EU-ASE at Foresight 2020 – Digital Summit (Italy)

On 15 October EU-ASE president Monica Frassoni was among the speakers of FORESIGHT 2020, the annual conference hosted by Lombardini22, leading Milan-based design and architecture firm.

During the event, president Frassoni addressed a wide audience mainly composed of real estate professionals, designers, urbanists and architects, on the key current sustainability and climate challenges for Italy and Europe, with a focus on buildings renovation.

 

The recording of her intervention is available here.

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A smart, energy efficient and fair Renovation Wave for a faster economic recovery

In an open letter sent to the European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, the group of progressive businesses and NGOs which constitute the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) called on the Commission to present an ambitious Renovation Wave initiative based on the energy efficiency first principle and funded by sufficient and dedicated resources.

In the broader energy system integration context, the letter states, the energy efficiency first principle must guide all building renovations’ decision-making processes. This implies the recognition of buildings as strategic and priority infrastructure for Europe.

With regards to resources, it is crucial to secure dedicated financial envelopes for building renovations within the National Recovery and Resilience Plans, InvestEU and the post 2020 Cohesion funds. Funds should be clearly earmarked and conditioned to increase the rate, depth and quality of integrated building renovations, the signatories write. The granting of financial support should follow the ratio “unit of energy saved (or CO2 saved) per invested Euro”, to ensure cost-effectiveness measurements of investments supported by EU funds.

Moreover, an ambitious Renovation Wave should focus on immediate, efficient heat decarbonisation. This is a great opportunity to accelerate the decarbonisation of heat in Europe’s buildings by combining energy efficiency, digitalisation and direct electrification with the deployment of smart, efficient, responsive electric heating and district level heating solutions. These can secure immediate carbon savings in buildings through existing and cost-effective solutions, enabling the use of waste heat and by the same token allow to prioritise limited green hydrogen capacity for deployment in harder-to-abate sectors, such as industry and freight.

From an environmental perspective, evidence shows that the Renovation Wave is a conditio sine qua non to reach the increased GHG emissions target for 2030 and climate-neutrality by 2050. Smarter and energy efficient buildings not only contribute directly to the reduction of energy demand and GHG emissions, but they are a prerequisite for a faster and deeper integration of renewables. 

The synergy between energy efficiency first in the building stock and the acceleration of renewable energy penetration is the real game changer and essential driver of the inevitable transformation of our energy system.

 

Download the letter here

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Open letter: An ambitious Renovation Wave now

Brussels, 14 September 2020

 

In December 2019, the Renovation Wave was announced as a key European initiative to support the European Green Deal. It has been made clear that decarbonising the EU’s building stock will support massive job creation and sustainable growth, driving the economic recovery from the ongoing economic and health crisis.

We have been very supportive of this flagship EU initiative since the start. This is why we now express our concern on the recently announced delay to the presentation of this vital initiative in addition to the apparent lack of dedicated EU funding for this initiative.

The foundations for an effective and ambitious Renovation Wave based on concrete actions and ‘shovel-ready’ solutions must be:

Integrated building renovations: Boosting integrated renovations for energy efficient, renewable-based and flexible buildings, to attain climate neutrality in the most cost-effective and timely manner, including the development of industrial style renovations to accelerate speed,

Energy Efficiency and Renewables First principle: in line with the Energy System Integration Strategy and the upcoming Climate Law, these principles must be applied to all aspects of building renovations, also looking at the broader energy system dimension and improving the Indoor Environmental Quality, health and wellbeing of people,

Dedicated financial flows: it is crucial to secure a dedicated financial envelope within the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and other available funding sources, to increase the rate and quality of the renovation and to support integrated building renovations that will deliver decarbonisation before 2050. Instead of an unclear allocation of resources to integrated building renovations within InvestEU, a dedicated “European Renovation Financing Facility”, financed with at least 90 billion euros per annum, would be fit for this purpose,

Structured partnership: it is key to regularly bring together Member States, regional governments, financial institutions, consumer organisations and stakeholders involved in integrated building renovations to report on progress, identify bottlenecks and remedial actions to ensure the pace of renovations remains aligned to the need for decarbonisation before 2050. An alignment with the European Climate Pact would strengthen the ownership of integrated building renovations by citizens and local communities.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy recently made concrete and ambitious proposals to make the Renovation Wave a success. We now call on the other EU institutions and on EU Member States to demonstrate the same level of ambition and we are at your disposal to work with you and roll out the full potential of this initiative.

Signatories

 

Download the letter here

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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

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