Air conditioning and heat pump technologies should be vital components of the European Commission’s commitment to improve the energy efficiency of buildings across the continent.
European Cooling body EPEE said the Commission’s ‘Renovation Wave’ strategy, which focuses on ensuring affordable lighting and thermal comfort throughout Europe, would be best served by implementing a holistic approach to energy demand that also factors in lower carbon heating and cooling.
A core focus of the Renovation Wave plan will be to double work underway on buildings across the EU. This is intended to include a drastic transformation of European homes that supports a shift away from using fossil fuels, while also cutting energy needs and improving public health factors, EPEE said. The commitments mirror a UK-specific policy to support similar energy efficiency improvements in homes via a focus on subsidising insulation and heat pump installation under the recently introduced Green Homes Grant.
However, EPEE has argued that the European Commission’s plans should prioritise a holistic approach to both energy performance, as well as improved resident health that would consider heating and cooling specification as important factors
Andrea Voigt, director general of the cooling body, said it was right for the ‘Renovation Wave’ proposals to target transforming public buildings such as schools and hospitals.
She said, “These are the buildings where action can be taken quickest and the rewards to be reaped are greatest.”
“Not only can we aggregate and scale such projects at a rapid pace, but these are also the buildings where adequate Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and thermal comfort are most important for increasing productivity as well as health and well-being.”
Widespread adoption of energy storage technologies that can support greater flexibility in how vital building systems can be powered is identified by EPEE as an example of the types of transformation required in homes and public buildings across Europe.
The organisation added, “The Renovation Wave must equip our buildings with advanced heating and cooling systems that can optimise consumption, interact with smart grids, store energy and integrate renewables.”
As part of the announcement of the Renovation Wave strategy, the European Commission is also expected to review existing initiatives such as the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). This could have wider implications for building standards both in the EU and neighbouring markets such as the UK that is also committed to eliminating carbon emissions from its buildings.
EPEE said it was committed to work with policy makers in the EU to look at how these directives may be revised to better support moves to lower carbon heating and cooling, as well as delivering more integrated approaches to thermal comfort.
The comments have coincided with the cooling body’s 20 anniversary, with the organisation committing to ensure productive and comfortable environment to live and work in, as well as a more sustainable cold chain.