Energy Efficiency

EU Climate and energy package 2030

At a glance

The 2030 climate and energy framework includes EU-wide targets and policy objectives for the period from 2021 to 2030.

Key targets for 2030:

  1. At least 40% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels)
  2. At least 32% share for renewable energy
  3. At least 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency

The framework was adopted by the European Council in October 2014. The targets for renewables and energy efficiency were revised upwards in 2018. The framework helps drive progress towards a low-carbon economy and build an energy system that:

  • ensures affordable energy for all consumers,
  • increases the security of the EU’s energy supplies,
  • reduces our dependence on energy imports,
  • creates new opportunities for growth and jobs and
  • brings environmental and health benefits – e.g. through reduced air pollution

Our position: the framework positions the Precast Concrete industry as an important contributor to reach the set-up energy targets and call for fair business conditions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

An EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change

At a glance

In 2013, the European Commission adopted an EU strategy on adaptation to climate change, aimed to make Europe more climate-resilient. By taking a coherent approach and providing for improved coordination, it aims to enhance the preparedness and capacity of all governance levels to respond to the impacts of climate change.

The EU Adaptation Strategy focuses on three key objectives:

Promoting action by Member States : The Commission encourages all Member States to adopt comprehensive adaptation strategies (currently 25 have strategies) and provides funding to help them build up their adaptation capacities and take action. It also supports adaptation in cities through the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy initiative.

Climate-proofing’ action at EU level by further promoting adaptation in key vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and cohesion policy, ensuring that Europe’s infrastructure is made more resilient, and promoting the use of insurance against natural and man-made disasters.

Better informed decision-making by addressing gaps in knowledge about adaptation and further developing the European climate adaptation platform (Climate-ADAPT).

The Commission published an evaluation of the strategy in November 2018. The evaluation shows that the strategy has delivered on its objectives, with progress recorded against each of its eight individual actions. The report, nevertheless, outlines how Europe is still vulnerable to climate impacts within and outside its borders. The evaluation also suggests areas where more work needs to be done to prepare vulnerable regions and sectors.

Our position

The strategy involves the recognition of:

-precast concrete/concrete as a climate resilient material

-precast concrete as earthquake and fire safe material

-precast concrete/concrete as affordable solution to climate proof infrastructure

Moreover, it aims to raise the awareness that concrete/precast concrete has key role to play in helping society adapt and face the impacts of climate change in an affordable way.

Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050

At a glance

The low carbon Roadmap sets out cost-efficient pathways for key economic sectors for achieving an overall 80% reduction in the EU’s emissions by 2050 (compared to 1990). This would be accomplished solely through reduction measures within the EU and does not include the possible use of international credits to offset emissions. To achieve this long-term target cost-efficiently, the EU should reduce its domestic emissions by 40% and 60% by 2030 and 2040, respectively. To achieve a 80% reduction in emissions in the EU by 2050, investment in clean and energy-efficient technologies needs to be increased by 1.5% of GDP per year, or €270 billion. This investment will be largely paid back, or even over-compensated, through lower energy bills; fuel savings amount to € 175-320 billion on average per year by 2050. The low carbon economy will also improve air quality, reducing air pollution control and health care costs by up to €88 billion a year by 2050. Investments in clean technologies will spur economic growth, as well as preserve and create jobs. Clean technology is a booming sector, which other parts of the world are also investing in. The EU must stay in pole position in the low carbon race to reap the benefits of green growth

Our position: The measures of the Roadmap have direct effect on our sector. Investing early in the low carbon economy can create new jobs both in the short and the medium term. The recovery of the construction sector could get a significant boost through a major effort to accelerate the replacement of existing buildings and building of energy efficient houses.

Draft Commission strategy 2050

At a glance

On 28 November 2018, the Commission presented its strategic long-term vision for a climate-neutral economy by 2050.

The strategy shows how Europe can lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research – while ensuring social fairness for a just transition. Following the invitations by the European Parliament and the European Council, the Commission’s vision for a climate-neutral future covers nearly all EU policies and is in line with the Paris Agreement objective to keep the global temperature increase to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to keep it to 1.5°C.

