European Commission’s Renovation Wave Strategy released: cut emissions, boost recovery and reduce energy poverty – heat pumps is one of the key solutions

The European Commission recently published its Renovation Wave Strategy to improve the energy performance of buildings. The Commission aims to at least double renovation rates in the next ten years and make sure renovations lead to higher energy and resource efficiency. This will enhance the quality of life for people living in and using the buildings, reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, foster digitalisation and improve the reuse and recycling of materials. By 2030, 35 million buildings could be renovated and up to 160,000 additional green jobs created in the construction sector.

Buildings are responsible for about 40% of the EU’s energy consumption, and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions from energy. But only 1% of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year, so effective action is crucial to making Europe climate-neutral by 2050.

Thus, heating buildings is pointed out as a crucial sector in order to reach energy and climate goals. This is in line with the recent IEA report Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP). More specifically, heat pumps are amply highlighted in the ETP, as a crucial part of the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), in order to reach these goals. Sales ratios of heat pumps (as a proportion of total sales of building heating equipment) need to increase drastically in all regions of the world, if the SDS is to be reached.

With nearly 34 million Europeans unable to afford keeping their homes heated, the Renovation Wave Strategy and other public policies to promote energy efficient renovation are also a response to energy poverty, support the health and wellbeing of people and help reduce their energy bills. The Commission has also recently published a Recommendation for Member States on tackling energy poverty.

The strategy will prioritise action in three areas: decarbonisation of heating and cooling; tackling energy poverty and worst-performing buildings; and renovation of public buildings such as schools, hospitals and administrative buildings. The Commission proposes to break down existing barriers throughout the renovation chain – from the conception of a project to its funding and completion – with a set of policy measures, funding tools and technical assistance instruments.

Again drawing a parallel to the ETP, the action areas of the Strategy mentioned above are largely in line with energy-effective uses and specific points of heat pumps as outlined in the ETP, such as space heating, domestic hot water, district heating, and cooling. Thus, heat pumps are crucial for this development.

The federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air conditioning Associations (REHVA) will focus its Brussels summit 2020, held on November 3-6, to the Renovation wave, tackling key issues in the HVACR sector: how EU policies support good quality energy renovation that delivers guaranteed performances also in terms of improved indoor climate quality. REHVA aims to bring together high-level representatives of EU institution, as well as leading representatives of think thanks and NGOs, from the “practitioners” side.

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