The EU Commission has taken the next logical step: buildings are top users of energy and atmospheric polluters. Yesterday’s communication addresses the issue of how the Renovation Wave should unlock the renovation of 35 million inefficient buildings by 2030 and gives specific attention to decarbonizing heating and cooling.
The introduction of mandatory minimum energy performance standards increased funding and more skilled workers are just some of the many measures in this visionary communication that will trigger more energy- efficient renovations. The European Commission wants to start by renovating the worst-performing buildings, which is indeed key to tackle energy poverty. Once undergoing renovation, every single one of these buildings is a heat pump candidate. This will increase the number of projects where heat pumps are used and will give technology visibility; visibility that comes from executed projects and satisfied users.
The European Commission puts forward an integrated renovation approach, where buildings are transformed from consumers to producers of energy. Heat pumps play a key role in these projects since they enable a combination of high energy efficiency, reduced energy costs, integration of electric transport, and systemic benefits for the stability of the grids.
When it comes to decarbonising heating and cooling in specific, the European Commission rightfully points out that two-thirds of the energy consumed in residential buildings comes from fossil fuels. To decarbonise heating and cooling, the EC wants to increase the replacement rate of heating equipment, to strengthen the renewable heating and cooling target in the renewable energy directive, to require minimum levels of renewables in buildings. We enthusiastically welcome all of these measures that will accelerate the uptake of heat pumps.
However, the recognition that heat pumps incorporate the energy efficiency first principle and play a crucial role to reach the 40% the electrification rate of buildings’ heating by 2030, as put forward in the EU Strategy for Energy System Integration, deserves more visibility and backing also in the framework of the Renovation Wave.
Thomas Nowak, EHPA’s Secretary General: “Accelerated in-depth energy renovations will not happen based on the business as usual scenario. We call on the European Commission to come up with a heat pump implementation plan and powerful and ambitious legislative proposals to truly implement these announced measures.”
Lastly, the European Heat Pump Association has compiled a booklet of best practice examples of heat pumps working in the renovation sector. The examples illustrate how heat pumps are successfully functioning while bringing economic, environmental and social benefits to European citizens.