|A country-by-country review of the energy performance of buildings was prepared by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) and published in 2011. To create a sound basis for political debate and policy making at EU and Member State level, the BPIE has embarked upon a major undertaking: to develop a vital picture of the European building stock, one that is as detailed and correct as possible. The published study is a first attempt at such a comprehensive approach.
|The main parts of the study are:
Part 1: Europe’s buildings today
Part 2: Policies and programs for improving Energy efficiency in buildings
Part 3: Renovating with purpose – finding a roadmap to 2050
Part 4: Final remarks and policy recommendations
From the emotional to the architectural value, buildings occupy a key place in our lives and society as a whole. Yet, the energy performance of our buildings is generally so poor that the levels of energy consumed in buildings place the sector among the most significant CO2 emissions sources in Europe.
|While new buildings can be constructed with high performance levels, it is the older buildings, representing the vast majority of the building stock, which are predominantly of low energy performance and subsequently in need of renovation work. With their potential to deliver high energy and CO2 savings as well as many societal benefits, energy efficient buildings can have a pivotal role in a sustainable future.
Achieving the energy savings in buildings is a complex process. Policy making in this field requires a meaningful understanding of several characteristics of the building stock. Reducing the energy demand requires the deployment of effective policies which in turn makes it necessary to understand what affects people’s decision making processes, the key characteristics of the building stock, the impact of current policies etc.
Amid the current political discussions at EU level, BPIE has undertaken an extensive survey across all EU Member States, Switzerland and Norway reviewing the situation in terms of the building stock characteristics and policies in place. This survey provides an EU-wide picture of the energy performance of the building stock and how existing policies influence the situation. The data collected was also used to develop scenarios that show pathways to making the building stock much more energy efficient, in line with the EU 2050 roadmap.
The European countries have been divided based on climatic, building typology and market similarities into three regions:
|The building sector is one of the key consumers of energy in Europe where energy use in buildings has seen overall a rising trend over the past 20 years. In 2009, European households were responsible for 68% of the total final energy use in buildings Energy in households is mainly consumed by heating, cooling, hot water, cooking and appliances where the dominant energy end- use (responsible for around 70%) in homes is space heating. Gas is the most common fuel used in buildings while oil use is highest in North & West Europe. The highest use of coal in the residential sector is in Central & Eastern Europe where also district heating has the highest share of all regions. Renewable energy sources (solar heat, biomass, geothermal and wastes) have a share of 21%, 12% and 9% in total final consumption in Central & Eastern, South and North & West regions, respectively.
Energy Savings Measures
There are many reasons why investments in energy saving measures in buildings are often overlooked, rejected or only partially realized. Experience over several decades has identified numerous barriers that hinder energy saving investments. Financial, institutional and administrative, awareness/information and split incentives are the main categories of barriers identified by the BPIE survey which have a particular impact on existing buildings. Although financial barriers were one of the highest ranking barrier category among the country responses, alternative investments are in many cases preferred to energy saving measures due to the lack of awareness, interest or in fact, ‘attractiveness’ of energy efficiency as an investment option. For the market to work well, correct and appropriate information is essential.
|Ambitious renovations comprise a major decision and can only work if the right advice is available for the consumer. In addition, energy efficiency service industries should be fully capable of delivering those measures; and ultimately sufficient satisfaction levels should be guaranteed for the consumer. The split incentive is probably the most long-lasting barrier, particularly due to the complex structure of occupancy both in terms of the residential and non-residential sector.
The Ways Forward
Building energy performance needs to be significantly improved in order to reduce overall energy demand and, importantly, reduce carbon dioxide emissions in line with the cost-effective potential and Europe’s GHG emissions objectives. The question for policymakers is how to proceed.
To help policy makers determine the appropriate way forward, a renovation model has been specifically developed for this project. The scenarios illustrate the impact on energy use and CO2 emissions at different rates (percentage of buildings renovated each year) and depths of renovation (extent of measures applied and size of resulting energy and emissions reduction) from now up to 2050. The model has assessed energy saved, CO2 saved, total investment required, energy cost savings, employment impact and a range of cost-effectiveness indicators.
Detailed information including valuable data about the Czech buildings and their energy performance is available in the full report.
Source: BPIE survey