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EPEE welcomes a stronger, life-cycle push for efficiency

Brussels, 26 June 2013 - Europe needs to do more on energy efficiency and embed it in a holistic, life-cycle approach that delivers a win-win solution for climate change and the economy, stakeholders from industry, NGOs and academia told EU policymakers at a High-Level Energy Conference organised by EPEE, the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment, in Brussels on 19 June.

The conference drew policymakers into a debate on an appropriate climate and energy policy for 2030 as well as setting out a vision for the future of buildings. The debate, moderated by freelance journalist Sonja van Renssen, went far beyond the drivers and challenges facing the air conditioning, refrigeration and heat pump sector, which EPEE represents.

An energy revolution is possible, agreed the speakers, and efficiency is where the biggest untapped potential lies. Improvements in energy efficiency could deliver nearly half the carbon cuts needed by 2020 to keep the world away from dangerous climate change1, pointed out Dries Acke from the European Climate Foundation. Efficiency investments are more cost-effective than building new power plants, added Professor Dr Peter Hennicke from the Wuppertal Institute in Germany.
There is no question over the transition to a low-carbon economy, agreed Sylvain Lhôte from Alcoa Europe, but the challenge is finding the money to invest and making sure that investment takes place in Europe, not elsewhere. Industries need to see short-term gains.

Kurt Emil Eriksen from the Active House Alliance urged policymakers to take a more holistic approach to energy efficiency in buildings that centres on quality of life and a building’s entire environmental footprint. Nearly zero energy buildings are already a reality, he stressed. And nature can provide endless inspiration for using minimum materials to maximum effect, said architect Michael Pawlyn from Exploration.

A European Commission official said a future policy priority is raising Europe’s renovation rate. It could also make sense to consider urban areas or blocks of buildings rather than only individual constructions. Currently the EU is on track to deliver only one-fifth of the cost-effective efficiency potential of buildings. “This is where energy-efficient equipment manufactured by EPEE members can bring solutions in buildings and contribute overall significantly to reduce emissions and save energy across Europe” stated Andrea Voigt, EPEE.

The US energy-efficient building industry is thriving and was worth some $10bn in 2005, $85bn today and is predicted to be worth $250bn in 2016. The US itself meanwhile is quite optimistic about a new global climate agreement in 2015, Dale Eppler from the US Mission to the EU told the conference. It envisages this as a patchwork of bottom-up pledges of different levels of ambition and legal commitment.

Note to Editor:
About EPEE: The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE) represents the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump industry in Europe. Founded in the year 2000, EPEE’s membership is composed of 40 member companies, national and international associations. EPEE member companies realise a turnover of over 30 billion Euros, employ more than 200,000 people in Europe and also create indirect employment through a vast network of small and medium-sized enterprises such as contractors who install, service and maintain equipment. EPEE member companies have manufacturing sites and research and development facilities across the EU, which innovate for the global market. As an expert association, EPEE is supporting safe, environmentally and economically viable technologies with the objective of promoting a better understanding of the sector in the EU and contributing to the development of effective European policies. Please see our website (www.epeeglobal.org) for further information. For contacts: secretariat@epeeglobal.org or +32 4 88 77 41 66.

 

1 “Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map”, 10 June 2013 (IEA): http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/media/weowebsite/2013/energyclimatemap/R...

 

 

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