‘We hope to see the emergence of a more ambitious and coherent EU regulatory framework for buildings’

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2015-09-08 15:02:21

‘We hope to see the emergence of a more ambitious and coherent EU regulatory framework for buildings’ – an exclusive interview with Adrian Joyce, Secretary General of EuroAce – partner of EE & RE, Smart Cities 2016


Mr. Joyce, what is the latest news from Brussels about the new requirements on public buildings?

Public buildings represent an interesting entry point for stimulating more energy efficiency renovations and the use of public money for such works represents real value for money as everyone using public building benefits directly from their upgrading.  For this reason, EU Policy targets public buildings as front runners in the drive to increase the energy performance of all buildings in the EU.

A recent important moment in the field of public buildings occurred on the 19th July, when the threshold for public buildings that must display energy performance certificates and that must be included in the inventory of central government buildings that should be renovated at a rate of 3% per year was lowered significantly from 500m² to 250m². 

However, despite the well-known economic stimulus that starting with public buildings can bring and the well-documented multiple benefits that arise, there is still not enough being done on the ground because the implementation of EU Directives by the various Member States of both the Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance of Buildings Directives is not being pursued with enough ambition. 

We, here at EuroACE, therefore believe that a stronger governance approach is needed to ensure effective and timely implementation of EU legislation in the Member States as this will lead, among other things, to the unlocking of the potential tied up in public buildings.

What effect do you expect from the planned review of certain parts of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and from the review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)?

In short, we hope to see the emergence of a more ambitious and coherent EU regulatory framework for buildings that will focus more on the existing building stock and thus help the EU and its Member States move towards a more efficient use of energy in buildings.

We are aware that there is, of course, still a long way to go before that is achieved.  For example, many concepts still lack a proper definition and the main decision-takers are still not aware that energy efficiency has a much broader beneficial impact than the direct energy savings that are achieved.

In addition, we expect, and call for, a better implementation by Member States of the two directives.  In particular, the EED Article 4, according to which countries are obliged to publish national renovation strategies, requires much more attention as regards their content and there must be a new requirement to ensure that they are implemented by each and every Member State.  The current article only requires Member States to prepare and submit their strategies for long-term financing of renovation of buildings and does not require them to implement.

I strongly believe that the Member States should be required by the EED to implement their strategies in a timely manner and that there should be a system of assessment of their quality and whether they collectively lead to the achievement of EU goals.  The fact is that some Member States have not even taken the first step of publishing their strategies, to show where they want their building stock to aim for.  These plans are needed to drive investment in renovation and to provide policy predictability to all actors.  We therefore wish for a broader engagement at national level.  Boosting building renovation faces multiple barriers so we need multiple solutions, which require good coordination between Member States to move things forward.  This need for better coordination between Member States is also emerging as a key driver in related policy frameworks such as the EU Energy Union Framework.

It is known that the South-East European countries have to accelerate the implementation of energy efficiency measures - what are your recommendations for quicker achievement of this goal?

Unfortunately, as I stated earlier, this is not only a problem of the South-East European countries, because the right framework from the EU and national level is not yet in place: Member States are not putting into place the right laws, they are not transposing well enough the EU regulations and directives and therefore we are not seeing enough ambition on energy renovation at the moment.

There is a gap to be bridged between the good work at EU level where representatives of all Member States have adopted some very good legislation and its implementation on the ground and we are aware that it will certainly take more time to get it right.  We have reached the point where we hear the right words being said but we are not at the point of having the right regulations in place.  For sure, in order to accelerate and ease the implementation it is good to start with a full and exhaustive analysis of the building stock so as to have a complete overview of the current state of play.  This permits good planning so that the actual floor area that needs to be renovated and the types of buildings to be addressed first can be identified.  This way, coordinating the national renovation strategies will be much easier and implementation of EU measures on energy efficiency will be quicker as well.

I would therefore advise exchanges of good experience from other Member States to be disseminated widely and frequently and that those good practices are assessed for relevance to national circumstances by experienced local teams.  Where there is a promising approach identified, it should be quickly trialed in the market (potentially in public buildings and social housing first) so as to refine the good practice to local circumstances.

A few words about the activities of EuroAce and your forthcoming initiatives?

EuroACE is now taking care of the preparation of several events including the organization of:

ü  A debate at the 25th Economic Forum in Krynica, Poland on the 8th September on the theme: Renovation of Buildings: the way to Economic Stability and Energy Security.  This debate will allow EuroACE to present why renovation of buildings should be a top policy option and why it should be included in future economic and structural reforms in the EU;

ü  The REDay2015 High Level Conference in Brussels, Belgium on the 15th October, that will provide an overview of the multiple benefits renovation can deliver to the EU with the help of several high-level speakers all carrying a story to tell.

EuroACE will also participate in the review of the EED and the EPBD by responding to any Public Consultations initiated by the European Commission, following-up on the national implementation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), while trying to widening its base of support across different sectors (financial, real estate, local and regional authorities) and institutions (Commission, EP).  Finally, EuroACE will be present in the next steps of the implementation of the EU Energy Union Framework, demonstrating how its five dimensions can be more effectively achieved by stimulating more ambitious energy efficiency renovations across the EU.  EuroACE will advocate for the Energy Efficiency First principle in this work and will repeatedly recall that following our recommendations will lead to the multiple benefits for all EU citizens.

 

 

EuroACE represents Europe’s leading companies involved with the manufacture, distribution and installation of energy saving goods and services for buildings. EuroACE members have a total turnover of 140 billion Euros and employ 172,000 people in Europe.

 

 

 

 

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