09 Mar 2016

National building renovation strategies to curb energy consumption well on track

Construction workers on scaffolding renovating a building.
Cutting down the energy demand of buildings is necessary in order to meet Europe's greenhouse gas reduction targets.
© Flickr, Aapo Haapanen

The JRC has carried out an analysis of the building renovation strategies submitted by the EU Member States in the frame of the Energy Efficiency Directive. The analysis resulted into a generally positive outlook. In total, 74% of the national strategies address the requirements of the Directive satisfactorily and 10 of them are considered exemplary.

Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Cutting down the energy demand of buildings significantly is necessary in order to meet Europe’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The JRC has carried out an in-depth assessment, on behalf of the Commission's Directorate-General for Energy, of the national building renovation strategies required by the Energy Efficiency Directive, which aim to make buildings more energy efficient. The JRC assessed and evaluated the strategies' compliance with the Directive and checked if all the requirements were adequately addressed in each national strategy.

The report provides an overview of the EU's national building stocks (e.g. energy performance, etc.), highlighting the availability of data and data gaps. It also assesses the ambitiousness of the planned renovations as well as the appropriateness of the policies and measures to achieve them. The study also identifies best practice examples.

Overall, the results of the assessment of the national building renovation strategies were positive. The study found that 74% of the submitted strategies address the main elements of the Energy Efficiency Directive satisfactorily. Ten of the strategies (Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom) are considered exemplary. Only six strategies (Austria, Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal and the Wallonia and Flanders regions of Belgium) were found to be 'not compliant', as at least two of the requirements were insufficiently covered. It is to be noted, however, that some of the weakest strategies come from Member States that are traditionally strong in terms of energy efficiency measures. This could mean that the problem is in the reporting, which has failed to depict correctly the status of national building renovation measures, rather than in the measures themselves.

The overall result of the analysis was very positive, taking into consideration that these were the first renovation strategy documents submitted by the Member States. The quality and the actual implementation of the strategies are expected to improve further in the future, also due to the JRC analysis, which provides a benchmark for all Member States. The strategies will be revised by Member States in 2017, and every 3 years thereafter.


Background

Buildings are a strategic sector for the energy policy: they are among the ten Commission priorities and a pillar of the Energy Union as set by the 2015 Communication. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), together with the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Ecodesign Directive (e.g. regulations for space and water heaters), define the conditions for long-term improvements in the energy performance of Europe's building stock.

Article 4 of Energy Efficiency Directive requires EU Member States "to establish a long-term strategy beyond 2020 for mobilising investment in the renovation of residential and commercial buildings with a view to improving the energy performance of the building stock". In order to increase the rate and depth of building renovations, the Member States were asked to develop a renovation strategy and submit them together with their National Energy Efficiency Action Plans (NEEAPs) by 30 April 2014. All Member States provided their strategies to the European Commission.

Each strategy has been evaluated against the five elements of Article 4, namely:

(a) An overview of the national building stock based, as appropriate, on statistical sampling;

(b) Identification of cost-effective approaches to renovations relevant to the building type and climatic zone;

(c) Policies and measures to stimulate cost-effective deep renovations of buildings, including staged deep renovations;

(d) A forward-looking perspective to guide investment decisions of individuals, the construction industry and financial institutions; and

(e) An evidence-based estimate of expected energy savings and wider benefits.

Keywords: energy, efficiency