Denisa Diaconu, Energy Policy Group: “We need to rethink the instruments and financial mechanisms for the renovation of buildings”
“We are preparing for the transition to the new ZEB standards. To reduce emissions and energy consumption, European policies are becoming more and more ambitious. The European Parliament has voted a new version of the directive on the energy performance of buildings, much more ambitious than the version originally proposed by the European Commission through the Fit for 55 package in 2021, and it comes with a series of changes for both new and existing buildings,” Denisa Diaconu, Head of Special Projects and Senior Researcher, Energy Policy Group said during Energy Efficiency for Sustainable Business Conference organized by The Diplomat-Bucharest.
“As of 2020 and 2021, the nZEB standard is in force, which means a building with a high energy performance, where the energy requirement is at least 30% covered by renewable sources.
This standard must be replaced by an even more ambitious one for new buildings, as was the case with nZEB, for any building that will undergo a major intervention, an in-depth renovation. And we will soon discuss the ZEB (Zero Emissions Buildings) standard. So, the focus changes from energy to emissions. And indeed, it appears from the directive that, further, it refers to the emissions from the operational phase, that is, the emissions generated by that building at the time of its operation.
The tendency will be to discuss hidden emissions at some point, at least in more advanced countries with a stock of more energy-efficient buildings, such as France, Sweden, Denmark, where this concept is already being discussed which it’s called hidden emissions, the emissions we find in building materials. Their entire manufacturing process involves a lot of energy, so it’s clear that this process generates a significant volume of emissions.
Estimates say that these hidden emissions are somewhere between 10% and 20% overall, but as a building’s energy efficiency increases, hidden emissions prevail. In France, for example, hidden emissions have a percentage of 70-80%.
Returning to the ZEB standard, one of the challenges I see – because it will be mandatory for new public buildings from 2026, and for new buildings in general from 2028 – is its transposition and implementation.
The directive must be transposed quickly, so that from 2026, respectively 2028, we can see buildings of this kind of standard. There are standards not only for new buildings, but there are also standards for existing buildings as well, and I am referring here to those renovations that target our least performing buildings.
These standards will generate that wave of renovation that the European Commission predicts as early as 2018. Besides this, another challenge is funding. I think we need to rethink the instruments and financial mechanisms we have for the renovation of buildings, so that we differentiate them according to the beneficiaries, by vulnerable categories, because we should also get out of the paradigm of sanctions and start stimulating each category separately, according to possibilities and needs, so that we all benefit from the advantages of energy efficiency measures in buildings.”
Full recording of the conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQNzpukqtgQ&t=6949