be adopted according to the new Governance Regulation on the Energy Union.

  1. Build a framework for the development of new business models

To unlock the full potential of energy efficiency and meet the future energy demand, we need to enable new business models and demand-side management. Energy storage is the key to unlocking flexibility in our energy systems, which can ultimately turn energy consumers into prosumers. We need policies to encourage the re-use of heat that would otherwise be released into the air.

Together we can deliver “A Clean Planet for all”

Looking at today’s best available technology, the next step needs to be the implementation of ambitious legislation and regulations to increase energy efficiency across sectors. The industry is ready and, together with policymakers and governments, we can unlock the full potential of energy efficiency and open the pathway for a lower energy demand. Let’s join hands across sectors and work towards a cooled and environmental-friendly future together.

Follow us

Privacy Policy

© All right reserved

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”.

Follow us

Privacy Policy

© All right reserved

Businesses, society and Public Administration agree on the opportunities derived from an ambitious energy transition

The joint debate organised by the Grupo Español para el Crecimiento Verde (GECV) and the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) ratifies the business, NGOs, academia and Public Administration’s support to an ambitious and stable climate and energy legislative framework

The debate, moderated by Mónica López, Head of the Meteorological Service of Spanish public TV TVE, started with a welcome address by Antoni Ballabriga, Global Director of Responsible Business at BBVA, and was later on introduced by EU-ASE President Monica Frassoni and José López-Tafall, GECV Secretary General. López-Tafall stated that “it is possible to decarbonise and grow at the same time, it is economically viable”, while Frassoni underlined that we should bet on decarbonising the economy and reminded the audience of the urgency of a clear, ambitious and just roadmap.

José Manuel González-Páramo, Head of Global Economics, Regulation and Public Affairs at BBVA, who also took part in the debate, reminded the attendants that, according to the European Commission, we still lack €180,000 in additional annual investment if we want to reach the energy and climate objectives set for 2030. He also highlighted BBVA’s commitment with climate change and the key role businesses play.

Hugo Morán, Spanish Secretary for Environment, highlighted the great work EU-ASE and GECV are doing by organising this type of initiatives and pointed out that “mitigation is not synonym to deindustrialistion and adaptation doesn’t mean resignation”. He also underlined the importance of the future Climate and Energy legislation, that will guarantee that Spain complies with the goals set by the European Union and the Paris Agreement. Morán argued that “the setting of a stable regulatory framework, with adequate incentives and that fosters the necessary investments taking into account the market reality, is key to achieve a successful transition“.

Director General for Energy at the European Commission, Dominique Ristori, started his intervention stating that the new regulatory framework for energy and climate proposed by the Spanish Government is an opportunity for all, both businesses and investors. Ristori said that it is necessary to show clear leadership at the national level to address the energy transition, that has become a priority. Such leadership, he told the audience, should be based on three pillars – a clear and predictable regulatory framework, business opportunity, and access to sustainable financing. He also underlined that organising this type of initiatives is both important and timely, as they seek to create positive synergies between national and European authorities and what he defined as new business.

The session concluded with a round-table debate between representatives from different business sectors, NGOs and Public Administration, with speakers from EU-ASE members Danfoss and Knauf Insulation, as well as from Iberdrola, WWF Spain, the Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE), and the Spanish Office for Cliamte Change (OECC). Ernesto Ubieto, President of Southern Europe Region at Danfoss, underlined the important role governments have to play for placing energy efficiency at the centre of the implementation and transposition of the European clean energy legislation and, especially, with regards to the EED and EPBD. Óscar del Río, General Manager at Knauf Insulation Iberia, stated that “without the Public Administration we cannot advance in tackling the challenges we face. “Businesses are ready to play their part; public administration needs to lean on us more”, he said. Joan Herrera, Director of IDAE, claimed that “we cannot allow ourselves [Spain] to be rich in resources and poor in political drive and ambition. We need regulation”, while Valvanera Ulargui, Director of the OECC, stated that “once we are all aware of climate change and the energy transition, the moment has come to take action and generate actual facts and data”. Ulargui pointed out that this is the message they would take to the upcoming COP24, “with a message of ambition and, especially, urgency”, she said.

Both the Grupo Español para el Crecimiento Verde and the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) consider the debate, celebrated in the prelude of the presentation of the Climate Change Law draft, was crucial to convey the message to the Spanish Government that a big part of the Spanish business sector clearly supports the energy transition and the implementation of a national and European regulatory framework that is strong and leverages the necessary investments for achieving the change of economic model and of paradigm.


More information:

+34 693616088

Follow us

Privacy Policy

© All right reserved