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ROUNDTABLE: Research to Accelerate Innovation

Date

25 May 2012

Sections

Energy

DG Energy, DG Research and Innovation, DG Information Society: different European Commission services sitting together for the first time at the same panel to join forces for more energy efficiency. With 50% of industry and nearly 30% of SMEs participation in research activities at European level, the ‘Energy Efficient Buildings’ Public-Private Partnership (EeB PPP) has already proven to be a success. Nonetheless, energy efficiency costs money. How can the research process bring down these costs and make it more affordable? How can the PPP tool be used from research into demonstration and from demonstration into large scale implementation? These and other issues were tackled at the Conference “ENERGY EFFICIENT BUILDINGS AND DISTRICTS: Research to Accelerate Innovation” organised last week in Brussels by the Energy Efficient Buildings Association (E2BA) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). High-level speakers included MEP Silvia-Adriana TICÃU, Rapporteur on the Energy Performance for Buildings (EPBD) Directive and MEP Claude TURMES, Rapporteur on the newly proposed Energy Efficiency Directive.

The construction industry is one of the largest contributors to CO2 emissions, with buildings being responsible for 40% of the total European energy consumption and one third of CO2 emissions. “It is clear that this aspect of energy is part of R&D activities and that we have to reduce our use of energy and the impact we have on the environment”. Many lessons have been learned about energy performance over the past years and by now a certain number of solutions can also be applied to other areas. However, “a breakthrough in innovation is needed”, noted Gaëtan DESRUELLES, from Bouygues Construction, who is also President of the Energy Efficiency Building Association (E2BA).

Energy efficient buildings and districts are key enablers to future smart cities and contributors to grand challenges. “The PPP tool is helping to bring back industries into the research programme. There is no club creation; PPP has shown to be an open and transparent mechanism to engage industry and SMEs around research and innovation priorities which are part of a long term programme where both the private and public side has committed investments” said Mr. VON BOSE the Commission’s Director for Industrial Technologies. “Industry and all the stakeholders in the innovation chain have acknowledged positively the fact that energy efficient buildings is clearly mentioned in the Horizon 2020 proposal and in this direction have started a roadmapping exercise to identify future research and innovation priorities to address 2050 challenges with a clear focus till 2020”, said Stefano CAROSIO from D’Appolonia, E2BA. 

“At the end of the day our research effort can only be effective if we can go from research into demonstration and from demonstration into large scale implementation. This is the key element for rolling out the process”, said Mrs Marie DONNELLY the Commission’s Director for Renewables, Research and Innovation and Energy Efficiency. Industry plays a fundamental role in this approach, bringing R&D results into the industrial reality. This is a complicated work, admitted EESC member Gerd WOLF. He assured that for the EESC getting energy efficiency strategies operational was a top priority and that civil society was voicing out its opinion on all major EU policy proposals in the area.

According to the conference conclusions, further investments and work on R&D are very much needed for developing new tools and solutions that will allow effective progress in the future. The Energy-efficient Buildings Public Private Partnership (EeB PPP) has already achieved excellent results within the EU 7th Framework Programme for R&D and is standing ready to further enhance the competitiveness of European industry along the entire innovation cycle in the upcoming “Horizon 2020” research support scheme. “There will be no change; investments will continue”, said Juliusz ZACH from Mostostal, E2BA, in his closing remarks.

For more information, please contact:

Luc Bourdeau, E2BA Secretary General, or Silvia Zinetti, E2BA Project Officer

E-mail: secretariat@e2b-ei.eu or silvia.zinetti@e2b-ei.eu 

Tel: 02 4001068 468

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