Energy-use in buildings will increasingly be based on decarbonised energy sources

Energy-use in buildings will increasingly be based on decarbonised energy sources

Energy-use in buildings will increasingly be based on decarbonised rather than fossil fuels. Smarter technology will help integrate heating and cooling with the electrical sector, and the uptake of electrical heat pumps, both residential and large scale, will play a pivotal role in this transition.

As part of the European Green Deal targets, the EU has committed to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and agreed on an ambitious emissions reduction trajectory of -55% by 2030. Around 40% of European energy consumption occurs through heating and cooling buildings. This means that decarbonising the heating and cooling sector is an essential component of Europe’s climate strategy.

The EU 2030 climate and energy targets and their supporting framework are currently being revised as part of the Fit for 55 package.
Priorities and actions to decarbonise the heating and cooling sector in the EU fall within the Renovation Wave Strategy and Energy System Integration Strategy.

These two strategies are translated into the general legislative framework for energy efficiency, outlined below.

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Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)

Buildings are responsible for around 36% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU, with the majority coming from heating and cooling. The introduction of the Zero Emission Building (ZEB) concept is an important step towards the decarbonization of buildings. 

Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) are a great tool at EU level that can deliver necessary harmonisation. EPEE encourages further improvements to the established scope and timeframes of the proposed MEPS to ensure the many benefits of energy renovations, and avoid fossil fuels lock-in effects.  

With the file now coming to the end of negotiations, EPEE´s main priority will be to ensure a strong implementation of the directive. 

Energy Efficiency Directive

EPEE supports the 2030 Climate Target Plan and believes that complementary targets on renewable energy and energy efficiency should be binding and increased in a coherent manner. Half of Europe’s energy usage comes from the heating and cooling industry. Thus, through energy efficiency and the integration of renewables, heating and cooling offers a significant and economically viable potential to cut emissions. 

Thermal storage and so-called waste heat and cold also play a key role in achieving energy efficiency. EPEE welcomes the revised EED and the introduction of the energy efficiency-first principle.  

Heat Pump Action Plan

Heat pumps are a great solution to reach the European climate goals and the priorities of energy efficiency and sufficiency.  

The variety of heat pump technology as well as all heat pump applications, including industrial and residential ones, shall be covered in the EU Action Plan for the acceleration of heat pumps.  

Renewable Energy Directive

The Renewable Energy Directive promotes the decarbonization of the heating and cooling sector through renewables and energy system integration.  

Member states have to increase up to 0.8 percentage points their share of renewable energy until 2025 and by at least 1.1 percentage points between 2026 and 2030. To that end, the use of district heating and cooling from renewable source should be recommended.  

District heating and cooling systems by heat pumps establish a safe mechanism to reach the share of renewable energy proposed. In addition, the storage of the heat and cold waste shall also be promoted as a renewable source. 

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