Energy efficiency concerns from FIEC

13 November 2014

Disappointment that EU Member States are still behind with the transposition of both the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) has been expressed by FIEC (the European Construction Industry Federation).

In response to an EU Communication, FIEC is calling for further research and development in the field of new construction methods and energy efficient products.

It said that in April 2014, it had responded to the consultation on progress towards the 2020 energy efficiency objective and the 2030 energy efficiency policy framework by saying there was a need for effective implementation of existing legislation, including taking action on infringements. It also called for reinforcement of the measures in the EPBD.

It has now said it believes that until these have been addressed, there would be no point in introducing totally new policy measures at EU level to foster energy efficiency in buildings.

“Having said that,” it added, “we propose strengthening the existing measures, with stricter requirements for energy efficiency renovation of public buildings in the EU.”

Climatic differences

FIEC said that although it agreed that strengthening market surveillance would help to ensure a level playing field, the regional climatic differences that existed within the European Union should also be taken into account.

“We must also avoid prescribing energy efficiency measures on a very detailed level,” said FIEC. “We must remember that different Member States have entirely different ways of supplying energy to households, and new technology is on the way. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to energy efficiency measures.”

It said it strongly supported the EU statement about the construction industry, which said that it was the “most capable of reacting quickly to underpin the re-launch of the economy”.

FIEC added, “Although energy efficiency poses a potential business opportunity for the construction industry, we believe that the EU needs to invest further in research and development in this field, in order to accelerate the uptake of promising new construction methods and energy efficient products.”

It said, “Although FIEC supports energy efficiency per se and recognises that the long-term benefits will eventually compensate for the costs, nevertheless, we doubt that EU citizens are ready yet to accept the ‘no pain, no gain’ argument, which appears to be put forward in the Communication.”

Significant savings

Although FIEC agreed that there are potentially significant savings in buildings, it warned that the challenge of achieving energy savings should not be placed disproportionally on the construction industry.

“Other industries – especially energy-intensive industries – must be targeted too,” it said.

It welcomed the review of the Energy Labelling and Ecodesign Directives, and said it supported the move towards an updated policy framework. However, it repeated its request made in other recent position papers that the duplication of existing measures must be avoided.

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