Unleash the potential of the water-energy nexus in the energy efficiency directive

The European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) and Water Europe (WE), call on the European Parliament and the Member States to unleash the potential of the Water-Energy nexus in the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).  

The nexus holds the potential to generate large-scale energy and water savings across sectors and reduce Green House Gases (GHG) emissions. Saving water saves energy and saving energy saves water.  

Our joint declaration supports policy makers with 11 recommendations on how to exploit these synergies and achieve greater water, resource and energy efficiencies 

  1. Secure that the energy efficiency first (EE1) principle applies across sectors and all water cycles and that the quality of water used is fit for purpose.  
  2. Create an enabling framework that ensure the delivery of all the benefits deriving from water efficiency.  
  3. Promote water reuse to generate energy savings in water management.  
  4. Facilitate interoperability and easy integration to the energy grid of energy generated by wastewater treatment plants.  
  5. Introduce a mandatory system of assessment for both energy and water usage in industry, water supply systems, wastewater network and treatment plants.  
  6. Provide meaningful incentives to ensure that water suppliers reduce water leakage levels, particularly for large and very large water suppliers.  
  7. Mandate the introduction of green infrastructure and adapt grey infrastructures in cities to reduce the amount of storm water being directly released into wastewater treatment plants.  
  8. Provide incentives to the use of digital technologies and real-time data analytics across water cycles.  
  9. Foster transparency and free-flow of data across EU on water quality and availability, water leakages, system capacity and energy use for water and waste water infrastructure and performance.  
  10. Develop communication standards for data sharing across the water cycle and between national and regional entities.  
  11. Introduce requirements and incentives in the EED for the ICT sector to monitor their energy and water consumption. 

Read the full declaration and recommendations here


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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

Read the full paper


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A smart, energy efficient and fair Renovation Wave for a faster economic recovery

In an open letter sent to the European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, the group of progressive businesses and NGOs which constitute the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE) called on the Commission to present an ambitious Renovation Wave initiative based on the energy efficiency first principle and funded by sufficient and dedicated resources.

In the broader energy system integration context, the letter states, the energy efficiency first principle must guide all building renovations’ decision-making processes. This implies the recognition of buildings as strategic and priority infrastructure for Europe.

With regards to resources, it is crucial to secure dedicated financial envelopes for building renovations within the National Recovery and Resilience Plans, InvestEU and the post 2020 Cohesion funds. Funds should be clearly earmarked and conditioned to increase the rate, depth and quality of integrated building renovations, the signatories write. The granting of financial support should follow the ratio “unit of energy saved (or CO2 saved) per invested Euro”, to ensure cost-effectiveness measurements of investments supported by EU funds.

Moreover, an ambitious Renovation Wave should focus on immediate, efficient heat decarbonisation. This is a great opportunity to accelerate the decarbonisation of heat in Europe’s buildings by combining energy efficiency, digitalisation and direct electrification with the deployment of smart, efficient, responsive electric heating and district level heating solutions. These can secure immediate carbon savings in buildings through existing and cost-effective solutions, enabling the use of waste heat and by the same token allow to prioritise limited green hydrogen capacity for deployment in harder-to-abate sectors, such as industry and freight.

From an environmental perspective, evidence shows that the Renovation Wave is a conditio sine qua non to reach the increased GHG emissions target for 2030 and climate-neutrality by 2050. Smarter and energy efficient buildings not only contribute directly to the reduction of energy demand and GHG emissions, but they are a prerequisite for a faster and deeper integration of renewables. 

The synergy between energy efficiency first in the building stock and the acceleration of renewable energy penetration is the real game changer and essential driver of the inevitable transformation of our energy system.


Download the letter here

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