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Insight

Business certainty must be the hallmark of Belgian Presidency, says Knauf Insulation

By Knauf Insulation
February 28, 2024

The Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) offers a unique opportunity to build on the EU’s climate ambitions while reinforcing Europe’s industrial resilience, says Knauf Insulation.

The presidency comes at a crucial time ahead of European elections when 720 Members of the European Parliament will be elected between June 6 and 9 to represent the 450 million people of the EU’s 27 Member States.

Quentin Galland-Jarrett, Group Public & Regulatory Affairs Director at Knauf Insulation, says: “Belgium has a great opportunity to drive through the finalisation of key files before the elections including the revisions of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and the Construction Products Regulation (CPR).”

Knauf Insulation has welcomed the EPBD recast which is designed to reduce building emissions and energy use by focusing on renovating Europe’s worst-performing buildings, as well as the updated CPR which should streamline the rules for the placement of construction products in EU markets.

Quentin

Certainty unlocks competitiveness

Quentin says: “It is important that Belgium lives up to the expectations ahead of the next elections. Businesses like ours need to fulfil market needs and market certainty is paramount.

“The presidency has said the EU must prioritise its long-term competitiveness and industrial policies as well as ensure a level playing field for business in Europe and globally. Finalising the EPBD and CPR are striking examples of how this can be achieved.

“Europe’s transition away from fossil fuels will be transformational and disruptive — in addition to Europe’s geopolitical challenges — so it is essential that business has predictability in terms of policies to ensure the competitiveness of Europe while implementing the decarbonisation of our economies.”

How Knauf Insulation drives buildings’ decarbonisation

Companies such as Knauf Insulation have an important role to play in Europe’s energy transition at national level, Quentin says, by bringing the experience and expertise needed to successfully drive decarbonisation.

Across Western Europe, for example, Knauf Energy Solutions (KES) — part of Knauf Insulation — has carried out the renovation of hundreds of social housing units. In 2023, KES delivered a 60% average reduction in energy costs following the renovation of 63 social homes in the municipality of Bilzen in Belgium.

With the built environment responsible for 40% of EU energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions, Knauf Insulation has consistently called for an increase in annual renovation rates in Europe from 1% to 3% as well as the delivery of quality-assured renovation work.

Call to harmonise energy efficiency meters

Quentin says: “The Belgian presidency must energise Europe’s Renovation Wave and ensure that all renovation work delivers the energy and emission savings that are promised.”

A critical component of renovation quality assurance is the introduction of a harmonised approach to energy efficiency meters — technologies that accurately measure the performance of a building through sensors and AI.

“The EPBD opens the door to this technology, which is great, but it does not give the European Commission a mandate to develop an organised methodology for these meters to ensure a level playing field when it comes to their results,” says Quentin.

We hope Belgium and the next Commission will take this up to pave the way for a reliable system that is open to all Member States in the future.
Quentin Galland-Jarrett, Group Public & Regulatory Affairs Director at Knauf Insulation

Importance of 2040 climate target

The European Union has also set a target to be climate neutral by 2050 and to cut net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

“Clearly, we need milestones between these key dates,” says Quentin. “The EU must come up with a new target for 2040 and a recent proposal recommends a reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions by 90% compared to 1990 levels.

“We expect the Belgian presidency to pave the way for clarity on this. Again, in uncertain times, business predictability and preparation are critical. Manufacturing companies such as Knauf Insulation have long investment cycles and being able to identify the type of investments needed to achieve 2040 targets at an early strategic stage will reinforce the resilience of our industry and safeguard our competitiveness.

“Belgium’s presidency comes at an exciting but challenging time for Europe. The seeds of success in terms of competitiveness, resilience and climate action have been planted, it is now time for the EU to bring them to fruition.”