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Joint letter on mandatory building standards to address high energy prices and achieve EU decarbonisation goals

Policy papers 23 Nov 2021

Soaring energy prices are threatening our economic recovery. Stepping up energy renovations, alongside with reducing the share of fossil fuels for heating and cooling, is a systemic solution to lower energy prices for consumers and is a crucial step to deliver the long-term EU decarbonisation goals for 2030 and 2050.

Through the National Recovery and Resilience Plans, the European Union is providing more than €40bn to invest in energy building renovation over the next five years. Although much more is needed, this is a good basis to kick-start sustained delivery of building renovation, strengthen and activate supply chains and respond to energy price rises. The goal is to bring multiple benefits to European citizens and businesses, in terms of quality of life, positive impact on health and well-being of occupants through indoor environmental quality, sustainable jobs creation and environment preservation.

Investment in energy renovation is a no-regrets choice.

Today, through a range of highly efficient existing technologies and at affordable costs, it is possible to significantly reduce and optimise energy needs in buildings. This translates to a direct reduction of energy bills in buildings (residential, non-residential, public or private). This is particularly important for low-to-middle income households with the goal of alleviating energy poverty. Equally important, reducing and optimising the energy consumption of our buildings accelerates the penetration of renewables which in return increases energy security and reduces dependency from gas imports.

Yet, the yearly energy renovation rate in the European Union remains well under 1% of the total building stock. A stronger regulatory framework is needed to speed up the preparedness of the entire value chain and provide visibility over needed investments in the next decades. In this context, the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and the introduction of mandatory Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) can be truly transformative.

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