Sustainability

Three ways to make the EU Green Deal a truly transformative agenda for Europe in 2020

By Pauline Pelous
February 13, 2020

Launched on December 11, 2019, the wide-ranging European Green Deal positioned climate action at the heart of every sector of Europe’s future economic growth.

Knauf Insulation welcomed the EU Green Deal with its ambition of launching a transformational ‘wave’ of renovation across the EU as part of an historic roadmap to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

Here are our key recommendations on how the EU can deliver its objective to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions while cutting energy bills at the same time.

1. Boost the renovation of the existing building stock

There is no safe climate future without the decarbonisation of existing buildings. This will require more efforts to boost the energy efficient renovation of the building stock.

Katarzyna Wardal, our EU Public Affairs Manager said: “Building on the mapping of the building stock carried as part of the national Long Term Renovation Strategies, prioritising energy renovation of the worst performing buildings to eradicate energy poverty and targeting specific categories of buildings will be the way forward to ensure results.”

2. Deliver real energy savings

The EU Green Deal aims at organising “renovation efforts into larger blocks to benefit from better financing conditions and economies of scale”. How this can be achieved in practice?

Thanks to a technological breakthrough, we can now meter energy efficiency the same way as energy generation. This means that energy efficiency investment can mirror energy infrastructure investment, which is a real paradigm shift that has a potential to mobilise significant investments in building renovation.

Barry Lynham, Managing Director at Knauf Energy Solutions, launched in 2019, said: “A performance-based approach will create a strong incentive to reduce the cost of energy efficiency per KWh saved. Up to 400,000 Smart Retrofit homes can now substitute one gigaWatt power station at a fraction of the cost. Introducing a Feed-Out-Tariff would unlock this opportunity”.

3. Increase the share of urban green infrastructure

The EU Green Deal announced a new strategy to increase urban biodiversity and called for a zero pollution action plan for air, water and soil to be adopted in 2021 with provisions to achieve cleaner air in Europe.

So how can we effectively transform our cities into greener and cleaner places?

Urban green infrastructure solutions, such as vegetated roofs and walls can help transform energy-losing surfaces into natural green oases, save energy, reduce the impact of storm water and are great for the environment too.

Jure Šumi, Knauf Insulation’s Business Development Director Green Solutions, said: “Green roofs and green walls are excellent absorbers of airborne pollutants and can also help cool down urban areas and nurture biodiversity by providing thriving habitats for insect pollinators. The roofs’ cooling effect also ensures the ideal temperature for the optimum performance of photovoltaic solar panels. Green roofs are also unique nature based solution for effective storm water management and a tool for re-introducing natural water cycle into dense urban areas.”