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The Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU: a unique opportunity to focus on future-proof buildings

By Knauf Insulation
July 07, 2021

Slovenia has taken over the rotating European Union Council presidency at a defining moment as the EU reveals how it will achieve its ambition to be the first carbon neutral continent by 2050.

The Slovenian presidency faces a summer agenda packed with record amounts of environmental policy proposals to reduce Europe’s carbon emissions by 55% by 2030 and the politicking between Member States will undoubtedly be heated.

Knauf Insulation’s Group Marketing Director and Managing Director Systems Division Saša Bavec says: “This is an opportunity for Slovenia to create an exciting sustainable future for our built environment that will shape the future of Europe for generations to come. However, to achieve this, it is essential that energy efficiency first and green infrastructure are at the heart of every debate and every policy.”

As buildings are responsible for 36% of Europe’s CO2 emissions, Knauf Insulation has consistently called for a tripling of annual European renovation rates to 3% and for audited ‘deep renovation’ programmes that demonstrate genuine savings in terms of reducing emissions and energy use.


Renovate ALL public buildings

This summer, the ‘Fit for 55’ package offers the possibility to scale up the quality and quantity of Europe’s renovation significantly starting with the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) which will be revised this month.

Quentin Galland, Knauf Insulation’s Public Affairs Director, says: “The EED calls for the annual renovation of 3% of all public buildings owned by central government. It is not enough. Centrally owned buildings only account for 4.5% of all public buildings.

“In the revision, the target must be more ambitious, every public building — whether owned by a town, city, municipality or regional — should be subject to deep renovation. Not only will this scale up climate action, but also leave a lasting public legacy we can all be proud of.”


Energy efficiency must come first

Later this year, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) will also be revised offering another unmissable opportunity to accelerate renovation across Europe and ensure the success of deep renovation projects.

“It is important to get the sequencing right and from the beginning focus on energy efficiency first — that is the operational carbon from the energy used to heat and cool buildings — as clearly the most sustainable energy is the energy we do not use,” says Quentin.

“Moreover, technological solutions that demonstrate the effectiveness of deep renovation exist. The revision of the EPBD is an opportunity to define the role the Internet-of-Things can play in showcasing the effectiveness of the completed work.”


Invest revenue in deep renovation

Among the summer climate policy proposals, the debate around the revision of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) is likely to be particularly intense.

“There has been a great deal of discussion about how emissions from buildings can be incorporated into the ETS and how a carbon price could be introduced for buildings,” says Quentin.

“We believe such a measure could play an important role in incentivising measures to decarbonise buildings. However, we would want to see all revenues from such a scheme channelled into deep renovation with effective measures to protect low-income households and those exposed to energy poverty.”


Creating naturally inspired communities

The next six months also offers Slovenia the opportunity to ensure  ‘European Bauhaus’ — a concept unveiled by the Commission — thrives across Europe to encourage more green community spaces in urban areas.

Jure Šumi, Knauf Insulation’s Green Solutions’ Advocacy Lead, says: “The European chapter of the World Green Infrastructure Network has been involved in shaping European Bauhaus since its conception.

Green solution


“The aim is simple, to create more inclusive, accessible spaces that enrich the community and improve liveability. Green infrastructure is infinitely adaptable to any use from urban farms, community spaces to play areas. In addition, it encourages better biodiversity and offers an attractive, sustainable way to decarbonise the environment.

“This presidency has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our built environment for the better while demonstrating real ambition to tackle climate change. I hope my fellow Slovenians maximise this ambition.”

Picture above: Ypsilon residential building in Ljubljana, Slovenia, with Urbanscape Green Roof and other insulation solutions by Knauf Insulation applied.

Picture in the header: new residential building, Rezidenca Preska, in Slovenia - wooden construction with Knauf Insulation’s solutions inside.