European Commission report: Good practice in energy efficiency
In November 2016, the European Commission presented the Clean Energy for all Europeans package. Followed the Good Practice in Energy Efficiency report, which goal is to show the importance of clean energy transition and explain that huge improvements in energy efficiency are occurring across the European Union. Still, it recognizes that there are numerous challenges to overcome, and offer to look at various innovative solutions and projects. This document presents various examples of good practices of clean energy transition and innovation from policy making and implementation, research and development across different sectors and throughout all 28 Member States.
One part of this report focuses particularly on the importance of Energy Efficiency in buildings:
In 2014, European building stock accounted for 30% of the European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions, which equates to approximately 40% of the European Union’s total energy consumption. The challenge is to lower these numbers by retrofitting and innovation for newly constructed buildings. In order to promote solution and innovative projects in this field, the report is divided into different sub-parts:
Here, the report explains that Building refurbishment has the biggest available energy saving potential in Europe. It also shows the importance of long term renovation strategies: the project BUILD UPON (Horizon 2020 project) is creating a collaborative community to help design and implement national renovation strategies. RenoWIKI is a tool which has been developed to provide a quick overview of diverse renovation initiatives in each country. Also, Total Concept developed smart packages for deep renovation. Its method opens up new opportunities for property owners to implement major retrofitting.
Minimum Energy Performance Requirement
Setting ambitious requirements and showing a clear direction of progressive tightening of energy performance develops markets for the building industry and investors, while stimulating technology development and innovation. The report provides the example of Denmark, which was one of the first countries in the world to introduce nationwide energy efficiency standards for the energy use of buildings.
To achieve that goal of energy performance, Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) inform owners and tenants about the performance of each building, and offer recommendations on how to improve energy performances. A lot of States have decided to make the ECPs more user friendly (example of the UK)
Cross cutting issues
So far, 35 national and regional methodologies are available to calculate the energy performance of buildings, in line with subsidiarity principle and flexibility allowed by Energy Performance of Buildings. Still, to favourite national comparison, an harmonised energy performance calculation method is being called for.
In order to tackle energy-poverty, a number of European funded projects such as POWER HOUSE and TRANSITION ZERO focus on working with social housing associations to boost energy efficiency.
Also, to achieve enhanced energy performance of buildings, there is a need for much improved technical skills. Training and qualification schemes should ensure that worker qualifications keep pace with the technical complexity of buildings and building components. BUILT UP Skills is an initiative which aims at continuing education and training of craftsmen in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Finally, the report describes the importance of the role of ICT in smart buildings: ICT will ensure an optimised energy management by providing user information, real-time analysis and enable real-time communications with the grid. The PEAKapp projects aims to develop an innovative ICT system that connect energy markets and end-users.
According to the document, the lessons learnt across Europe in the field of Energy Efficiency in Buildings are, among others, the following:
- Building refurbishment has the biggest available energy saving potential in Europe.
- Increasing the energy performance of buildings can have a positive impact, not only in economic terms, but also as regards public health and safety by improving indoor climate.
- Addressing energy efficiency in buildings can help to trigger many co-benefits such as tackling fuel poverty.
- To achieve enhanced energy performance of buildings, there is a need for much improved technical skills. Training and qualification schemes should ensure that worker qualifications keep pace with the technical complexity of buildings and building components.
You can access the Report on Good Practices in energy efficiency from the EC website here.
Source: European Commission DG Energy © European Union, 1995-2017