September 25, 2017
Buildings that use renewables would be classed as highly energy efficient under European Parliament proposal, even if they waste energy.
At first glance, the European Parliament’s work on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is a text-book example of progressive and united thinking from across the political spectrum.
Led by MEP Bendt Bendtsen, different EU Parliament groups have got behind a report that is a real improvement on the European Commission’s original text. For example, there is new wording on ‘trigger points’ – meaning owners must improve a building’s energy efficiency whenever there is a good moment to do so, such as during a planned renovation or between tenants.
But the devil likes to hide in the detail – in this case, the Annex to the document – and this devil has a real sting in its tail.
The Annex text would allow houses powered by renewables to be classed as more energy efficient than others – even if they waste energy!
This would be totally misleading, encouraging consumers to rent wasteful buildings under the illusion that they are energy efficient.
Energy efficiency and renewables need to go hand in hand: together, they are the cornerstone of climate action in line with the Paris Agreement. In this case, making the most of both clearly means putting energy efficiency in Europe’s buildings first, not encouraging the wasting of renewables.
When Parliament groups finalise their compromise amendments to the report on Tuesday, they should take this into account. Otherwise the Directive that should help us have more comfortable, affordable, efficient buildings will be not much more than a façade.
By Arianna Vitali and Sarah Azau, WWF European Policy Office