Applying more stringent standards to new buildings and to renovations can help the EU reduce greenhouse gas emissions and realize an energy saving potential of over 20 percent by 2020, according to research from Frost & Sullivan – European Green Buildings Market – The Implementation of the Building Directive.
Despite all efforts to date, European countries in 2006 were still wasting at least 20 percent of their energy due to inefficiency, with the European building stock contributing significantly to the problem.
The Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD), which came into force in January 2003, intends to increase awareness of energy usage in buildings. It also aims at obtaining a substantial increase in investments in energy efficiency measures.
Although there have been delays and various difficulties related to implementation, the Building Directive has a huge potential in energy conservation, according to the report. Member states should make effective use of the EPBD, which will encourage the widespread uptake of environment-friendly products, technologies and services.
Unfortunately, the Energy Performance Certificate, which is required by the Building Directive when a building is built, sold or rented, only provides information on a building’s energy efficiency, but does not require any action to be taken, according to Frost & Sullivan. The real challenge is to achieve a positive market response, which means that actions will follow the outcome of an energy audit.
“While it will take time to positively influence people and their attitude towards energy efficiency, there are several tools available to achieve this, including incentive programs and information campaigns,” states Frost & Sullivan’s Reka Szanto. “Overall, given the rising energy prices and the issues surrounding energy security, the legislation is most likely to achieve its goals in the medium to long term.”