Heating and Cooling Strategy omits Energy Efficiency First principle

Today, the European Commission published its long-awaited EU Heating and Cooling Strategy. It rightly identifies the residential sector and industry as the main users of heating and cooling energy. However, it omits to apply the Energy Efficiency First principle according to which energy demand should first be minimised before investing in new energy supply infrastructure. 
PU Europe welcomes the Commission’s decision to put a stronger policy focus on heating and cooling. It accounts for about 50 % of the overall energy consumption and offers substantial cost-effective saving potentials. It is however unacceptable that energy efficiency is not given priority, although this had been repeatedly emphasised by Energy Commissioner Cañete.
Oliver Loebel, Managing Director of PU Europe commented: "Putting in place new energy supply infrastructure without first minimising final energy demand will lock-in higher energy use for decades and discourage investment in efficiency, particularly in that of buildings. Before taking any decisions, the Commission must assess the long-term costs of such policy choices." 
The Heating and Cooling Strategy correctly wants buildings to participate in demand response. PU Europe believes they can also become energy suppliers in their own right and provide storage capacity. However, the starting point of all these strategies is that buildings stop wasting the energy provided by the grid. Only highly efficient buildings can deliver these functions.
"We will need a whole bundle of technologies to meet the energy demands of the future. However, unless we implement them in the right order, we will significantly increase the cost of the transition process", Loebel concluded.