|14 April 2021
| Welcome to ASHRAE\’s European Policy Update!
This monthly publication features information on policy activities of interest to ASHRAE members in Europe.
Archives of previous updates are available from the ASHRAE European Policy Updates webpage.
EU Regulatory Updates
EU National Updates
United Kingdom Updates
EUROPEAN COMMISSION: The European Commission is made up of 27 Commissioners, 1 for each Member State, and represents the interests of the EU as a whole. Every Commissioner is in charge of a Directorate-General (DG) that can be compared to a Ministry at national level. The European Commission proposes legislation in the form of Regulations and Directives and submits them to the Parliament and Council for discussion and adoption.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: The European Parliament is made up of 705 MEPs (see below) that are directly elected by EU citizens in 27 Member States.
MEP: Member of the European Parliament, a co-legislator within the EU that is made up of representatives from political parties throughout Member States.
COUNCIL OF THE EU: Co-legislator, made up of representatives from Member State Governments. Has a six-month rotating presidency, currently held by Romania until the end of June 2019.
EUROPEAN COUNCIL: The European Council is made up of the leaders of the EU member states, commonly known as EU27. It defines the EU’s overall political direction and priorities but does not pass laws.
REGULATION: EU legislative act that is binding in its entirety and is to be applied in its entirety across the EU by all EU Member States.
DIRECTIVE: EU legislative act that sets out a goal that all EU Member States must achieve. However, it is up to the EU Member States to adopt their own laws on how to achieve the EU goals enshrined in the Directive.
HORIZON EUROPE: is the next EU Research and Innovation programme for the period of 2021-2027. The amount of the funding (which will be higher than Horizon 2020) is currently being discussed between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission.
INVESTEU: The InvestEU Programme builds on the successful model of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan. It will bring together, under one roof, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and 13 EU financial instruments currently available. Triggering at least €650 billion in additional investment, the Programme aims to give an additional boost to investment, innovation and job creation in Europe.
EUROPEAN GREEN DEAL: is a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050. The plan is to review each existing EU law on its climate merits, and also introduce new legislation on the circular economy, building renovation, biodiversity, farming and innovation.
FIT-FOR-55-PACKAGE: In the European Commission work programme for 2021, the revisions and initiatives linked to the European Green Deal climate actions and in particular the climate target plan\’s 55 % net reduction target are presented under the Fit for 55 package.
REHVA: is the association of European heating, ventilation and air-conditioning associations, based in Brussels.
You can find all relevant EU building policy related information in this useful document.
BILL: A bill is a proposal for a new law, or a proposal to significantly change an existing law. A bill may start in either the Commons or the Lords and must pass a series of stages in each Houses. Once the bill has been agreed by both Houses, it receives Royal Assent and becomes an Act of Parliament.
HOUSE OF COMMONS: the House of Commons is the lower house and de facto primary chamber of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords (see below), it meets in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as members of Parliament (MPs). Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved.
HOUSE OF LORDS: The House of Lords scrutinises bills that have been approved by the House of Commons. It regularly reviews and amends Bills from the Commons. While it is unable to prevent Bills passing into law, except in certain limited circumstances, it can delay Bills and force the Commons to reconsider their decisions.
|EU Regulatory Updates
|Commission’s Analysis Highlights Good Practices in the EU Member States’ Long-Term Renovation Strategies
On 31 March, the European Commission published a new staff working document regarding 13 Member States’ long-term renovation strategies.
|The document comes following the 2018 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which requires all EU countries to submit to the Commission of a long-term renovation strategy (LTRS) outlining clear plans to support the renovation of their national building stock into a highly energy-efficient and decarbonized building stock by 2050. The document aims at disseminating good practices from the policies and measures put forward by national governments. Once the remaining Member States submit their LTRS, an updated analysis will follow.
