Big debates in Brussels over energy efficiency; buildings are on top of the list

November 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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If 2009 was the year for lobbying for Energy Performance in Buildings Directive in the context of discussions and debates around its recast,  2011, 2012 will be dedicated for lobbying activities around energy efficiency. Buildings are still very high on the agenda. 

In spring 2011, the European Commission is expected to issue the next Energy Effciency Action Plan. In the draft  of the plan that was published earlier this year there were several measures that are supposed to have a high impact on the building industry. The most relevant measures:

  • Buildings are a priority sector in the  draft of the revised EEAP ; measures range from building renovation to policies meant to speed up the up-take of energy smart -meters
  • Proposes a European Buildings Initiative to stimulate the renovation of 15 million buildings by 2020
  • Set up of a mandatory National Energy Efficiency Fund (by all Member States) to support preferential loans or risk-sharing facilities
  • Mandatory set up of a white certificate scheme at member states level  to encourage energy efficiency in the power sector
  • Formation of a network of smart cities that would pioneer new technologies
  • European-training Strategy for energy-efficiency workforce

The draft is expected to be changed since the new Energy Commisioner that started the mandate this spring  – Mr. Gunter Oetingger, has a more moderate approach. However, even if there will be changes, buildings will still be high on the agenda.

 Next year, the European Commision will work also on the proposed recast of the Energy  End-use Efficiency and Energy Service Directive. The idea is to broaden it’s scope and provide an enhanced framework for energy efficiency and savings policies of Member States, including targets, role of National Energy Efficiency Action Plans, exemplary role of public sector, financing, consumer information. It will also define instruments to develop the energy services market and the roles of energy companies in promoting energy savings throughout the energy supply chain, including supply to end-users. It will set framework conditions for increased generation, transmission and distribution efficiency, including strengthened measures for the promotion of cogeneration and district heating & cooling.

What is the message for the building industry? The high levels of energy efficiency in buildings will cease to be just optional in the near future,  and just the  sophisticated choice of some forward looking developers. If the white certificate schemes will start to be mandatory for each Member State, the stakeholders of the energy market will be mobilised an co-interested in contributing to higher levels of energy efficiency at the end user. 

The sceptics  may say that the discussions are just at the beginning and by the time we see some effective results at the national level some years will have to pass and a lot of buildings will be built or renovated  as usual, in the meantime. However if we think that buildings are build for  the next 50 to 100 years the few years of political debates appear to be peanuts compared to that….what we build and renovate now will have to compete with the buildings build and renovated 5 or 10 years from now.


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