Solar electricity key to reach net zero energy buildings

Date

31 Mar 2009

Sections

Climate & Environment
Sustainable Dev.

Press release

Today the industry and energy committee of the European Parliament (EP) voted on the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). The committee agreed that on-site renewables (RES), combined with efficiency measures, are essential to improve the
energy performance of buildings in Europe. This should boost the use of solar electricity in buildings.

The industry committee of the EP voted today on the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and agreed that all new buildings should be at least net zero energy buildings by December 2018, at the latest. “This cross-party agreement recognises the importance of an
optimal combination of energy efficiency and on site renewable energy sources in buildings” said Eleni Despotou, EPIA Policy Director, commenting on the EP’s vote. Solar photovoltaic (PV)electricity is one of the renewable energy sources that can be best integrated into buildings. Today, thanks to innovative PV products, it is possible to use PV not only as an energy producing element
but also for weather or noise protection, shading or as heat insulation. For instance, commercial buildings increasingly use roof integrated PV that can also act as waterproof protection.

The European parliamentarians also asked Member States to encourage, amongst other alternative energy sources, the use of renewables in existing buildings undergoing major
renovation. This is all the more important considering these represent the vast majority of the
building stock.

In addition, the EP committee requested that the EC strengthen existing financial instruments or propose new ones, for both RES and energy efficiency projects, to support the implementation of the Directive. These instruments include: reduced VAT rates, extension of the use of the EU Regional Development Fund and creation of an Energy Efficiency Fund. “The parliament foresees the means to implement this important piece of legislation, this will help to make sure political will turns into concrete achievements” added Eleni Despotou.

A number of EU countries have already adopted ambitious targets for buildings; the European photovoltaic industry strongly hopes that a majority of Member States will follow this trend during Council discussions. Renewables represent a truly added-value to improve the energy
performance of buildings.