Heating and cooling are outlined as specific focus areas for building renovation. Promoting \’green skills\’ for all professions in the construction and building sectors will be of high relevance. For example, in the Netherlands, the Declaration of Intent on the Labour Market and Training aims to prepare future construction professionals to carry out deep renovations. Moreover, with the \’green deal for the development of decentralised sustainable heating and cooling technologies,\’ significant steps are being taken to educate specialists who can design, build and maintain the sustainable systems of the future. Moreover, focus will be placed on fostering Member State measures to promote renewable heating and cooling in buildings, notably for the benefit of low-income and vulnerable customers.
While the Commission’s report is quite positive towards Member States’ LTRS, a recent report from the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) contradicts this claim by highlighting that most of the LTRS are largely not compliant with the EPBD objectives towards achieving a highly energy efficient and decarbonized building stock by 2050. BPIE recommends a full revision of the EPBD by the Commission in 2021 and that the Commission’s Renovation Wave Strategy should be adjusted to ensure that Member States hit an annual renovation rate of 3% by 2030, and fully align the building sector with the climate neutrality objective of 2050.
The proposal for a revision of the EPBD is due to be released by the Commission in Q4 2021.
|Commission Launches Consultation on Energy Performance of Building Directive
On 30 March, the European Commission launched a consultation on revising the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) to get feedback on how to boost renovations and how the EU’s €750 billion recovery package can help decarbonize the EU’s building stock.
|As a reminder, the revision of the EPBD was announced as part of the Renovation Wave. The EPBD is the cornerstone of European legislation in the area of energy performance of buildings. It aims at accelerating the transformation of the EU building stock into a highly energy efficient and decarbonized building stock by 2050. The Renovation Wave has already indicated some specific aspects which will be addressed in the revision of the EPBD. In the consultation, as it concerns heating and cooling, it is mainly covered in the context of the energy performance certificates, which is an instrument aimed at informing building owners, tenants, and users about the cost of heating and cooling.
The consultation is open until 22 June.
|Energy Integration Strategy – European Parliament Approves Non-Binding Position
On 22 March, Members of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted the draft own-initiative report that calls for integration of the EU’s energy system.
|The report of the European Parliament comes after the release last year of the EU strategy on energy system integration which calls on the linking of the various energy carriers – electricity, heat, cold, gas, solid and liquid fuels – with each other and with end-use sectors, such as buildings, transport or industry. In this strategy, buildings are seen as a central node in Europe’s revamped energy infrastructure, with consumers firmly put in the driving seat. The ultimate goal of linking sectors is to allow the optimization of the energy system as a whole, rather than decarbonizing and making separate efficiency gains in each sector independently. In that regard, the new EU strategy will involve various existing and emerging technologies, processes, and business models, such as ICT and digitalization, smart grids and meters and flexibility markets. In that regard, a core objective will be the decarbonization of the heating and cooling sector through electrification by using low-carbon electricity-based and scalable solutions, e.g. heat pumps and waste heat.
The European Parliament report has been drafted with a view to guiding the Commission on future concrete legislative and non-legislative action as part of the Strategy. In terms of content, the report explicitly supports the decarbonization of end-uses through direct electrification, calling on the European Commission to accelerate the transition to renewable energy-based systems and the electrification of end-use sectors. The report now needs to be approved during a plenary session, expected by the end of April.
|Commission Releases New Data on Heating and Cooling of the Buildings in the EU
On 17 March, the European Commission released new data on the heating and cooling of buildings in the EU. This released data aims to present the variations of Heating Degree Days (HDD) and Cooling Degree Days (CDD) since 1979.
|The use of indicators or indexes such as Heating Degree Days and Cooling Degree Days can contribute to the correct interpretation of energy consumption for cooling and heating buildings. HDD and CDD are weather-based technical indexes designed to describe the energy requirements of buildings in terms of heating (HDD) or cooling (CDD).
The data suggest the need to heat buildings has decreased over time: the HDD value decreased by 21% between 1979 (three 510 days) and 2020 (two 759 days) in the EU-27, indicating that compared with 1979, only 79% of the heating needs were required in 2020.
