Published On: Tue, Jan 24th, 2023

EPPA calls for governments to incentivise energy-efficient refurbishments

Both the geopolitical and energy crises have led to even higher combined costs of Europe’s energy dependency and poor building energy performance. Buildings account for 40% of our energy consumption in the EU, most of which is used for heating and energy renovations are the only solution to durably shelter citizens and businesses from price hikes.

Efficient energy renovations must be backed by effective regulations. Solely relying on voluntary schemes has not worked so far, with only 1% of EU buildings undergoing energy renovations each year, and an annual rate of deep renovations only 0.2% in the EU. EPPA, together with other stakeholders, has therefore asked for more ambitious minimum energy performance standards under the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive  earlier this month. Furthermore, current buildings hold stock of valuable materials that should be recycled and used in the production of new building products. European PVC-U window system houses have been recycling old windows for more than 20 years and using the recycled material directly for new PVC-U window systems. Accordingly, around 200,000 tonnes of PVC recyclate per year are used in this loop “from the old profile to the new profile” throughout Europe, which corresponds to a recycling share of 25% of PVC material used in European production. These quantities can be increased on the post-consumer side, which is why we call for a massive renovation campaign.

“Consequently, in the context of the EU’s  energy-saving goals and in line with the European funding efforts to achieve the Fit for 55 goals, we call for initiating an economic stimulus programme for the energy-efficient replacement of old windows as a direct investment subsidy for building owners”, says Carsten Heuer, EPPA President.  At European level: National Recovery and Resilience Plans, the future Social Climate Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, Cohesion Fund, the Modernisation Fund and the Just Transition Fund can all support national renovation schemes. At National level: Numerous programmes have been announced in recent years to support renovation works. 

These funds and schemes must be targeted at most efficient energy-related renovation measures, such as window replacement to achieve the twofold goal: decrease CO2 emissions via decreased energy use in buildings and decrease heating costs for the end user.