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Common Statement- Euroace-Eurima & EREC on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

17 March 2009
by eub2 -- last modified 17 March 2009

EUROACE, EURIMA and EREC represent circa 778,000 jobs with a turnover of €180 billion in the EU. The recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) proposed by the European Commission is welcomed by all our associations and their member companies, including many SMEs.


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The EU has an indicative target of 20% improved energy efficiency and binding targets of a 20% use of renewable energy and a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, all by 2020. The EPBD recast is an essential legislative element for achieving these objectives given that the EU's building stock uses 40% of primary energy. Improving energy efficiency and making the best use of renewable energy are key solutions in the building sector to fighting climate change, ensuring our security of energy supply, and generating jobs.
 
We therefore call on the European Parliament and the Council to ensure a very high level of ambition in the final proposal adopted in order to fully reap the many benefits of high performing buildings.
 
To this end, a number of key provisions in the EPBD recast are called for:
 
An integrated approach based on energy efficiency and renewable energy: there are both demand-side and supply-side solutions to sustainable buildings, both of which have an important contribution to make. The sustainable energy performance of buildings should thus follow the principles of the Trias Energetica applied to the building: the energy demand is first minimised, renewable energy sources and cogeneration are introduced, and, if still applicable the use of fossil fuels is done as efficiently as possible.
 
Minimum performance requirements for buildings must be established and strengthened regularly in all Member States leading to zero net energy buildings becoming the default standard in Building Codes by 2014. With new buildings representing on average 1% of the building stock, and with a renovation cycle for existing buildings of no less than 25 years, there is no time to lose in upgrading building regulations to set very ambitious requirements in energy efficiency and renewable energy for both new and existing buildings if the 2020 targets are to be met.
 
The complete removal of the 1000m2 threshold when major renovation takes place: the greatest potential for sustainable energy use is in the existing building stock. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the opportunity to upgrade at cost-optimal levels is taken every time a major renovation takes place. We therefore welcome the extension of the scope of the Directive to include single-family houses and smaller apartment buildings, which account for more than 60% of the total heated and cooled space. The methodology for calculating cost-optimal levels should take into account environmental and social externalities.
 
Public buildings to lead by example: given that the recommendations in an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be cost-optimal, public authorities should be required to implement the recommendations over the short-term in order to set an example for the general public.
 
Financial incentives: better coordination and use of existing financial mechanisms are essential to reaching the objectives of the EPBD. It is important that the final recast text is firmly integrated with appropriate financial incentives and models, which should be linked to the EPC.

EREC is the umbrella organisation of the leading European renewable energy industry, trade and research associations active in the sectors of photovoltaic, wind, small hydropower, biomass, biofuels, concentrated solar power, solar thermal and geothermal energy, thus representing the entire renewable energy sector. EREC shares its offices with all its member associations in the Renewable Energy House in Brussels, a model showcase for integration of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in a historic building. It represents an industry with an annual turnover of EUR 40 billion and more than 450.000 employees.

European Renewable Energy Council