The anti-stress formula: Building Renovation

Building sector industries call on EU leaders to draw lessons from the risk of energy shortage and adopt an ambitious binding target on energy efficiency.

Yesterday (16th October 2014), the European Commission published the results of the so-called “stress tests” evaluating the resilience of many EU countries to possible gas supply shortages this winter. Some of the results are alarming: According to the Commission, a prolonged supply disruption would mean that many EU member States will miss at least 60 % of the gas they need. The Commission starkly concludes that: “This means that even private households could be left out in the cold”.
The building sector industry associations Eurima, Glass for Europe, EuroACE, PU Europe and the Renovate Europe Campaign regret that the recommendations made by the Commission in order to solve this situation are not accompanied by structural solutions, including the most important part of the EU’s energy infrastructure: its buildings, which according to the IEA hold 80 % of untapped energy savings potential.
“Much emphasis is being put on where the imported gas comes from and how it is brought from one country to another” said Oliver Loebel, Secretary General of PU Europe “but little attention is given to the actual use we make of our energy imports: Recent research has shown that 61 % of EU’s gas imports are destined to our (largely inefficient) buildings. Ambitious building renovation policies would cut imports for the sector by almost two thirds in only 15 years, and reduce it to zero by 2050”.
“Today’s Communication” said Bertrand Cazes, Secretary General of Glass for Europe “puts the spotlight on market-based instruments, price signals or use of storage. It is incomprehensible that the communication is silent on the uncomfortable but plain truth: we are wasting too much energy. If Europe has other ambitions than simply ‘managing energy shortage’ in the future, then it is urgent that we realize massive savings in our building stock”.
The result of these “stress tests” will feed the crucial discussions to be held next week at the European Summit of Heads of State and Government, where the long-awaited decision on the EU Climate & Energy Strategy for 2030 is expected to be taken. 
“This should be a wake-up call for EU leaders” added Jan te Bos, Director-General of Eurima “underlining the need to agree an ambitious, binding target for energy efficiency coupled with a clear call for the Commission to put its regulatory efforts on those sectors – such as buildings – with higher potential for energy savings through cost-effective measures. Ambitious building renovation strategies are a structural and long-lasting solution to avoid future emergencies, but they must be initiated now!”
“EU leaders must act responsibly” concluded Adrian Joyce, Secretary General of EuroACE and Renovate Europe Campaign Director “and adopt ambitious, common sense measures to protect all EU citizens from emergency situations such as the one we’re currently experiencing, and putting the EU unequivocally on the path to deep renovation of the building stock in the EU by 2050”.
To the press release here