Will the EU set out ambitious energy efficiency targets?

17 October 2017 Kingspan Group
On September 7, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) backed a 40% binding energy efficiency target for Europe. This sends a clear signal from the Parliament that members want to see an ambitious target for energy efficiency included in the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). If this target comes into EU law, member states would need to achieve it by 2030.
The EED was first established in 2012. It introduced binding measures to ensure that all EU countries use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain, from production to consumption.
This most recent show of support for an ambitious 40% target comes after the European Commission and European Council proposed a lower 30% energy efficiency target after negotiations back in June. The target originally suggested by the Commission was watered down by EU energy ministers in the Council.
A target of 30% energy efficiency lacks ambition, and in many minds, jeopardises the EU’s bid to become a leader in clean energy.
Divisional Sustainability Manager at Kingspan Insulated Panels, Bianca Wong, is one of those minds. She said:
We support a 40% energy efficiency target for 2030 that is binding at EU level. Setting the right energy efficiency target will deliver policy predictability and instil confidence in market players such as investors, industry players and building owners.

Building a better future – The EPBD

The construction industry, a sector which accounts for roughly 40% of Europe’s energy consumption, plays a vital role in helping member states meet energy efficiency targets. The promotion of more efficient building techniques and products is seen as crucial.
ENVI has called for a strengthening of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which would support energy efficiency renovations in old building stock and see the rate of renovations throughout Europe ramped up.
Currently, the EPBD obliges property owners to improve the energy performance of a building during major renovations. But only 1% of buildings are renovated each year.
According to a report by the European Commission, 75% of the EU’s building stock is energy inefficient and it says more needs to be done to accelerate the rate of energy performance improvements. Strengthening the EPBD could be a driving force for this.
“The clear pathway set in the 2010 EPBD for new buildings allowed industry actors to prepare for new market conditions. Existing buildings now need a strong market signal to create conditions for the emergence of a highly energy efficient building stock,” said Ms Wong speaking about the EPBD proposals.
The EU set an ambitious goal of becoming a low-carbon economy by 2050, aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by then.
Currently, buildings are responsible for about 36% of energy-related CO2 emissions. To reach its goal, the EU needs to improve energy performance in the building sector.
Earlier this month, The Industry, Transport and Energy Committee (ITRE), which is the European Parliament’s lead committee on the directive, adopted its proposed revisions to the EPBD, taking a strong stance on building renovation and energy efficiency ahead of talks with the Council.
The report adopted by the committee shows a strong 2050 vision for the building sector. It significantly improves on the Commission’s proposals and counterbalances the weak general approach adopted by the Energy Council.

Final legislation

Before the EED and EPBD are finalised to become law, they must be agreed upon by the Council, the Parliament and the Commission. June’s proposals are the result of negotiations between the European Commission and the European Council. Now, the European Parliament has shown it strongly supports more ambitious targets and legislation for Europe.

In the coming months, the three branches of the EU will move toward making a final decision on legislation and setting energy efficiency targets for 2030. Europe awaits with bated breath for the final outcome.
Kingspan is a member of two European-wide alliances that advocate for saving energy - EuroACE and EU-ASE.

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