Making the Energy Efficiency Directive fit for 55%

Following the adoption of the Climate Law and in view of its higher climate ambition for 2030 and 2050, the European Commission proposed to revise the Energy Efficiency Directive. Energy efficiency must become the bedrock of a decarbonised energy system.

Amending the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) is the starting point for the Union to deliver on the necessary reduction of energy demand, to define and operationalise the Energy Efficiency First principle and to set the right policy mechanisms that would address the overall efficiency of the energy supply chain. These are the necessary conditions to achieve a highly efficient and renewable-based energy system in view of the full decarbonisation of our economy.

This paper contains the recommendations of the European Alliance to Save Energy to help making the EED fit for 55% and set the longer track to achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

The recommendations touch upon:

  • Energy efficiency targets for increased ambition
  • Public sector leading by example
  • Expanding the scope to all public and private non-residential buildings
  • Public procurement
  • Align the Energy Savings Obligation with 2030 and 2050 ambition
  • Energy audits and management systems
  • Energy efficiency in Heating and Cooling
  • Demand response and efficiency in transformation and distribution networks
  • Availability of qualification, accreditation and certification schemes
  • Information and training
  • Energy services market
  • Energy efficiency national funds and other support mechanisms
  • Primary Energy Factor

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Commission strengthens EU energy efficiency rules, lacks ambition on targets

The European Commission unveiled today its “Fit for 55” package to adapt the EU’s energy and climate legislation to the new goals of reducing emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and reach climate neutrality by 2050. The package includes the key proposal to revise the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).

The EED proposal contains a number of positive elements. First of all, it enshrines the Energy Efficiency First principle (EE1st) in the Directive, introducing the much-needed obligation to apply the principle in the decision making of energy and non-energy sectors.

Other important elements are the extension of the public owned building renovation obligation to all public bodies, as well as the introduction of a new obligation to cut energy consumption of public bodies by at least 1.7% annually until 2030.

The revised Directive reinforces the annual energy savings obligations target after 2024 by 1.5%, almost doubling the current obligation. It also excludes the accountability of direct fossil fuel combustion technologies and clarifies that a reduction of the energy use through measures under the ETS cannot count towards the fulfilment of the energy savings obligation.

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the Commission’s proposal to level up its ambition on the EU energy efficiency rules. By acknowledging the Energy Efficiency First principle, the Commission recognises its crucial role to drive a fast and fair transition in energy and non-energy sectors. However, we regret that the Commission chose not to propose binding national targets on energy efficiency; furthermore, we are critical of the Commission’s decision to propose an EU wide energy efficiency target that, even if mandatory, is not aligned with the EU decarbonisation pathway. The Commission introduces a 36% target for final energy consumption, which does not catch the cost-effective opportunities stemming of at least 40% energy efficiency target by 2030.

Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy said:
The latest extreme weather events around the world and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic show that there is no time left for half measures on climate and on economic recovery. The EU Energy Efficiency Directive must be fit for Europe’s decarbonisation goals as well as foster economic activities aiming at increasing efficiency in buildings, industry, and transport. In this sense, we think that the proposed targets should have been more ambitious. We will be working over the next months to demonstrate to the co-legislators that delivering on ambitious energy efficiency targets and fully applying the Energy Efficiency First principle is essential if the EU wants to be credible about reaching climate neutrality in time and avoid the worst effects of climate change. We hope that the European Parliament and the Council will further improve the current proposal”.

Harry Verhaar, Chair of the board of the European Alliance to Save Energy and Head of Public and Government Affairs at Signify said:
“To be able to fully unlock the multiple benefits of energy efficiency across the continent we need an ambitious EU legal framework. We welcome the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, which comes at a timely moment for Europe’s green recovery and clean energy transition. In particular, we praise the Commission for strengthening the provisions on the Energy Efficiency First principle. The principle needs to guide policymakers and investors in all energy planning, policy, and investment decisions. Energy efficiency is a powerful driver of sustainable economic growth and it is key to speed up our journey to a decarbonised Europe”.

Bertrand Deprez, Vice-Chair of the board of the European Alliance to Save Energy and Vice-President EU government affairs at Schneider Electric said:
“Energy efficiency is the indisputable driver to reach at least a -55% GHG emissions cut in the next decade. The European Commission proposal goes in the right direction, with very promising measures to accelerate energy efficiency efforts at end-use level, including the extension of renovation obligations to all public buildings. Yet, achieving the EU ambition for 2030 without tackling the renovation of the entire existing stock is ‘Mission: Impossible’: we need to extend it to all non-residential buildings.”

