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EC wants EU buildings' energy use cut 14% by 2030 through renovation


Fossil fuels to be hardest hit, push to cut CO2

Mulls introducing minimum renewable energy use levels

Plans formal EU legislative proposals in 2021

  • Author
  • Siobhan Hall
  • Editor
  • Jonathan Dart
  • Commodity
  • Coal Electric Power Natural Gas

Brussels — The European Commission wants to see renovations cut EU buildings' final energy use by 14%, and their heating and cooling energy use by 18%, both by 2030 and compared with 2015, it said in its EU renovation wave strategy published Oct. 14.

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This would be in line with the EC's proposed target to cut EU CO2 emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030, which the European Parliament and national governments acting in the EU Council are still debating.

Fossil fuels accounted for 76.5% of heating energy in EU buildings in 2017, so will be most affected by such plans.

In absolute numbers, the 14% equates to a drop of 53 million mt of oil equivalent for EU final energy use in buildings to 321 million mtoe, the EC said.

For heating and cooling energy use, the drop would be 59 million mtoe to 259 million mtoe.

Buildings account for about 40% of total EU energy use, and 36% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, the EC said.

It estimates its renovation plan would cut buildings' greenhouse gas emissions by 60% from 1990 levels by 2030.

Switch from fossil

Modernizing energy use in buildings is key to decarbonizing them, exploiting local renewables potential and reducing the EU's dependence on imported fossil fuels, the EC said.

The EU's 27 national governments have to tell the EC by December how they could each decarbonize their buildings' heating and cooling systems by being more energy efficient and using more renewables and waste heat.

The EC said it is considering strengthening the EU's 2030 renewables target for heating and cooling in the updated 2018 renewable energy directive to align it with the more ambitious 55% CO2 cut proposed.

This non-binding renewables target encourages EU countries to increase the share of renewables in their heating and cooling sectors by 1.3% a year. Waste heat can be counted toward up to 40% of this sub-target.

The EC had originally proposed a binding 1%/year share increase for the 2018 update, but national governments rejected this.

The EC is also looking at requiring buildings to use at least a certain minimum level of renewables, and promoting using decarbonized gases.

It has estimated renewables and waste heat will have to account for 38%- 42% of EU energy use in buildings by 2030 to meet the 55% CO2 cut goal.

It plans to propose updated versions of the EU's renewable energy and energy efficiency directives in 2021 to support these decarbonization goals, as part of its European Green Deal strategy for the EU to be climate-neutral by 2050.