EPBD: Decarbonise heating and cooling, future-proof the EU’s building stock
2 min read

EPBD: Decarbonise heating and cooling, future-proof the EU’s building stock

Brussels, 16th December 2021 – The Renewable Heating and Cooling Alliance (RHCA), the voice of renewable heat, welcomes the European Commission’s Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) and asks for accelerated ambition.

To meet the EU’s 2030 climate target, buildings need to achieve a 60% greenhouse gas emissions cut by 2030[1], especially as a third of the EU’s energy related emissions stem from the building sector[2]. The revision of the EPBD is pivotal to accelerating the shift from fossil to renewable heating and cooling.

We welcome the Commission’s proposal to ensure that all new buildings need to be zero emission as of 2030, using energy from on-site renewables, from renewable energy communities or from district heating and cooling systems. In addition, we recognise the importance of ending subsidies for fossil fuel-based boilers and reiterate the role of a just, rapid, and planned transition that helps to alleviate energy poverty and promotes behavioural change. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the Commission proposed to end all financial incentives for the installation of boilers powered by fossil fuels in the future.

The Renewable Heating and Cooling Alliance states “The revision of the EPBD is an important step towards climate neutrality, as continuing to finance fossil fuels would be a slap in the face of the EU’s climate targets and all those lives that perished from climate-related disasters”.

The Renewable Heating and Cooling Alliance remains at the EU institutions’ disposal to achieve our climate objectives and accomplish a European net-zero building stock by 2050.

To this end, we ask our representatives to heat homes, not the climate, by:

  • Accelerate the uptake of on-site and nearby renewable energy, as well as waste heat from district heating and cooling networks.
  • incentivise renewable heat and/or power as part of the roadmaps that Member States need to develop for phasing out fossil fuel heating and cooling by 2040 at the latest, as well through technical and financial support to accelerate the transition.
  • Ensure that buildings are upgraded over time and become zero-emissions by 2050 at the latest through the strengthening of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) proposed in the EPBD.
  • Lower the life-cycle global warming potential of new buildings, inter alia through energy efficiency measures.
  • Stronger alignment with EED and RED, especially for planned replacement and Art.23 of the RED which increases the share of renewable energy in the heating and cooling sector by at least 1.1% per year.
  • Stronger financial and technical support to local authorities as decarbonisation of buildings is implemented at local level.
  • Reinforced dialogues with stakeholders and in particular with local actors in the drafting of the Building Renovation Action Plans.

The renewable Alliance welcomes the provisions to help ensure trained and skilled workers to inform and carry out building renovations and the installation of renewable heating systems, as well as the availability of one-stop-shops for financing and technical assistance. Moreover, we wholeheartedly welcome the prioritisation of incentives for vulnerable customers and people most affected by energy poverty, as these citizens struggle most to keep warm. The involvement of local governments in the transition to renewable heat and/or power is of paramount importance, and that is why the National Building Renovation Plans should include cooperation with local authorities.

Ambitious targets, as well as a market environment, that makes clean and sustainable solutions the most economically attractive ones, are needed to transform the EU’s building stock to zero-emissions by 2050 at the latest.

[1] Compared to 2015

[2] EEA, Greenhouse gas emissions from energy use in buildings in Europe, October 2021

For further information contact:

Solar Heat Europe:

Felix Kriedemann,+32 2 318 40 58, felix.kriedemann@solarheateurope.eu

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