Member States’ vision for renovating the EU building stock not aligned with the urgency to address the energy and climate crisis

Brussels, 25 October 2022 – Today, the Council of the European Union adopted its general approach (GA) on the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) as part of the ‘Fit for 55’ legislative package to put the Union on track with the 2030 and 2050 climate neutrality targets.

Leading businesses commenting on the general approach adopted by the Council underline that achieving an energy efficient and sustainable building stock is critical for the EU to tackle today’s energy and climate crisis, worsened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The building sector is the first EU energy consumer, thus the revision of the EPBD is a key opportunity to accelerate the very low annual building renovation rates, as only 1% of EU buildings undergo energy renovations each year.

Despite the huge role building renovations have in the EU energy transition, the European Alliance to Save Energy underlines that the Council’s vision on the revision of the EPBD is not consistent with the 2030 target for the Union to reduce at least 55% of GHG emissions, nor effective in achieving the REPowerEU goal to tackle today’s dependency on imported fossil fuels. According to the Renovation Wave strategy, the EU must at least double the current annual building renovation rates and foster deep energy retrofits, aiming at renovating 35 million building units by 2030. This target cannot be achieved with the Council’s envisioned system for Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS).

EU-ASE believes that decoupling MEPS from energy classes is not a reliable mechanism to ensure that buildings become more performing overtime, while EPCs and energy classes are already mandatory in all Member States. On the contrary, EPCs should be harmonised and reinforced. In addition, EU-ASE regrets that the Council position does not support an EU-MEPS system, preferring national renovation trajectories which should aim to deliver the ‘Zero Emission Building (ZEB) objective, but without clear compliance mechanisms after 2034 for private non-residential buildings and after 2033 for residential buildings. 

Finally, it is matter of concern that Member States may choose not to apply MEPS in single family houses in favour of an approach based on renovation trigger points based on a sell or a rental contract, which would unacceptably keep millions of EU citizens living in inefficient buildings, thus worsening energy poverty.  

Monica Frassoni, President of the Alliance, said: While recognising the efforts made by the Presidency of the Council to maintain the Zero Emission Buildings’ vision by 2050, it is evident that without a clear strategy to trigger scalable energy renovations in buildings, thousands of Europeans will keep on living in energy poverty conditions. An EPBD that is ‘fit for 55%’ means ambitious minimum energy performance standards that cover the renovation of all EU buildings so that they become Zero Emissions by 2050 at the latest.”

While the Council adopted its General Approach, the European Parliament is still negotiating compromise amendments on the Commission’s proposal which should be voted in the ITRE committee on November 29. Inter-institutional negotiations should therefore start during the first quarter of 2023.

Finally, EU-ASE welcomes the declaration proposal formulated by France and supported by Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland to push for greater ambition regarding minimum energy performance standards during inter-institutional negotiations with the Parliament.

You can find here the position of EU-ASE on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

Read the PDF version of our press release here.

 

Media contact:
Antoan Montignier
+32 499 84 97 28
antoan.montignier@euase.eu

About us
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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EU-ASE welcomes the adoption of the Parliament’s position to revise the Energy Efficiency Directive

Earlier today, the European Parliament adopted the report revising the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), one of the key legislative files of the “Fit for 55” package. Members of the European Parliament (overwhelmingly) supported the agreement found in the ITRE committee earlier on 13 July and rejected all plenary amendments that would have undermined the agreement.

The European Parliament decided to strengthen most of the European Commission’s proposal to revise the Directive. Most importantly, it sets a 2030 binding energy efficiency target of at least 40% in final energy consumption and 42.5% in primary energy consumption, based on the 2007 Reference Scenario. 1 While this is a much higher target than the one proposed in the Commission’s REPowerEU plan, it is still lower than today’s technical and economic potential for energy savings, especially considering today’s energy price crisis. 

“We welcome the work done by the Parliament to improve the proposal of the Commission; these improvements open the way to a more ambitious mandate in view of the difficult negotiations with the Council, whose common position is well below what is needed for an effective revision of the EED,” said Monica Frassoni, President of EU-ASE. “We are still missing a real sense of urgency and of the exceptional actions and resources needed to implement the Energy Efficiency First principle. This is proven by the fact that energy efficiency was barely mentioned from President Von Der Leyen’s address to the Parliament in her SOTEU speech.”

Therefore, we call on the EU institutions to seize this historic opportunity and to swiftly enter interinstitutional negotiations to reach a final agreement that puts energy efficiency first. To address the climate and energy crisis, the EU can count on energy efficiency measures that are made in Europe, easy to implement and can cost-effectively phase out the EU’s need for Russian fossil fuels.

Check our catalogue with all measures here.

Read the full press release here.

 

Media contact:
Antoan Montignier
+32 499 84 97 28
antoan.montignier@euase.eu

About us
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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EU-ASE reaction to Extraordinary EU Energy Council

Today, EU energy ministers called on the Commission to adopt emergency measures to help mitigate high energy prices. Concerning the reduction of energy demand, the Council agreed to call for measures for coordinated electricity demand reduction across the EU and to design measures to help solve the issue of decreased liquidity.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has strongly reduced Europe’s energy supply availability, notably of imported fossil gas. This has been fuelling a rampant increase in prices and energy bills. In August 2022, gas prices reached 340 EUR/MWh. As a reference, in August 2021, the same price was around 40 EUR/MWh. As a consequence of the rising cost of input fuels, benchmark electricity prices in Europe have also surged by almost 300% in 2022.

EU-ASE welcomes the reduction of electricity demand by introducing a mandatory target to reduce power consumption at peak hours. This can help in activating demand-side flexibility and to better optimise consumption.