Our position: The two topics that can affect the precast concrete business are energy efficiency (on the energy-use side) and decarbonization of manufactured products (on the emissions side). In particular, the threats are linked with the idea throughout the document to “replace currently used materials based on fossil fuels by ones with less carbon content or with biomass”. Biomass is linked with (temporary) carbon storage and then promoted as an alternative for several uses, including construction products. In terms of opportunities, it is recognized that demolition and replacement is a solution for the worst performing part of the building stock.

Energy Performance of Buildings directive ((EU) 2018/844)

At a glance

Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Currently, about 35% of the EU’s buildings are over 50 years old and almost 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient, while only 0.4-1.2% (depending on the country) of the building stock is renovated each year.

On 30 November 2016, the European Commission adopted a ‘Clean energy for all Europeans’ package, consisting of eight legislative proposals  to help the EU meet its 2030 energy and climate objectives.

The mentioned package included also a proposal for a revision of the Energy Performance of Building Directive ( 2010/31/EU).

The said proposal maintained the key features of the existing EPBD and :

– it introduces a ‘smartness indicator’ that assesses the technological capability of buildings in energy self-production and consumption

– sets clearer requirements for national databases on energy performance certificates

– it includes reference to fire safety and long-term renovating strategies

– it aims to decarbonise the building stock by 2050

In order to direct investment towards the renovation of building stock, the Commission also launched the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings initiative, which has the potential to unlock an additional €10 billion of public and private funds for energy efficiency and renewables uptake in buildings.

The revised framework included the obligation that all new buildings must be nearly zero-energy buildings by 2021 (‘nZEB’).

The new Directive (EU) 2018/844 entered into force on 9 July 2018.

Our position

Please follow this link to find our position on energy efficiency and buildings.

Energy Efficiency Directive

At a glance

The 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive established a set of binding measures to help the EU reach its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020.

In 2016 with the ‘Clean energy for all Europeans’ package, the Commission decided to review  the existing Directive in order to meet EU climate and energy targets for 2030 and align it with other aspects of the Clean Energy package, including a revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), a recast directive on the Promotion of Renewable Energy Sources, and a new regulation on Governance of Energy Union.

The new updated Directive sets the 2030 target at non-binding 32.5% while it strengthens of the national energy savings obligation in Article 7 beyond 2020.

The Directive will be reviewed in 2023 to update climate goals. The new Directive will be soon officially adopted by the European Parliament and Council before being published in the Official Journal of the EU. Member States will have to transpose the new elements of the Directive into national law 18 months after its entry into force.

Renewable Energy Directive

At a glance

The Renewable Energy Directive establishes an overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU. It requires the EU to fulfill at least 20% of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020 – to be achieved through the attainment of individual national targets. All EU countries must also ensure that at least 10% of their transport fuels come from renewable sources by 2020.

In 2016  with the ‘Clean energy for all Europeans’ package, the Commission published a proposal for a revised Renewable Energy Directive to make the EU a global leader in renewable energy and ensure that the target of at least 27% renewables in the final energy consumption in the EU by 2030 is met.

The Directive specifies national renewable energy targets for each country, taking into account its starting point and overall potential for renewables. These targets range from a low of 10% in Malta to a high of 49% in Sweden.

  • The revised Directive (Trialogue agreement in June 2018) sets a headline target of 32% energy from renewable sources at EU level for 2030.
  • The annual increase of energy from renewable sources in heating and cooling will be 1.3 percentage points indicatively, or 1.1 percentage points if waste heat is not taken into account.
  • Via obligations on fuel suppliers, renewables will reach a level of at least 14% in transport by 2030, supplemented by a set of facilitative multipliers to boost renewables in different sectors.
  • The directive also establishes a clear and stable framework for household self-consumption. This means that consumers with small-scale installations of up to 30kW will be exempt from any charges or fees, while allowing member states to apply charges if self-consumption grows excessively.

The directive is submitted for approval to the European Parliament, where the plenary vote is expected in October 2018, and then back to the Council for final adoption. The directive will enter into force 20 days following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

Our position

Please follow this link to find our more about the role of thermal mass and uptake of renewable energy in buildings.

As for finding out more about the role of precast concrete in the production and use of renewables, please click here.