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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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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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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EED recast: Parliament’s ITRE committee outlines its visions to revise the Directive

On Tuesday 13 July 2022, the ITRE committee of the European Parliament adopted its position to revise the Energy Efficiency Directive, a key file of the Fit for 55 package to put the EU on track towards reducing at least 55% of GHG emissions by 2030 and phase out fossil fuel imports from Russia.

Exactly one year after the presentation by the Commission of the ‘Fit for 55%’ package, aimed to put the European Union on track to reduce GHG emissions by at least 55% in 2030, the ITRE committee acknowledges that energy efficiency must be substantially increased to combat climate change and make the European Union less dependent on energy imports.

In view of today’s energy crisis, MEPs in the ITRE committee agreed to set energy efficiency binding targets for the Union and for the Member States, both for primary and final energy consumption by 2030. This is a very timely and long-awaited approach that we strongly support.

Monica Frassoni, President of the Alliance, said: “We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of this energy price crisis. Without a strong policy signal from the EU to put energy savings first, citizens and businesses will suffer the consequences. And the climate crisis is even more worrying with natural catastrophes impacting our lives on a daily basis. There is an opportunity in the plenary of the Parliament to fix the shortcomings of the Directive and in particular the exclusion of mandatory renovation of social housing and the partial consideration of energy efficiency savings from fossil fuel appliances. We look forward to continuing to cooperate with the Institutions to improve the directive. There is a good basis to work with and succeed, no ifs and buts, to structurally address both energy and climate crisis”.

You can find 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 EU, employ over 340.000 people in Europe and have an aggregated annual turnover of €115 billion.

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