However, we are disappointed of the lack of cohesion demonstrated by the Council. It is going to be very difficult to face the raising energy prices without a much more determined solidarity and common action on the very design and structure of the energy system. This is going to be even more urgent seeing the acceleration of the climate crisis.

The Council shows little ambition to further commit towards long-term energy demand reduction through energy efficiency measures. The EU needs a stronger plan with structural reforms fostering energy savings in the short and long term, in line with the objectives of the Fit for 55 package and the European Green Deal. The EU’s response cannot only be to call for behavioural changes while diverting more resources into fossil fuel infrastructure.

“Reducing our energy demand is essential to prepare for the next winter. Energy efficiency measures reduce costs for households and businesses and can be implemented faster than many other supply-side and infrastructural measures” says Monica Frassoni, president of the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE). “Thanks to existing energy efficiency solutions, we can address in the short-term the current crisis and, in the longer-term, support the switch to renewable energy sources.”

Recently, EU-ASE developed a catalogue of short to mid-term energy efficiency measures that, if implemented, can phase out the EU’s dependency on imported Russian fossil fuels.

Improving the energy efficiency of the whole energy system is the best way to ensure a cost-effective reduction of energy demand while stimulating sustainable economic growth and job creation. It is also the best way to ensure energy system security, independence and avoid future external energy shocks.

Read the full press release here.

 

Media contact:
Antoan Montignier
+32 499 84 97 28
antoan.montignier@euase.eu

About us
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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Cómo acelerar la rehabilitación energética de edificios en España: retos y soluciones

Programa:

Presentación del papel “Renovate2Recover: ¿Hasta qué punto son transformadores los PNRR para la Rehabilitación de Edificios?” y mejores prácticas en Europa

  • Vilislava Ivanova, Senior Researcher, E3G (en inglés con traducción simultánea al español)

Debate (con preguntas y respuestas)
Ponentes:

  • Francisco Javier Martin Ramiro, Director General de Vivienda y Suelo del Ministerio de Transportes, Movilidad y Agenda Urbana (MITMA)
  • Alberto Bayona, Director Gerente, Nasuvinsa (Navarra)
  • Ignacio de la Puerta, Director de Planificación Territorial y Agenda Urbana, Gobierno Vasco
  • Cecilia Foronda, Directora de Energía y Personas, Ecodes
  • Eduard Puig MacLean, Director de Operaciones y cofundador, GNE Finance

Moderación: Monica Frassoni, Presidenta de la Alianza Europea para el Ahorro de Energía (EU-ASE)

Los edificios en España consumen un 30% del total energético y representan un 40% de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero. Así pues, la rehabilitación energética es fundamental para descarbonizar el parque inmobiliario español y alcanzar el objetivo de ahorro energético del 39,5% establecido en el Plan Nacional de Energía y Clima 2021-2030. Las rehabilitaciones pueden también ayudar a hacer frente al reciente aumento de los precios de la energía y a reducir las importaciones de gas natural ruso.

 

En este contexto, el Next Generation EU ofrece una gran oportunidad para aumentar la tasa de rehabilitación a nivel nacional, que es actualmente solo del 0,2% anual. El Plan Nacional de Recuperación y Resiliencia (PNRR) español destina a la rehabilitación de edificios unos 6.500 millones de euros, la mayoría de los cuales se destinan a los edificios con uso residencial y de uso público. Los programas de rehabilitación exigen reducir al menos en un 30% el consumo de energía primaria procedente de fuentes no renovables. Si se aplican correctamente, se estima que estas medidas pueden conducir a una reducción media del consumo de energía primaria de más del 40%, tanto en el sector residencial como en el no residencial.

Este seminario analizo los retos actuales y las soluciones que podrían ayudar a España a impulsar su tasa de rehabilitación y contribuir a los nuevos objetivos climáticos europeos para el 2030. Los ponentes también intercambiaron sobre cómo crear mercados de renovación sostenibles que crezcan más allá del 2026.

Descarge la presentación aquí

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Report Launch: Why the transition to energy efficient and electrified buildings strengthens Europe’s economy

Panel:

  • Ciarán Cuffe, MEP (IR, Green), European Parliament
  • Daniele Agostini, Head of Energy and Climate Policies, ENEL
  • Andrea Voigt , Head of Global Public Affairs, Danfoss
  • Monique Goyens, Director General, The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC)

Introduction:

  • Femke de Jong, Project Manager Heating Buildings, European Climate Foundation

Presentation of the study’s results:

  • Stijn Van Hummelen, Managing Director, Cambridge Econometrics

Moderation and conclusion:

 

  • Monica Frassoni, President, European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE)

Buildings account for 40% of the EU’s energy consumption and 36% of the EU’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. This is because a large number of buildings are energy inefficient and fossil fuels are still predominantly used for heating. To meet Europe’s climate commitments, the building sector will have to cut its emissions by 60% by 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2050. To date we are still lagging behind these targets.

The possible paths to energy efficient and zero-emission buildings are several, but not all of them deliver the same socio-economic advantages for our society. To help inform EU and national decision-making, the European Climate Foundation commissioned Cambridge Econometrics to model the environmental, social and economic impacts of different decarbonisation pathways for the buildings sector.

The research focused on developing scenarios that combined different levels of renovation efforts with the deployment of green hydrogen or heat pumps to move away from fossil fuels in homes.

Which pathway to zero-emission buildings can lead to a transition that strengthens the European economy, boosts employment, lowers energy imports and improves the living conditions of people, in particular lower-income households?

During this event, co-organised by the European Alliance to Save Energy and the European Climate Foundation, Cambridge Econometrics presented the main findings of the study. This was followed by a debate between policy-makers, NGO and industry representatives who shared perspectives on how the European Green Deal can help reap the significant socio-economic benefits associated with the transition to zero-emission buildings.

Read the executive summary here
Read the full report here

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