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How the revised EPBD will transform Europe
By Sian Hughes on May 14, 2018

European Union Member States have been given an historic opportunity to transform their countries thanks to the renovation superpowers of the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (the EPBD).

Following the final stamp of approval by the Council of Ministers yesterday on 14th of May, the directive now creates opportunities for wide-ranging benefits for the whole of Europe including tackling climate change, creating tens of thousands of new jobs, supercharging the construction industry, alleviating fuel poverty, improving building fire safety, boosting energy security and making homes more comfortable.

So, how will the revised EPBD make this happen? Well, from today, national governments across the EU must start to create the long-term renovation strategies that will ultimately make all their building stock nearly-zero energy by 2050.

These strategies cannot be empty promises. The EPBD requires 10-yearly milestone dates to measure the success of these policies with clear goals that are future-proof.

“The revised EPBD is ultimately a win-win for everyone. It offers an historic opportunity for governments to transform the lives of their citizens, improve the environment and boost their economies,” says Katarzyna Wardal, our EU Public Affairs Manager.

“Buildings consume 40% of Europe’s energy and cause 36% of its CO2 emissions so we have always campaigned for the energy efficient renovation of buildings. Finally, this revised directive creates an ambitious reality.”

At present, the current annual renovation rate is too low. According to an impact assessment by the European Commission, the annual renovation rate across the EU has to be increased to an average of 3% to achieve the EU’s energy efficiency ambitions in a cost-effective manner.  

It’s an enormous task, but Knauf Insulation is here to help. We have the expertise that can support governments develop policies that deliver and specialists who understand the challenges of building renovation. There is a huge amount of work to be done but the benefits of the new EPBD will resonate for generations.

These benefits start with the environment. The International Energy Agency has stated that two-thirds of Europe’s decrease in greenhouse gas emissions has to be in energy efficiency to achieve the EU’s Paris commitment to curb emissions and keep temperature increase well below 2ºC.

Secondly, the benefits to Europe’s economy will be transformational. The revised EPBD is a clear signal to investors and the construction industry to unlock more money for EU-wide renovation against a 32-year future of policy certainty. This in turn will create new jobs over the years and provide an enormous boost to national GDPs.

Finally, the directive will dramatically improve lives. Almost 20% of EU households live in fuel poverty. This directive will not only cut fuel bills, but also improve internal building comfort and air quality providing untold health benefits.

Equally important, the directive highlights the importance of putting fire safety at the heart of any renovation programme. The protection of building users is of paramount concern.

“The revised directive uniquely brings together an ambitious environmental and economic future vision for the EU while putting centre stage its citizens’ best interests,” says Katarzyna.

Unlocking the potential for better buildings

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive or EPBD has been revised and it’s a big deal — because contained within that tiny acronym is a massive world of future transformation.

Very simply, Member States of the European Union have to make all buildings nearly zero-energy by 2050. Not so simply, this will involve far-reaching change for each country and a commitment to more energy efficient buildings through national renovation strategies, new ‘smart technology’ and improved infrastructure for green vehicles.

That’s the big picture. Here are five key points to show how the EPBD revision will make this happen:

1 Member States must make their building stock nearly zero-energy by 2050. There are ‘milestone’ target dates for 2030 and 2040 to ensure delivery.

2 Rapidly increasing the energy efficient renovation of buildings in EU countries is a cornerstone of the directive. Member States have to create strategies — including ‘trigger points’ — and make them a reality.

3 Countries have to step up the use of smart technologies in buildings to ensure lower energy bills, lower energy consumption and a better use of the energy that is being used.

4 The EU wants to unlock money to make all these things happen through, for example, the ‘Smart Finance for Smart Buildings’ initiative. The revised directive “strengthens the links between public funding for building renovation and energy performance certificates”.

5 The EU wants to increase the use of electric vehicles in Europe and the directive includes provisions to ensure the installation of more charging points in car parking areas.

Click here to download the infographic.

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