FIEC focuses on energy efficiency

By Chris Sleight24 June 2008

The European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) has called for an integrated approach to raising the energy performance of buildings. The Federation says buildings account for 40% of energy demand and that improving the performance of existing structures should be a priority.

FIEC's annual Congress, held in Dublin on 19 & 20 June was themed around energy efficiency. With oil prices at record levels, FIEC put the case for a package of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Among the recommendations was that EU Member States should apply reduced rates of VAT to repair and maintenance work on buildings, and that materials such as insulation and high efficiency boilers should also be subject to reduced VAT when installed by a contractor. A statement from FIEC said, "This is the most effective way of promoting gains in energy efficiency as the lower initial cost will directly benefit and incentivise the consumer."

Stressing the high benefit to cost ratio of simple measures such as improving thermal insulation, Professor Owen Lewis, a professor of architectural science at University College Dublin's Energy Research Group said, "Un-sexy measures such as insulation actually have a negative cost." He added, "The European construction industry offers the best opportunities for CO2 savings."

A statement from FIEC Said, "In contrast to other forms of action such as in the transport sector, raising the energy efficiency of buildings when they undergo major renovation can be achieved without restraining economic output. Action taken in the built environment will, on the contrary, promote growth and will create more jobs."

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