Please find a more detailed view on the data here.
|EU National Updates
|Spain and France – Recovery Plans for the Building Sector
On 18 March, Cadena SER reported that the Spanish government is finalizing a €450 million scheme that aims to boost energy-efficient renovations of private homes.
|The subsidy, which consists exclusively of EU recovery funds, will only be extended to homeowners who seek to improve their electricity, gas, or water consumption rates in their primary residences. The scheme complements Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s already-announced €5.3 billion plan to carry out energy-efficient renovations in the public buildings, major urban infrastructure and \”entire neighborhoods\” over the next three years; that scheme will also be exclusively funded with EU recovery funds.
Meanwhile, in France, the building sector is concerned about a slowdown in the recovery as the French government has announced the abolition of the incentives \”coups de pouce isolation\” in July 2021. The termination of energy-saving incentives is seen as a setback in this context. The sector further complains that the €2 billion of financial aid to boost energy renovation in France’s COVID recovery plan may not be enough to compensate for the abolition of so-called \”energy saving certificates\” – or CEEs. In France, the energy saving scheme is an additional aid allocated to the most modest households in order to support energy renovation.
However, the changes in France’s renovation subsidy scheme are happening at the same time as the Ma Prime Rénov’ scheme is being extended to cover also wealthy households, landlords, and co-owners as of January 2021.
|United Kingdom Updates
|UK Green Homes Grant Closed
As reported last month, it has now been confirmed that the UK Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme launched last year would close to new applications (last applications were received on 31 March).
|The announcement takes the total government funding for energy efficiency and low carbon heating in in 2021/22 to over £1.3 billion, with the remainder of the funding having been pledged through the decarbonization fund.
The Green Homes Grant generated huge demand, but the administration of the voucher system meant money failed to reach the contractors and customers. Following the announcement, the government said £300 million would be redirected to support local government-led schemes to insulate low-income housing.
In that regard, a recent report by the UK Environmental Audit Committee criticized the botched rollout of the green homes grant. The report stresses that it would be impossible to achieve UK’s net zero emissions goal unless urgent action was taken to improve the energy efficiency of homes and warns that the government is \”failing to grasp\” the extent of the work that must be done to eliminate pollution from the use of energy in UK homes, which accounts for about 20% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. The report, moreover, stresses the need to train and re-train professionals retrofitting and installing heating and cooling installations in existing and new buildings.
|Workshop: Minimum Energy Performance Standards for Existing Buildings
|On 30 March, the Commission launched a public consultation that is open until 22 June on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. In this context, the Commission is organising a series of 5 workshops aiming to obtain stakeholders input to the preparation of the revision. While the second of the workshops will take place on 15 April and will focus on minimum energy performance standards, further workshops are scheduled to take place in Q2 on \”Strengthening buildings information tools\” (29/4) and \”Digitalization & data management\” (10-14/5). For more information or to register, please contact the project team representative.
|Webinar: ASHRAE Hellenic Chapter Offers Webinar on Building Energy Performance Certificates
|On 14 April, the ASHRAE Hellenic chapter will offer a webinar on Building Energy Performance Certificates. The webinar will provide information on European Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient (BEQ) program. The current status and future plans will be presented by European Union officer Mr. P. Garcia and the Past Chair of ASHRAE’s BEQ committee, Mr. D. Cochrane. Mrs. V. Sita Head of the Directorate of Energy Policies and Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Environment and Energy will present the policy context of energy efficiency in Greece. An open discussion will follow on lessons learned and how the two approaches can interact. For more information please click here.
|6th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency
|The 6th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency (BEHAVE) will take place on 21 April. The event will focus on the application of behavioural insights in energy efficiency. As an important conference for national energy agencies across Europe, BEHAVE provides a unique forum for policymakers, academia, industry, and practitioners to share ideas and experiences in promoting effective solutions for energy efficiency improvements and climate mitigation. BEHAVE 2020-2021 will include plenary sessions and parallel sessions. The conference will produce two publications:Conference proceedings will consist of accepted abstracts and be released during the conference;A special issue in the journal Energy Policy, which will consist of invited papers based on screening of the accepted abstracts.
|For additional information on European policy issues, please contact Brusselsoffice@ashrae.org.