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Financing & Incentives

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Half of all the energy used by buildings in Europe could be saved by appropriate use of mineral wool insulation

Overcoming barriers to energy efficiency

Maintaining a comfortable indoor climate is a costly business. And not just for individual households. The collective energy needs of our residential, commercial and public buildings add up to 40% of the EU’s total energy bill.

Add in the negative environmental impact of energy use and it is easy to understand why energy policy is a key priority for Europe’s leaders .

Finding the right mix of financing and incentives is a complex task. The interests of all stakeholders - builders, building owners, building occupants and local authorities – need to be aligned. Only then can the existing barriers be overcome and the roll-out of energy efficient technologies improve.

Policy initiatives have primarily tended to target new buildings. However, the majority of our building stock was built prior to the rise of contemporary concerns about energy security and global warming.

If the true potential of energy efficient buildings is to be realised, policymakers, from the EU through to local level, have to target existing buildings and successfully encourage deep renovation.

Promoting low energy buildings

The EU Action Plan on Energy Efficiency requires the European Commission to develop a strategy to encourage the use of very low-energy buildings by 2015.

Eurima has produced a roadmap to help Europe achieve its energy goals and help households reduce their energy bills. Having first analysed all available policy instruments: regulatory (e.g. legal norms); economic (e.g. low interest loans); communicative (e.g. energy audits); and organisational (e.g. help desks), and then having examined the different barriers to achieving energy efficiency, Eurima has been able to identify specific policy packages that best fit each type of building and tenure situation (e.g. whether the building is owner-occupied, private rental, etc).

As the most wasteful consumer of energy, the building sector is naturally in the frontline of European policy efforts to improve energy performance. The updated Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD) requires that all publicly owned and new buildings be ‘nearly’ zero-energy by 2020. Encouragingly, buildings of all sizes undergoing major renovations will also have to improve their energy use and meet new efficiency targets.