Call for tough new targets on European Union energy reduction

Feb 27, 2012

Energy efficiency experts at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are calling for ambitious new targets to reduce energy demand across the European Union.

In a report published today by the Build with CaRe consortium, the researchers propose a new EU target of a 40 per cent reduction in primary energy demand by 2050. The existing target is a 20 per cent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020, but the EU is currently on track to achieve only half of this.

The report by Dr Bruce Tofield and Martin Ingham, associate consultants at UEA's Adapt Low Carbon Group concludes that radically improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings is key to reducing global , and Europe should be leading the way.

A 40 per cent reduction by 2050 for the EU is in line with the ambitions of new Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey. At the launch of his new Energy Efficiency Deployment Office earlier this month, he called for a cut in UK energy use of between a third and a half by 2050.

"Buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of Europe's energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, so overhauling their energy efficiency represents the greatest opportunity for energy saving and ," said Dr Tofield.

"By making its building stock energy efficient, the EU can demonstrate that economic growth is consistent with reduced energy demand and lead the transition to a sustainable world. A long-term target of 40 per cent would galvanise the near-term action on energy efficiency that is essential if action to tackle potentially dangerous climate change is to succeed."

The consensus among is that global warming above 2 degrees can only be avoided if global begin to reduce before 2020. However, current projections show fossil fuel use and emissions continuing to increase for decades.

Dr Tofield said he agreed with the EU Commission's Energy Roadmap 2050 that a big reduction in is achievable and that very energy efficient buildings should become the norm, but he said many barriers remained.

"The biggest barrier is lack of political will to accelerate progress in energy efficiency," he said.

"New build ambition is insufficient and the rate of building refurbishment to achieve high standards of energy efficiency is far too low. Political will to transform buildings will demonstrate EU leadership on climate action post-Durban. Cities across the EU can lead this change."

Build with CaRe is a consortium of local authorities and universities from five countries across the North Sea region, funded partly by the European Regional Development Fund. Its aim is to make energy-efficient building design the mainstream. A key strategy is the promotion of the innovative 'passivhaus' concept which can reduce energy use for heating and cooling buildings by 90 per cent. Adopting passivhaus quality as the building industry standard for both new build and refurbishment of existing buildings will also bring financial and well-being benefits for occupants.

John Helmfridsson, a passive house expert at Passivhuscentrum in Västra Götaland, Sweden, and a Build with CaRe partner, agreed: " is becoming a main competitive advantage to countries and companies investing in the issue. To not use or further develop knowledge would be hazardous, not only to the environment but to the European economy."

Explore further: US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

More information: 'Refurbishing Europe: An EU strategy for energy efficiency and climate action led by building refurbishment' by Bruce Tofield and Martin Ingham is published on Monday February 27. For more information or to download the report, visit www.buildwithcare.eu or www.lcic.com

Provided by University of East Anglia

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU backs climate change measures

Mar 05, 2008

The European Union has voted to support climate change proposals to cut emissions and increase energy efficiency.

'Distributed energy' has power to save billions

Mar 03, 2010

Wide-scale adoption of low-emission distributed energy could reduce the cost of transitioning to a low-carbon future by as much a $130 billion by 2050, according to a new report released today by CSIRO.

Recommended for you

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

11 hours ago

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

19 hours ago

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

Finalists named in Bloomberg European city contest

Apr 23, 2014

Amsterdam wants to create an online game to get unemployed young people engaged in finding jobs across Europe. Schaerbeek, Belgium, envisions using geothermal mapping to give households personalized rundowns of steps to save ...

Bloomberg invests $5M in solar-powered lamp

Apr 22, 2014

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foundation has announced a $5 million investment in an artsy-looking solar-powered lamp designed for use in off-grid populations in Africa.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Vermont moves toward labeling of GMO foods

Vermont lawmakers have passed the country's first state bill to require the labeling of genetically modified foods as such, setting up a war between the behemoth U.S. food industry and an American public that overwhelmingly ...