Energy Efficiency Directive – what are the discussions and how it will affect the building industry

July 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Posted in Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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The European Commission published at the end of June its final version of the debated Energy Efficiency Directive. The text will be discussed and negotiated further in the European Parliament and Council of Ministers starting with this fall.

The Directive was supposed to capture some of the provisions from the Energy Efficiency Plan  and also review  the general energy efficiency targets for 2020.  For the building industry the Directive is relevant because:

  • sets obligation on Member States to renovate 3% of their building stock to minimum energy performance criteria
  • demands public bodies to include energy efficiency criteria in public procurement of products, services and building
  • sets obligations on energy distributors or retail energy sales companies to achieve annual energy savings – preferably through energy efficiency measures applied to final customers
  • require installation of meters and smart meters to final customers for electricity, natural gas, district heating or cooling, district supplied domestic hot water
  • promotes facilitation/support of small scale and micro cogeneration units
  • promotes energy services market – model contracts for energy performance contracting (buildings included)  in the public sector

However, the European Commission’s proposal  received a lot of critics mainly for already including a lot of “opt-outs” in major areas such as the 3% renovation target and the energy savings from the utilities.

The situation might improve since the  Rapporteur assigned to draft the European Parliament’s position and lead the negotiation is Mr. Claude Turmes (Greens, MEP Luxembourg) that already criticised significantly the Commission’s proposal, showing a clear support for stronger requirements. 

More to follow after the fall’s discussions….

Anca Bieru




Optimism for green buildings – updates from Cancun negotiations

December 13, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Posted in General, Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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So, we saw a deal in Cancun. How good a deal it proves to be we’ll have to wait and see, but one thing’s for sure – it’s a lot better than it might have been. But drawing breath after a hectic fortnight in Cancun – what does it mean for the built environment industry now?

 I was in Cancun representing the World Green Building Council and our growing family of affiliated organisations all around the world.  So naturally, I’m hugely optimistic about the role of the construction and real estate sector to be part of the solution. After all, the building industry represents the biggest and most cost effective emission reduction potential of any sector.

Unfortunately, not all business representatives are there to put forward as progressive an agenda as the World GBC. Christiana Figueres, Secretary General of the UNFCCC said in Cancun that business is actually acting as a handbreak on the negotations, with a clear split between what she described as ‘winners’ and ‘losers’.

She meant the (potential) winners are the renewables and clean tech sectors, the losers are the oil companies and coal producers. She claimed that the latter group is frankly much better organised, better funded and have worked on governments to develop and fix their positions before they arrived. Pretty depressing!

But it’s not all doom and gloom. This is the key point for me: post-COP the attention will revert back to national actions on carbon mitigation, not least non-Kyoto countries who have made ‘pledges’ on emissions reductions.  It is here where those of us who plan, design, construct, own and refurbish buildings need to stand up and be counted.

The best advice I heard in Cancun, which could go for any business, was:

  1. Know your footprint – that’s the bare minimum. Understand the risks and opportunities and position your company accordingly.
  2. Go beyond the baseline and leverage up and down the value chain, in turn educating business and consumers
  3. Invest in transformation of the sector
  4. Call on governments to set higher emissions reductions targets by giving them support and political space

 All of this is very close to our heart as GBCs and I think there is a very important role that GBCs and our members ‘on the ground’ can play. It is to get on and prove we can ‘do’ green building! It’s our sector that will enable countries to meet their national targets.

There is so much low-hanging fruit in the built environment, in the form of energy efficiency, which has still to be picked. And when benefits of building green include energy security, job creation, health and productivity benefits to business and communities, as well as cost savings to end users – why wouldn’t we want to do it anyway?

Clearly it’s not quite as simple as that – and there are significant barriers that vary nation to nation, but I have confidence in our ability as an industry and as a green building movement to overcome those barriers.

In Cancun Lord Stern described the characteristics of a new industrial revolution – a de-carbonized society. Every industrial revolution has had 2 -3 decades of innovation and creativity before scaled growth is achieved. We are in that crucial phase right now, where we need to focus on acceleration and strategies to scale up best practice.  It’s a huge challenge, but also a huge opportunity.

Jane Henley
World Green Building Council

Lobbying for adoption of a strong EPBD

October 5, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Posted in General, Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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The key points that were made in both meetings I had in Brussels for presenting our position paper on a stronger EPBD are:

1. Lobbying at national levels in other EU countries  – to representatives from national Ministries is not inefficient – there are still negotiation on the position of the Council of Ministers.  The Council of Ministers is the most rigid institution in the trialogue and challenged important provisions from the current version of the Directive – such as common methodology for calculation, verification of inspection report and of the energy performance certificate (these only from the discussions that were made so far – on half of the amendments)
2. European Parliament is not in a hurry. Ms. Ticau said she won’t make a compromise on a weak Directive and if agreement is not obtained by December they will start the normal co-decision procedure that might take some time. The European Parliament (EP) wants to have an agreement soon, but not in the detriment of the content. Strong points that EP doesn’t want to make a compromise on – common methodology for calculation, setting energy efficiency requirements for building components , fiscal and financial measures to support the implementation of the Directive, net zero energy buildings.

3. Another important point – if the three institution fail to reach an agreement by December – the process might take much longer afterwords (Ms. Ticau was saying that some Directives are discussed in the Council for years).

The opportunity we have now is that the three institutions that are now negotiating – European Parliament, Council of Ministers, European Commission feel some pressure from achieving an agreement before Copenhagen – to demonstrate leadership in the negotiation there.

RoGBC decided to ask the other Green Building Councils in Europe (18 organizations) to start lobbying heavily at their national level for their governments to support an agreement at the EU level on a strong EPBD. This would help creating the needed market conditions all over EU for developing energy efficient buildings and rehabilitating the existing ones.


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