S&Ds push for smart buildings that will save energy and contribute to clean transport

Buildings eat up around 40% of the total energy used in the European Union and a big part of it still relies on fossil fuels. Improving building energy performance would lead to lower energy bills and to lower levels of CO2 emissions.

Today the all-party industry and energy committee in the European Parliament voted on the Energy Performance of the Buildings Directive, the first file of the Clean Energy Package. The Socialists and Democrats pushed for an ambitious enhancement of energy performance that will take the European Union a step closer to meeting targets agreed in the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

S&D spokesperson on this file, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri MEP, said:

“Member states should draw up long-term renovation strategies in order to make sure the energy-efficiency targets are met, with the ultimate goal of a decarbonised building stock by 2050. This means homes, schools and offices will be healthier place to be in and the increase in renovation activity will create jobs all around Europe.

“New measures approved today will also help improve transport, because infrastructure for electro-mobility will be introduced. The idea is to build the necessary pre-cabling and pre-tubing for electrical-vehicle-charging points when buildings are being renovated.

“A key S&D demand was the requirement to install at least one charging point in non-residential buildings with over 10 parking spaces if they are new or undergoing major renovation. This will encourage people to shift to cars with low emissions. For residential buildings, if they are new or undergoing major renovation, we suggest that every parking space should be equipped with the necessary infrastructure to enable charging points to be installed later.”

S&D co-ordinator for industry and energy, Dan Nica MEP, said:

“The S&Ds have tried for a long time to improve life for energy-poor households (estimated to be up to 11% of EU households). Now finally EU countries will have to outline actions that help to reduce energy poverty while supporting equal access to financing tools for energy-efficiency renovations for vulnerable households. We ensured that financial incentives to renovate also have a consumer perspective that takes into account cost-efficiency differences between member states.

“The directive lays the foundation for a new way of thinking about construction, making use of innovation for smart buildings. Using building automation and control systems (BACs) can save a lot of energy. We want to encourage the installation of these systems in all non-residential buildings with total primary energy use of over 250 MWh by 2023.  As BACs also form the backbone of the smartness indicator, this new tool that will help tenants and homeowners to better assess the systems they have in place. This is an affordable and accessible way for families to save money on energy bills.

“A smart home should be able to manage energy consumption, possibly even generate renewable energy on-site and adapt the operation of the building according to the occupants’ needs, for example by giving information on energy consumption and indoor air quality.”