It’s time to act to address Europe’s buildings issue

As we are drifting towards winter, I am struck by the gap between the urgency to protect European citizens from the consequences of poorly performing homes, and the reluctance of our leaders to decisively act on it. We are witnessing intense debates on the energy efficiency files under the Fit for 55 Package, and this is not nearly the end of it.

Asking citizens to adapt their behavior to mitigate the risk of gas shortages and subsidizing their bills seem to be the only political answer. Yet, we all know that solutions addressing only the symptoms will not help in the long run.

The solution to the cause is the EU Renovation Wave, however we cannot overlook the challenges to this. We need an additional 275 billion euros to finance it (1), and the acceleration of the rate and depth of renovation calls for coordination and new business models.

We have been sleepwalking on the issue for too long, hypnotized by cheap fossil energy hiding the leaks and waste of our buildings. It is not too late to change that.

It is our responsibility to help politicians join the dots between short- and long-term concerns. The equivalent of 1,7% of EU GDP was spent to mitigate the impact of the energy crisis so far (2). By contrast, financing the Renovation Wave would represent 1,5% of the GDP. Add to that jobs, health and productivity benefits, and a boost to our climate agenda.

It is also our responsibility to explain what renovation market actors need to be able to invest, train, and innovate. Building owners, manufacturers, banks, real estate and building professionals need visibility. This visibility is at the heart of the MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standards) proposal, a true renovation accelerator.

The best energy will always be the energy we do not need, thanks to the efficiency of our buildings.

We can help make this a reality.

by Céline Carré
Head of Public Affairs
Saint-Gobain

Sources:
1. Question 5 in FAQ on the Renovation Wave: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_1836
2.  Bruegel, 21/09/2022 and Europe’s Deepening Energy Crisis Pushes Bill to $500 Billion

Useful links


Join us
Contact us

Follow us


© All right reserved

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.

Useful links


Join us
Contact us

Follow us


© All right reserved

The water-energy nexus repowering the EU

The water-energy nexus is the interdependency of water and energy: energy is needed for abstracting, storing, treating or disposing water but also for moving, heating and cooling water across industrial cycles, while water is also heavily used for the generation and transmission of energy. The nexus holds the potential to generate large-scale energy and water savings across sectors and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The energy use by water and wastewater infrastructure amounts to about 4% global electricity consumption and 3,5% in the European Union (IEA, 2016).

Water utilities can become energy neutral and even energy positive with existing technologies and low costs of investments.

The revision of the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) represents a key opportunity to deliver the transition in the sector. A good way forward would be introducing an energy efficiency target for wastewater treatment plants of a certain size, for example bigger than 10,000 in population equivalent (p.e.). Mandatory energy audits for wastewater treatment operators which include measuring water efficiency could also help advance the energy efficiency of the sector.

This would reinforce and echo new provisions on water and the energy savings obligations for public bodies, currently being negotiated by co-legislators in the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) recast.

Digitalisation in the water sector is an important enabler towards energy neutrality. In wastewater treatment, existing digital solutions can achieve significant energy savings with limited investment needs (no civil engineering or hardware costs) within a short period of time. Intelligent pumps for wastewater management, for example, can save up to 70% energy per utility with 80% inventory reduction, thus lowering costs for utilities.

Saving water, saves energy and saving energy saves water. It is now time to advance energy efficiency and “RePower” the EU through the water-energy nexus!

by Tania Pentcheva
Senior Manager Government and Industry Relations
Xylem Inc.  

Useful links


Join us
Contact us

Follow us


© All right reserved

EED recast: EU Council adopts general approach on EED

Today, the Council of the European Union adopted its general approach on the recast of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). This is a fundamental legislative step for the Union to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and phase out fossil fuel imports from Russia as soon as possible.

EU-ASE welcomes that for the first time, the Union is getting closer to finally have a binding target for energy efficiency, departing from the current Energy Efficiency Directive which only sets an indicative energy efficiency objective. Furthermore, although national contributions are not binding, the Council agreed on a governance of the Directive which would allow the Commission to activate a “gap-avoider” mechanism if the sum of contributions do not add up towards the EU target. It is an important step forward.

But the Council lost a major occasion to put Energy Efficiency first and act on high energy prices by creating the right regulatory conditions to reduce energy demand for families and business. Firstly, the Council did not take up the proposal of the Commission to increase the energy efficiency target of at least 13% as issued in the REPowerEU strategy.

This is hardly justifiable, knowing that a 9% target would still imply Member States importing 233 bcm of fossil gas annually from third countries, while a 19% target would reduce gas imports to 104 bcm per year i.e. achieving in full the goal to reduce to zero Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas, as Russia accounts to 40% of all of the EU’s gas imports. Secondly, Ministers did not agree to make the target for primary energy consumption binding, thus undermining the potential for energy savings gained at system level.

Monica Frassoni, President of the Alliance, said: “The Council general approach is not the end of the story: the European Parliament’s rapporteur position aims to a much more ambitious 19% energy efficiency target by 2030, which reflects the potential for energy savings. We support wholeheartedly the effort of the rapporteur Niels Fuglsang and of the many stakeholders at EU and national level working to boost investments in energy efficiency. Energy Efficiency First will increase Europe’s resilience and is a formidable way to address the energy and climate crisis”.

You can find the full press release here 


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.

Useful links


Join us
Contact us

Follow us


© All right reserved

REPowerEU: EU-ASE welcomes increase of energy efficiency and renewables targets

Today, the European Commission presented its REPowerEU plan, containing measures promoting energy savings to help the EU phase out imported fossil fuels from Russia as soon as possible, as well as a proposals to further increase the headline targets of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive by 2030.

The European Alliance to Save Energy strongly believes that the EU’s response to break the dependency from foreign fossil fuels and to the climate crisis must translate into a much more ambitious “Fit For 55”  package, with a massive increase of our efforts to save energy and generate energy from renewable sources by the end of the decade. Energy efficiency and renewables are intertwined and are both critical to strengthen energy security while decarbonising the European economy in a socially just and affordable way.

We therefore welcome the Commission’s legal amendment to raise the EU’s 2030 targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy to 13% and 45% respectively.

The proposal to raise the target in the Energy Efficiency Directive from at least 9% to at least 13% is a step in the right direction – commented Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy – and we appreciate the Commission’s effort to adjust its own proposed target to reflect the new political and economic context and soaring energy prices since the proposal came out in July 2021.”

 The proposed legal amendment does not reflect the cost-effective potential of a 19% energy efficiency target, as proposed by the European Parliament rapporteur, MEP Niels Fuglsang. Implementing energy efficiency measures in all sectors is the first essential and rational action to foster the structural changes required to phase out fossil fuels and address both the energy and climate crisis.

 “We are aware of the existing reserves and resistance in several member States, but we are convinced that only a clear and binding legislative framework, adequate resources and assistance can convince them to support this. Energy efficiency is an essential element of our energy security and decarbonization strategy. Now it is time to deliver, and energy efficiency measures offer a broad range of economic, environmental and social benefits for citizens and businesses” concluded Monica Frassoni.

The European Alliance to Save Energy has recently developed an inspiring catalogue of energy efficiency measures, many of them readily available and made in Europe, and stand ready to support the Institutions to deploy such measures and reduce gas consumption in Europe.

Download the Pdf version 

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

 

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.

Useful links


Join us
Contact us

Follow us


© All right reserved