The energy consumption of houses and buildings taking into account the whole life cycle is responsible for 40% of total EU energy consumption and is the main contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (about 36% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions and for about half of the CO2 emissions which are not covered by the Emission Trading System). Therefore reducing energy consumption during the whole life-cycle of the buildings is an effective action against climate change and will also contribute to decreasing the EU's energy import dependence.
Having recognized the social and economic impacts of energy savings in construction, the sector is fully aware today of being confronted by a huge responsibility.
In March 2007, the European Council has set clear goals: Reduction of 20% of the total energy consumption; 20% contribution of Renewable energies to total energy production; 20% reduction of Greenhouse gases (GHG) below 1990 emissions.
In this context, the building sector must assume very ambitious objectives of 165 Mtoe (millions of tons of oil equivalent) in energy reduction and contribute with 50 Mtoe from Renewable energies in 2020. To understand the nature of the challenge, these figures are equivalent to the total joint energy consumption of Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland in 2004.