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Knauf Insulation joins forces with companies to spearhead renovation policy change in Central and Eastern Europe

By Knauf Insulation
June 02, 2023

Knauf Insulation has joined forces with six international companies to ensure building energy efficiency is at the heart of public debate and at the top of political agendas in Central and Eastern European countries (CEE).

Knauf Insulation joined Daikin, Danfoss, Rockwool, Saint-Gobain, Signify and Velux to sign a memorandum that commits the companies to work together to encourage cooperation and allocation of “personal and financial resources” on a country level to establish and maintain national associations equipped with the expertise to engage in public debates effectively and the skills to inspire better policies.

Radek Bedrna, Knauf Insulation’s Managing Director for Eastern Europe and Middle East, said: “This memorandum is a powerful commitment to tackle the building and energy challenges facing the CEE.

“It will provide the campaigning initiatives with the needed support to drive the policy changes that will be transformational for building renovation in the region.”

C4E Forum

High energy bills, low living standards

The CEE faces wide-ranging issues. Two thirds of the 43.6 million homes in single- and multi-family house in the region have been built before 1989 and are energy inefficient. For those living in these homes, this means high energy bills, low standards of living and a reliance on fossil fuels that is above the EU average.

Radek said: “CEE is home to five out of seven European Union countries with the highest gas saving potential coming from insulating residential buildings. More than 50% of gas can be saved in Romania, Bulgaria, Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary. Building owners need stable, long-term and motivating programmes to boost renovation.”

Renovation is the ultimate regional win-win. Renovated buildings lower energy use and strengthen national energy security — an issue that is at the forefront of all CEE countries in the light of the invasion of Ukraine.

And, as buildings consume 40% of the European Union’s energy and contribute 36% of its emissions, renovation makes a significant contribution to climate action.

Furthermore, renovated buildings lower energy bills, improve living conditions, lift the vulnerable out of fuel poverty and provide a major economic boost by creating numerous small- and medium-sized companies to implement renovation programmes.

Deepening expertise through cooperation

Peter Robl

Peter Robl, Knauf Insulation’s Public Affairs Manager for Eastern Europe, said: “The memorandum lays foundation for energy efficiency to be central to every national debate in CEE and deepens cooperation between the signatory companies while inviting other businesses, non-governmental, academic and public institutions to collaborate and support building renovation initiatives.

“The memorandum is a strong signal by the signing regional executives to our country colleagues, empowering them to open or intensify cooperation within national initiatives. We see it time and again that advocacy associations on country level are crucial to channel the billions in EU funding into governmental programs supporting building energy efficiency with long-term stability to allow homeowners to prepare and carry our deep renovations.

Long-term national policy consistency was a key issue at the Central and Eastern European Energy Efficiency Forum (C4E), where the memorandum was signed.

The forum, which brought together more than 240 public authority representatives with advocacy groups, NGOs and private companies, called on policy makers to roll out well-designed subsidy schemes with a long-term outlook particularly in the light of Europe’s forthcoming busy electoral year.

Importance of long-term vision

In the CEE alone, Croatia, Greece, Poland and Slovakia will hold national elections in addition to polling in Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg in 2023 and EU-wide elections to decide the leadership of the European Parliament and Commission in 2024.

Policy makers at the forum, which was opened by Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová, were urged to ensure that renovation programmes are given a solid long-term timeline to ensure they work effectively across election periods.

Peter Robl said: “The C4E was an important platform for the discussion of issues of energy security, the EU’s packages of energy and climate reform as well as the pressing issue of rebuilding Ukraine.

“The signing of the memorandum was a significant step forward in placing energy efficiency at the heart of all those issues and we are confident its national initiatives will prove transformational.”

 

• The memorandum brings together the combined energy efficiency expertise of Knauf Insulation, Daikin, Danfoss, Rockwool, Saint-Gobain, Signify and Velux. Together the companies have more than 42,000 employees and around 100 sites in the CEE.

Signatories of the business memorandum in Šamorín, Slovakia in the picture above – from left to right: Krisztián Mészáros, Senior Vice President, CEE Region, Velux; Adam Jedrzejczak, East Europe Regional President, Danfoss; Radek Bedrna, Managing Director, Eastern Europe and Middle East, Knauf Insulation; Tanja Banay, General Manager Strategic Business Unit Commercial CEE, Daikin; Tomáš Rosák, CEO, Eastern Europe, Saint-Gobain; Andrzej Kielar, Managing Director, Central and Eastern Europe, Rockwool; Eran Görgen, CEO, Europe East, Signify.