Energy efficiency regulations typically address a relatively small part of the problem. They tend to be forward-looking and only set targets for new buildings. However, a substantial percentage of buildings was built prior to the oil crises of the 1970s and the rise of contemporary concerns about energy security and global warming.
New constructions account for little more than 1% of the building stock per annum. As a building may last 50-100 years or more, regulation clearly needs to targeted existing buildings as well as new ones. The substandard thermal efficiency of our homes and offices mean that, collectively, Europeans are wasting €270 billion(1) per year.
To make real progress, policymakers, from the EU, national and local levels need to show real ambition and move our existing building stock towards low energy standards. The right policy mix can successfully promote both the quantity and quality of renovation work. On average, energy performance could, at 2010 energy prices, be improved cost-optimally by around 84%, in other words, by a factor of 6(2).
The buildings with the greatest amount of energy loss were built prior to 1975. So, renovation efforts must focus on this segment of the building stock. Ecofys research indicates that 75% of the European savings potential lies in this segment of the European building stock .
(1) If oil at 70 dollars a barrel.
(2) Energy performance reductions can be classified systematically as factor 2, 4 , 6 or 10 renovations, indicating energy consumption reductions of .50%, 75%, 84% or 90%, respectively, compared to pre-renovation performance. “Factor Four“, Jens Laustsen, IEA, July 2010
Source: EURIMA: A Policy Framework for Financing Deep Renovations in the EU Building Stock