Energy Efficiency in Buildings
Buildings account for around 40% of final energy consumption in the EU. Policymakers have been aware for some time of the benefits of taking action to save energy in the building stock as studies have shown that the most cost-effective way to save energy is to act on buildings. In the new buildings sector the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) that entered into force in July 2010 sets the end of 2020 as the deadline for nearly zero energy new buildings (public buildings are earlier), though their precise definition is left to the individual Member States with the help of a comparative European methodology.
Given that the natural replenishment rate of the building stock does not exceed 1% per annum in many cases, FIEC continues to emphasize that the most cost-effective solution for saving energy in buildings is taking action when they undergo major renovation. FIEC was therefore eager to ensure that the flagship Energy Efficiency Directive, adopted in October 2012, would recognise the need to act on the existing building stock. The new directive does recognise this need through a requirement on Member States to draw up medium-term roadmaps for the renovation of the existing building stock but remains silent on the essential question of financing. FIEC, in September 2011, published a detailed set of proposals for financing energy savings in housing under the title of "Financing Solutions in Housing
– A view from the construction industry". The paper identifies the main barriers to renovation activity in the housing stock as inertia, low awareness of the benefits of investment and pay-back periods, difficult access to credit and split incentives between owner and tenant. More recently, in September 2012, FIEC joined the Renovate Europe Campaign.
The Renovate Europe Campaign
, composed of major international companies and trade associations, calls for an ambitious roadmap to be drawn up on how to triple the annual renovation rate of the EU building stock from the current rate of 1% to 3% by 2020 and to ensure that the aggregate result of those renovations leads to an 80% reduction of the energy demand of the building stock by 2050 as compared to 2005.