Report: EU energy efficiency targets not ambitious

By RTCC Staff

A super-efficient passive house leaks no heat, compared to the buildings behind it. (Source: Passivhaus Institute)

The EU “lacks political will” on energy efficiency and should increase its targets for cuts in energy demand, according to a new report.

The study by the University of East Anglia (UEA) says the lack of ambition at the EU means a major opportunity to tackle climate change is being missed.

“Buildings are responsible for 40% of Europe’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, so overhauling their energy efficiency represents the greatest opportunity for energy saving and greenhouse gas reduction,” said Dr Bruce Tofield, associate consultant at UEA’s Adapt Low Carbon Group.

The EU’s current target is for a 20% reduction by 2020 but the UEA claims it will only achieve around half of this.

“A long-term target of 40% would galvanise the near-term action on energy efficiency that is essential if action to tackle potentially dangerous climate change is to succeed,” added Tofield.

The existing energy efficiency target is part of the EU’s wider 2050 energy roadmap, however, an increase in the rate of improvements to the continent’s building stock is required according to Tofield.

“The biggest barrier is lack of political will to accelerate progress in energy efficiency,” he said.

“Many EU member state governments have rejected binding targets for energy efficiency (in contrast to the binding targets for renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction by 2020 which will probably be met as a result,” said Tofield.

He also pointed out that the UK’s Green deal scheme, to provide low-cost loans for energy efficiency improvements, has no targets or goals based on how much energy it should save.

“New build ambition is insufficient and the rate of building refurbishment to achieve high standards of energy efficiency is far too low. Political will to transform buildings will demonstrate EU leadership on climate action post-Durban. Cities across the EU can lead this change.”

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