Last month in the European Parliament, the new Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Crețu confirmed that the Commission was committed to increase investment in energy efficiency in buildings. This is good news for Europe! Today, buildings consume 40% of Europe’s primary energy and create more than one third of greenhouse gas emissions. We therefore clearly need to reduce the amount of energy wasted by buildings, many of which are not properly insulated. Energy efficiency is Europe’s biggest energy resource but the question is how do we harness it?
How ambitious is the new Commission?
On 24 October 2014, the European Council reached an agreement on the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework. While Member States have presented the agreement as the best political outcome they could reach, many voices have criticised their lack of ambition. In particular, the text contains a 27% target for improving energy efficiency by 2030 … but the target is non-binding! The impact on building renovation is therefore yet to be seen.
Meanwhile, Members of the European Parliament are putting pressure on the Commission to strengthen the existing regulatory framework. This really begs the question as to whether both the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) are really strong enough to allow Europe to stop wasting energy?
Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the new Commission, has made it clear that he will focus his mandate on ensuring the correct implementation of existing legislation rather than putting forward new proposals. One should therefore hope and expect a full implementation of the current EED and EPBD at national level. It’s good news as many Member States are still lagging behind. Still, the question remains: just how long will the Commission be able to resist Parliament’s call for a more ambitious framework altogether? The months to come should tell us more.
Polyurethane, a key ally in building renovation
Implementing (and possibly improving) the current legislative and regulatory framework is all the more important given that the technology exists to achieve ambitious targets. Polyurethanes are part of the solution: rigid foams made of polyurethane are great insulators. Concretely, this means reducing fuel costs to heat buildings preserving energy. Did you know that renovating buildings could reduce Europe’s energy needs by 30%? Imagine the change this would bring to your monthly energy bill!
Would you like to know more about polyurethanes and energy savings in buildings? Have a look at our video!
In the meantime, connect with us on Twitter and tell us your story. Use the #PUrenovation and tell us how you save energy in your building!