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Fit for 55% climate plan paves the way for better buildings

By Katarzyna Wardal
July 15, 2021

An ambitious package of the European Commission proposals designed to accelerate renovation and improve industrial energy efficiency across Europe has been welcomed by Knauf Insulation.

On 14 July, the Commission set out in detail how the EU can meet its collective goal to reduce Europe’s net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The reduction is seen as a historic milestone on the road to becoming the world’s first net zero continent by 2050, in line with the European Green Deal.

Picture above: Janusz Wojciechowski, Frans Timmermans, Adina Vălean, Ursula von der Leyen, Paolo Gentiloni, Kadri Simson, Virginijus Sinkevičius


Quentin Galland, Knauf Insulation’s Public Affairs Director, says: “The package is an important landmark for renovation in Europe. Measures are being proposed to accelerate and deepen the renovation of public buildings while new revenue sources are being unlocked to drive renovation programmes.”

Unlocking more money for renovation

Included in the package of proposals, the Commission has called for all revenues from Emissions Trading System revenues to be spent on climate and energy related projects and has proposed a separate emissions trading scheme (ETS) on fuel used by buildings.

“Clearly renovation should be put at the top of the agenda when it comes to using these revenues in the most effective way. Buildings use 40% of Europe’s energy and are responsible for 36% of the continent’s emissions,” says Quentin.

“The Commission has also proposed that half the ETS revenues must be invested in low-income households. Around 34 million Europeans are unable to keep their homes warm and we want to see effective action to ensure renovation gives these people the home comfort they deserve.”

Renovating more public buildings

Another striking proposal has been a commitment to renovate 3% of ALL public buildings. The revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) previously called for the renovation of 3% of centrally-owned and occupied buildings every year.

Now under the proposed revision the scope has been extended to 3% of all public buildings — whether owned by a municipal or regional authority — and with the condition that renovation achieves nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) standards.

Katarzyna Wardal, Knauf Insulation’s EU Public Affairs Manager, said: “Our hope is that this revision paves the way for showcase buildings that demonstrate the highest sustainable standards. These buildings should provide long-lasting public legacy of which we can all be proud.

“In addition, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which is scheduled to be revised later this year, offers an opportunity to ensure the success of deep renovation projects by using new technological solutions and methodology.”

Improving industrial energy efficiency

The EED revision has also sharpened its focus on industry with a proposal to ensure that — with the exception of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) — all companies that use more than 10TJ of energy every year must carry out an energy audit unless they put in place an energy management system. Such systems were previously only mandatory for companies with an annual consumption higher than 100TJ/year.

Silke Weiss, our Director of Technical Solutions Sales Central Europe, added: “It is essential that industry takes major steps to improve energy efficiency and greenhouse gases to meet the challenges of climate change.

“A recent study by the European Industrial Insulation Foundation found that 14Mtoe of energy and 40Mt of CO2 can be saved every year simply by applying energy class C systems.

“In addition, the payback time in terms of investment in energy saving measures is around 18 months. Industrial energy efficiency is a clear win-win for both decarbonisation and the bottom-line.”


Picture in the header: The Berlaymont building lit in green to mark European Green Deal

Both images: © European Union, 2021 / source: EC - Audiovisual Service