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The EU's Big Energy Efficiency Opportunity

The EU's Big Energy Efficiency Opportunity

AN excellent article in Ireland’s Independent newspaper by Philip Lee highlights the opportunity in the EU zone for businesses and others, due to the demand for improved energy efficiency.

Lee refers to the EU pointing at energy efficiency as one of the major solutions to climate change, energy security, competitiveness and even unemployment, and hence is a core objective for the blocs policies and monetary incentives.

Lee writes that at a European level, funding mechanisms have been put in place and a legislative platform adopted to ensure that energy efficiency objectives are realised. This revolves around three specific legal instruments which together oblige member states to retrofit their building stock and to ensure that renewable energy is used in all new buildings.

The 2010 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires that from July 2013 all new buildings, whether public or private, have to be designed and constructed so that the energy performance would lead to the lowest cost of that building over its estimated economic life cycle.

This means that if triple glazing, solar, thermal heating or sophisticated energy management systems might on the one hand increase the initial cost of the building but, would save more than their initial cost when looked at over the estimated life of the building, then those measures must be included in the construction. Otherwise, it is in breach of the European directive and eventually in breach of an individual state’s Building Regulations which will implement these measures.

The newest Energy Performance of Buildings Directive also imposes an even higher standard for new buildings occupied and owned by public authorities after 2018 and all new buildings after 2020, requiring that they be 'near zero energy buildings'. A failure to have achieved this near zero energy standard could have a very substantial impact on the ability to sell or rent a property when constructed, and at the very minimum would have an impact on its pricing.

The obligations created by the European directives on buildings and renewable energy together provide great encouragement to specialists in the construction industry who can exploit the enormous opportunities of building or retrofitting to very high standards. It also of course, gives great encouragement to the producers of the equipment or technology that can manage the more sophisticated buildings or provide energy from renewable sources.

However, these previous directives are nothing but tasters for the latest directive – the Energy Efficiency Directive – adopted in 2012. This obliges Ireland and other member states to publish in April of this year a long-term strategy for mobilising investment in the renovation of the total national stock of residential and commercial buildings, both public and private.

As an example of the opportunities that will develop Lee refers to Austria. It is a country, according to Lee, where they have already launched their strategy, it is expected that their renovation measures will secure more than 40,000 jobs to 2020. European Commission documents estimate that the impact of these directives will require at least €65bn to be spent each year between now and 2020. Commission officials estimate the figure is likely to be substantially higher.

The Commission also estimated that there could be five million jobs created by these initiatives. Funding is being made available through national energy efficiency funds and through various European instruments and the European Investment Bank.

As Lee highlights - opportunities are there now, and into the future, for specialists who can aid in the great energy efficiency improvement across Europe.

Enigin have developed a range of energy saving technology and solutions that are helping consumers become more energy efficient. To find out more, contact your local Enigin distributor today.

Picture by Mattes (Own work) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday 17th February 2014