Bonnie Brook, Vice-Chair of the board of the European Alliance to Save Energy and Senior Manager Industry Affairs Building Automation at Siemens said:
“Enhanced criteria for energy audits and energy management systems are very encouraging. They should leverage the opportunities brought by the current advanced level of digitalisation. Smart technologies should be widely deployed to enable monitoring, analysis and evaluation of the energy performance as well as the progress to the carbon-free future”.

Ahead of the publication of the proposal, the European Alliance to Save Energy provided to the European Commission its recommendations on how to make the EED “fit for 55%”. The Alliance looks forward to working together with the European Parliament and the Council during the co-legislation period to ensure that the Directive is ambitious and comprehensible.

According to the International Energy Agency’s Global Net Zero Roadmap for the Energy sector, the path to global net zero emissions implies a global push in energy efficiency gains resulting in the annual rate of energy intensity improvements averaging 4% to 2030 – about three times the average over the last two decades.

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Media contact:
Antoan Montignier
Policy and Advocacy Advisor
+32 499 84 97 28

About us
The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) aims to advance the energy efficiency agenda in the European Union. The Alliance allows world’s leading multinational companies to join environmental campaigners and a cross-party group of Members of the European Parliament. EU-ASE business 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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Carbon pricing is no silver bullet to decarbonise buildings across Europe

The introduction of a carbon price in the building sector will only encourage fuel switching and risks burdening those least able to pay with the cost of decarbonisation. If implemented, it should be complemented with legislation to boost energy efficiency.

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

At the end of 2020 European Union leaders agreed to increase the bloc’s emission-reduction target to at least 55% by 2030, confirming the EU’s commitment to becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. If the EU wants to achieve this ambitious goal, it needs to increase its action to decarbonise one of its most energy-intensive and polluting sectors: buildings.

As an example, the CO2 emissions from space and water heating in residential buildings represent 12% of the total EU emissions, as much as all cars in Europe combined. This is the case because more than 75% of the energy produced for heating homes currently comes from fossil fuels. Switching from fossil to low or zero-carbon fuels has an enormous potential in terms of CO2 savings—an estimated 291 tonnes of CO2 by 2050.

In this context, the European Union is discussing the opportunity to establish a carbon price in the building sector. However, that is far from being simple.

Before implementing carbon pricing, lawmakers must carefully assess its different modalities (from a tax to market-based instruments, such as an emissions trading system) and impact on the building sector, in light of its specificities. These include the low-price elasticity of energy demand, which shows that energy prices are inelastic in both the short and long term: energy consumption will fall by less than 1% in response to a 1% increase in energy prices. Such low elasticity could only be overcome with a significantly higher CO2 price.

Moreover, carbon pricing for buildings may be ineffective due to the peculiar management or ownership structure of the sector. This generates split incentives which tend to blur the responsibilities and the related costs for fuel switch. Even if a fuel switch is achieved, a carbon price alone is expected to have a limited impact in terms of buildings’ energy efficiency gains, which are crucial for achieving decarbonisation quicker and with fewer resources through renovations—especially deep ones—of the existing building stock.


Read the full article on FORESIGHT Climate & Energy

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Response to the Public Consultation on the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback to the European Commission’s Public Consultation procedure regarding the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).

We addressed the part assessing the implementation and the effectiveness of the EED and the part assessing possible options for revising the EED in view of contributing to the 55% climate target for 2030 and addressing the ambition gap in the final NECPs. We also provided our views on technical questions for specific Articles of the EED.

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Water-energy nexus and energy saving obligations: industry success stories

This paper showcases concrete examples of water and energy saving projects across sectors and European countries. These feature some of the most advanced environmental technologies currently available on the market, allowing to deliver environmental, economic and social benefits.

Water and energy are deeply entwined. The water-energy nexus refers to the relationship between how much energy is needed for abstracting, moving, heating, cooling, storing, treating and disposing water and how much water is used for generation and transmission of energy.

This nexus is expected to intensify in the coming years. So far, Member States have notified a limited set of water-related measures in the framework of Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). The most frequently notified measure is the production of hot water by solar collectors or more efficient gas water heaters. However, these measures rather relate to heat generation than water production, distribution, use, and wastewater treatment.

Raising awareness about the energy-water nexus can help:

  • Member States prioritise efficient use of both water and energy;
  • the business community to bring to market technologies and solutions designed to deliver water and energy savings across industries, municipalities and buildings; and
  • the EU to deliver the energy savings and emission reductions necessary to achieve the ambitious goal of climate neutrality by 2050.


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