Reducing energy use in buildings across the EU could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 460 million tonnes per year - i.e. more than the EU’s total commitment under the Kyoto Protocol
Our climate is changing. There is widespread agreement that we need to dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions if we are to slow the current rate of global warming.
The 2010 Toronto Summit of the G-20, the world’s premier forum for international economic development, emphasised the need to find global solutions to climate change. The IPCC says long-term targets are needed to reduce global CO2 emissions by 50-85% by 2050, compared to 2000 levels(1).
In Europe, Member States have made a commitment to meet the ‘20-20-20 ’ goal: reducing primary energy consumption by 20%; reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20%; and ensuring that 20% of our energy needs are supplied by renewable energy sources, by the year 2020.
The production, supply and consumption of energy are associated with harmful pollution and negative climatic effects and the most prevalent sources of energy are finite and non-renewable. Climate change not only presents unprecedented problems for our environment, economy and well being, it is inextricably linked with energy policy.
European leaders agree that saving energy is the most immediate and cost-effective way of addressing the key challenges of sustainable energy, security of supply and economic competitiveness.
Simply put, there has never been a better time to save energy. The smartest place to start is with the biggest consumers (and wasters) of energy: buildings are responsible for 40% of total EU energy consumption and about 36% of total CO2 emissions.
The first step in making a building climate-friendly is to reduce its energy loss. The energy performance of Europe’s building stock could be improved by a factor of 6(3). The easiest and most significant way we can reduce energy demand and related greenhouse gas emissions is by thoroughly insulating our buildings.
Given their climatic conditions, northern countries have traditionally had much higher levels of insulation thickness in walls and roofs. There is still much potential for improvements in northern Europe, but massive emission reductions can be achieved by focusing on central and southern Europe. Eurima’s study of thermal insulation standards in Europe provides detailed insight into the energy losses per country.
Mineral wool insulation has an important role to play in reducing energy demand and thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s time to act!
(1) Max. 2°– 2.4° C, 350 -400 ppm CO2; -50% - - 85% decrease in CO2 emissions. by 2050, compared to 2000. 4th IPCC Report. 2007.
(2) Source: EURIMA - A Policy Framework for Financing Deep Renovations in the EU Building Stock