EU ‘Struggling’ To Retrofit Buildings

It’s now widely accepted that our building stock is one of the main contributing factors in our carbon emissions, and an area where we need to make significant gains.

However, a recent article in Euractiv pointed out that, without ambitious targets on improving the energy efficiency of our commercial and domestic buildings, the pace of change will be too slow.

According to the website, 40 per cent of all of the EU’s primary energy consumption is through its building stock, which means tackling this with retrofits and new technology could have a significant impact not only on emissions, but also energy usage.

Many experts and those in the building renovation industry support an ambitious 40 per cent energy saving target, however the European Commission is currently pushing for a 30 per cent target.

Those in the renovation sector argue that introducing a 40 per cent target could create over one million jobs in the industry, as well as reducing energy imports.

Peter Sweatman, the rapporteur on the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group, told the news provider that 30 per cent doesn’t go far enough.

“Sometimes having a big, aggressive, ambitious vision gets you to a place you wouldn’t have got to. 40 per cent I think is economically and cost-optimally achievable,” he stated.

Of course, the EU target is unlikely to impact the UK given that we’re starting the negotiating process to leave the union. However, the UK has set its own targets for energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

By 2018, all buildings in the country need to have a minimum energy efficiency rating of E, but figures published last month by Business Green show that 20 per cent of all buildings in Wales and England fall short of this target.

Installing simple solutions such as window films could be a way to update buildings in the short term until a more dramatic retrofit is possible.

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