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The cold wave across Europe: a harsh reminder of the need to prioritize investments in building renovation


07 Feb 2012



In 2012, a two-week cold wave across Europe can generate fears of energy shortfalls and sheds lights on the scale of the energy poverty problem. This comes only a little more than a year after the December 2010 cold wave, which had caused similar concerns with a new peak in energy consumption being reached. Without a drastic change to Europe’s energy policy, these situations will more likely repeat in the coming years. European decision makers need to endorse the long-term solution of a renovated and energy-efficient building stock to avoid that the same climatic causes generate similar consequences in the future.

‘The cold wave across Europe sadly reminds us all of the need to optimize our use of energy in Europe’, said Bertrand Cazes, Secretary General of Glass for Europe. ‘The only sustainable way to avoid tensions on energy grids at time of cold waves and to tackle energy poverty is to improve the energy efficiency of Europe’s buildings so that heating needs can be drastically reduced.’

The benefits of investing in energy efficient building renovations have long been established but, so far, no concerted policy has been put in place to trigger wide-scale renovation programmes. ‘What has been missing is political leadership and concrete measures that mobilize all stakeholders’, according to Bertrand Cazes. The draft Energy Efficiency Directive, currently debated in the European Parliament, offers the opportunity to fill these gaps and to prioritize building renovation: long-term renovation road maps can be put in place and complemented with a compulsory 3% deep renovation rate for public buildings, including social housing.

With the Energy Efficiency Directive, Europe has a real opportunity to take measures that will cut energy wasted in inefficient buildings. It should not be missed to prepare Europe for the future cold waves.



For more information, please contact Bertrand Cazes,, +32.(0)2.538.43.77

About Glass for Europe

Glass for Europe is the trade association for Europe’s manufacturers of flat glass. Flat glass is the material that goes into a variety of end-products and primarily in windows and façades for buildings, windscreens and windows for automotive and transport as well as glass covers, connectors and mirrors for solar-energy equipments. Flat glass is also used for many other applications such as furniture, electronics, appliances, etc.

Glass for Europe has four members: AGC Glass Europe, NSG-Group, Saint-Gobain Glass and Sisecam-Trakya Cam andworks in association with Guardian. Altogether, these five companies represent 90% of Europe’s flat glass production.


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