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In a bid to get Europe on track to meet its 2020 energy-efficiency targets, the European Commission wants some 15 million buildings to undergo green renovation .
The idea is one of the major proposals set out in a plan currently being discussed by the Commission. Other measures it is considering would boost the energy-efficiency of urban transport and electricity generation.
Under the plan, which the Commission may discuss in its October, 28 meeting, EU member states would face binding targets. EU leaders have agreed a voluntary target to improve energy-efficiency by 20% by 2020, but, on current trends, the EU will reduce energy consumption by 8.5% by 2020.
Entitled “7 measures for 2 million new EU jobs”, the paper trumpets the potential of energy-efficiency to create jobs, suggesting the green buildings plan alone would create 1.4m jobs.
This paper is a slimmed-down update of the Commission’s 2006 energy-efficiency plan, which contained 85 actions covering everything from cleaner ship hulls to inserting energy-efficiency requirements into trade treaties.
Andrew Warren (European Alliance for Companies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings, EuroACE) said the green buildings proposal contained much that is sensible, but may be too modest. “The capacity certainly exists to deliver far more,” he said.
Criticism to the plan comes from the green campaigners’ field, who claimed the plan lacks strategic direction and policy proposals. The only substantial part is the word ‘binding’, an attempt to ensure Member States will move to achieve the plan’s goals and targets.
What is yet to be clearly defined is who is going to pay for such big investments. It can hardly be thought the price for the renovation of the 15 million buildings eventually involved in the process can be levied on homeowners only. It definitely needs a heavy intervention by EU and national governments with tax exemptions, funding and all kinds of support.