Solar Heat Europe has welcomed the European Commission’s strategy to increase the renovation rate and energy efficiency for Europe’s buildings while reinforcing renewable heat contribution in the process.
Courtesy of NREL
The European Commission launched the Renovation Wave strategy this week (Wednesday 14th October), a plan meant to retrofit more than 200 million existing buildings in Europe, while also generating economic growth and raising the well-being standards for its citizens. Private and public buildings account for 36 percent of the EU’s CO2 emissions and improving their energy efficiency is crucial for the continent to achieve its carbon neutrality goals by 2050.
The launch of the strategy was welcomed by trade association Solar Heat Europe, especially the focus given to renewable heating and cooling in the strategy. The trade association added that the solar thermal sector is ready to take action and play its part in the energy transition process for heating and cooling decarbonisation.
“The Renovation Wave strategy comes in a very timely moment considering its potential for a green recovery” said Irene di Padua, Policy Officer at Solar Heat Europe. “In this context, we are glad that the Commission is focusing on heating and cooling and planning to increase renewable heat share in buildings. An effective strategy must also include the modernisation of heating systems and promote the switch to renewables like solar thermal”.
The EU wants to at least double the pace of renovation of buildings over the coming decade, increasing the average rate of renovation, from the current 1 percent to 2 percent per year by 2030. The renovation wave of buildings, which includes insulation and change of heating equipment, implies an additional investment in the range of 90 billion euros per year and it will be financed through EU’s economic recovery programme and different support instruments, including incentives for private investments. The goal is to renovate a total of 35 million building units over the next 10 years, a move that would benefit the environment and create as many as 160 000 green jobs.
In this context, space and water heating represent 75 percent of energy consumption in European homes. Considering that buildings account for more than one-third of Europe’s emissions, it is essential to focus on decarbonising their heating and take decisive actions such as banning fossil fuels support, improving energy efficiency measures, and promote the switch to renewable heat solutions, such as solar thermal. Currently, there are over 10 million solar thermal systems operating in European households and businesses. The implementation of the Renovation Wave can lead to the doubling of the number of solar thermal systems in the next decade, helping to decarbonise the building sector and to reduce energy bills for millions of European citizens.
Additionally, the strategy mentions some key sectors as tourism and education and is aligned with the solar thermal industry pledge:
“The solar thermal sector will primarily focus on the supply of competitive solar heating and cooling solutions for priority sectors in Europe which were hit hard by the current emergency, such as health care, education, and tourism, as well as the heat supply for the industrial sector”.