European Commission’s Heating and Cooling Strategy

Published:  06 April, 2016

The Heating and Cooling Strategy is the EU's first initiative aimed at this area

The European Commission’s first Heating and Cooling Strategy was unveiled in February. Incredibly, it is the EU’s first ever initiative aimed at addressing the energy used for heating and cooling in buildings and industry.

It is not new news that buildings account for 50 per cent of CO2 emissions across Europe, and there are other schemes already in existence with the same ambitions to cut energy use and CO2 emissions.

The wheels of the EU have never been known to turn quickly.

But the strategy is now here, and for now we must address it as though we are certain that the UK will remain a part of the EU beyond the in/out referendum due to take place in June.

The Strategy wants to reduce energy leakage from buildings, maximize efficiency and boost the share of renewables used by the sector.

It has set out four actions it sees as vital to achieve this, the first of which is to make it easier to renovate buildings using renewable technologies. It mentions heat pumps by name, which should act as a further boost to a part of the renewables market already enjoying significant growth.

Indeed, the identification of heat pumps as part of a ‘toolbox’ of measures designed to facilitate the upgrade multi-occupant developments is in line with the UK’s existing desire that heat pumps form a central plank of the move to renewable heat.

Schools and hospitals are also singled out under this renovation heading, with the EU keen to see the promotion of proven energy efficiency models to these sectors, with an education piece to be done on renewable heating and cooling systems.

These are certainly sectors that could sorely do with energy sources that would lighten the load in terms of energy costs.

The Strategy is not strong on detail of how it expects Europe to implement the measures it sees as integral to a future dominated by renewable heat. But further to its renovation aims, its target to increase buildings’ share of renewables and a reuse of waste energy from industry, the fourth pillar of the plan is to get consumers and industries involved.

As with all nobly-conceived strategies, the key is in the execution of the ideas. This is where the building services industry’s brightest and best can take centre stage.

There is no one better qualified than a building services consulting engineer to articulate what a building run on renewable energy should look like, work like and, importantly, what it will cost in the long run. Laying out the options on renewable technology and the potential savings it can make will be key to this strategy’s success.

From consultant to installer, building services experts are the key to this strategy’s goals coming to fruition.

Karen Fletcher is Director of Keystone Communications.

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