Radically improving the energy efficiency of new and existing building should form a key part of a more ambitious EU target to reduce primary energy use 40% by 2050, according to researchers.
The report by researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA), published this week by the Build with CaRe consortium – a group of local authorities and universities from five countries in the North Sea region, says the EU’s existing target of a 20% improvement in energy efficiency by 2020 should be ramped up.
“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,” says researcher Bruce Tofield of UEA’s Adapt Low Carbon Group.
Improving the efficiency of Europe’s building stock could lead to both economic growth and reduced energy demand.
“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,” he says.
Current ambitions for new builds are insufficient, goes on Tofield who co-authored the report with Martin Ingham, and the rate of refurbishment of existing buildings to high energy efficiency standards is far too low.
The European Parliament’s Energy Committee voted this week to adopt a binding energy efficiency target of 20% by 2020 in line with similar targets on renewables and emission reductions, but the move remains to be ratified by the full parliament and 27 member states.
But Tofield says the biggest barrier to accelerated progress in improving energy efficiency is lack of political will.
For further information:
European Parliament votes to prop up Emissions Trading System (29-Feb)
Green Deal could create £800 million energy efficiency market, says Ernst & Young (24-Oct 2011)
Energy efficiency feed-in tariff could save UK £35 billion, says report (19-Oct 2011)
UK Government is taking the wrong approach to decarbonising homes, says think tank (19-Sept 2011)
01 March 2012