Saving Water and Energy By Restoring Nature In Urban Areas: Statement on Nature Restoration Law

European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a Nature Restoration Law and supports the ambition presented by the ENVI rapporteur in the European Parliament to increase the restoration objective and set higher targets for the restoration of terrestrial, coastal, freshwater, marine, and urban ecosystems.

Nature restoration, ecosystem degradation, and biodiversity loss are critical issues for the European Union due to their impact on the environment, human health, and the economy. It poses a significant challenge to the EU`s sustainability goals, promotion of green growth, and achievement of a climate-neutral society.

The proposal includes some provisions that can promote the realisation of the water-energy nexus i.e. the ability to simultaneously save water and energy.

EU-ASE supports Article 6 on the restoration of urban ecosystems. We also support Article 11 which proposes the introduction of National Restoration Plans.

Green urban infrastructure and permeable surfaces in cities, such as urban parks, green roofs, and green walls, can contribute to saving energy and restoring nature in cities while supporting biodiversity, improving air and water quality, and providing recreational opportunities for urban dwellers, especially in densely populated areas.

The Nature Restoration Law has a significant importance in achieving Union climate goals and should be considered as another element of the package of legislation aiming to promote the deployment of energy efficiency technologies.

Read our full statement on Nature Restoration Law here.


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The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) is a cross-sectoral, business-led organisation that ensures that the voice of energy efficiency is heard across Europe. EU-ASE members have operations across the 27 Member States of the European Union, employ over 340.000 people in Europe and have an aggregated annual turnover of €115 billion.



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Doing more with less: Increase energy efficiency & reduce carbon intensity of wastewater treatment plants

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a recast of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD). This document gathers our inputs to the co-legislators that are due to negotiate and finalise the draft proposal in the next months.

The UWWTD played a substantial role in improving water quality and tackling high pollution levels in water bodies throughout decades. In 2021, we called for an update of the over 30 years old UWWTD because we were convinced it could be improved to better address some of today’s most pressing challenges such climate change, resource scarcity, increased energy prices and population growth.

The recast proposal of the European Commission is the right step towards a more comprehensive, efficient and sustainable wastewater treatment. Nonetheless, we see room for improvement to further enhance energy efficiency, the recovery and use of excess heat, digitalisation, data analytics and water reuse.

Monica Frassoni, President of EU-ASE states: “In the current water and energy crisis, we must take all the possible actions to drive substantial water and energy savings, reduce emissions and increase the competitiveness of European industry. The revision of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive is key in this perspective. We call policymakers to apply the energy efficiency first principle. We have the technologies to reduce waste water treatment plants’ energy consumption, recover and use excess heat, reuse water and gradually make water treatment plants energy positive.”

Read the full paper here.



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Gas package: energy system efficiency, rather than a fuel switch

In December 2021, the European Commission issued two proposals, the Gas Directive 2009/73/EC and the Gas Regulation (EC) No 715/2009, laying down the foundation for a European low-carbon gas industry, the so-called “Gas Package”. The Commission’s approach should depart from this old paradigm and uphold the commitment to the Energy Efficiency First Principle (EE1st) to avoid possible stranded assets.

Although urgent action is needed, the proposal focuses exclusively on source diversification. It misses the opportunity to implement the Energy Efficiency First (EE1) principle at the system level and fails to consider the broad socio-economic benefits of energy efficiency and system efficiency.

In current times energy efficiency should be more of a priority than ever, which is being increasingly reflected in the EU’s response to rid Europe of Russian gas imports. The old paradigm needs to be updated accordingly.

The paper highlights gaps and suggests improvements pertaining the following axes:

1. Need for speed
2. Hydrogen for harder-to-abate sectors
3. Benefits of energy efficiency
4. Gas Package and Fit for 55
5. Infrastructure and governance: prioritize climate
6. Conclusion: go beyond 1-1 fuel switch and think energy efficient

Read the full paper here


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Short to mid-term measures in energy efficiency to reduce gas consumption in Europe

The European Union is set to reduce fossil gas imports from Russia by 2/3 by the end of 2022 and to become independent from all Russian fossil fuels well before 2030. This paper summarises the outstanding contributions that energy efficiency can play in the short to mid-term to greatly reduce Europe’s reliance on fossil fuels.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the energy price crisis which is negatively affecting European citizens and businesses, threatening Europe’s energy security. The over-reliance on fossil fuels and the most recent IPCC report issued in April 2022 are a wakeup call that energy efficiency has never been more necessary.  There is tremendous potential for reducing energy demand and optimise consumption across sectors, including buildings, industry, water utilities and transport. What matters most is that these energy savings can be realised with existing technologies and solutions made in Europe. 

This paper is a non-exhaustive catalogue of short and mid-term actions to invite policymakers at EU, national and local level to apply the Energy Efficiency First principle and prioritise active and passive energy saving measures that can deliver simultaneously short-term benefits to alleviate the energy price crisis and longer term, systemic changes to tackle the devastating impact of climate change.

Read the full catalogue of measures here

Consult our infographic here


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