Building Efficiency Advocacy in Europe in 2012
Adam McCarthy, Director Government and Trade Relations, Johnson Controls, Building Efficiency:
"2011 was busy for the European Institutions and member state political leaders. In addition to efforts to shore up the single currency, normal political ad institutional life continued. The efficiency of buildings continued to be high on the political agenda.
One key proposal affecting buildings, and a major focus of our advocacy efforts over the past two years, has been the Commission’s June publication of a proposal for a Directive on Energy Efficiency (EED). The Directive aims to help Europe meet its (non-binding) 2020 target of a 20 percent improvement in energy efficiency. The Commission, however, admits that the 20 percent target will not be reached without additional actions.
The Directive opts for a series of binding measures, rather than an overall binding energy saving target, which has been the cause of much controversy prior to the publication proposals.
Key measures include:
- Binding annual targets (three percent of buildings per year) for the renovation of public sector buildings
- Requirements for energy saving obligations schemes for utilities forcing them to save 1.5 percent energy use annually
- Measures to promote the use of energy saving companies (ESCOs) and energy performance contracting (EPC)
- Requirements for regular energy audits by large private sector companies; and
- Rules on the roll-out and functionality of smart meters aimed at promoting demand response across Europe
The proposals are now with the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers (member states). The two sides are very far apart on many aspects of the Directive with Parliament calling for greater ambition and a number of member states calling for the deletion of large tracts of the text. Agreement is scheduled for June, but this timescale has already slipped and will continue to do so. Optimistically, late 2012 seems a more likely date for the finalization of the Directive. Our political engagement is focused on those parts of the Directive which will promote greater efficiency in buildings and we are hopeful that many of our proposals will remain in the final text.
2012 also sees a number of new proposals which will impact our businesses. We can expect to see the publication of an Energy Efficiency Roadmap for 2050, measures to improve the water efficiency of buildings, and the finalization of plans for a voluntary Eco-Label for commercial buildings. Key for building efficiency will be the Commission’s suggestions for a renewed and extended F-Gas Regulation which we expect will propose a phase-down in the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The Commission will also start the review of the Services Directive (which aims to create a single market for services). We understand that it would like to create a High-Level Group which will examine the implementation of the Directive in a number of sectors, including facilities management. We are continuing our dialogue with the relevant parts of the Commission to understand this issue further and to ensure our voice and that of our customers is heard.
Finally, 2012 will see the continued implementation at the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) at the member state level. This should be done by the middle of the year and is being closely followed by the Commission which has announced a review of the functioning of the Directive.
Buildings, and their efficiency, will continue to play a central role in European climate change policy and we see no let-up in the pace of legislative change in this area. One key change of recent years is that the economic (investment, job growth, etc.) and energy security benefits of greater building efficiency (and overall energy efficiency) have come to the fore meaning we see greater pressure than ever before for action from a wider range of actors and stakeholders."