Time to get serious about energy efficiency

(EurActiv, 31 Mar 2022) Rather than focus exclusively on alternative supplies to Russian energy imports, the EU can and should push for a radical improvement in energy efficiency with bolder policies on building renovation, argues Jessica Stromback.

Jessica Stromback is the CEO of Joule Assets, a US-based company facilitating innovative financing for energy efficiency and renewables projects.

The time has come for Europe to get serious about energy efficiency. As the tragic events in Ukraine show, the EU needs to cut its dependence on imported fuels. Even before the Russian attack, soaring energy prices were hitting consumers hard with low-income families being the worst affected.

Rather than focusing exclusively on alternative fuel supplies, the EU can and should push for a radical improvement in energy efficiency. Buildings account for 40% of total energy consumption in the EU which is why increasing the rate of building renovation would deliver a major cut in energy consumption and dependence.

Strong enforcement needed

Today, multi-billion-euro asset management firms own portfolios of commercial and residential buildings across the continent. Governments set renovation targets but fail to enforce them.

This applies even to the largest asset managers who pass on the energy costs to tenants. For office buildings, the lack of enforcement will be felt in lower comfort levels and increased costs. For apartments, it means difficulties for residents to keep homes warm.

Now, as the EU and the member states are faced with one of the most critical situations on the continent since the second World War, decisive and swift actions are needed to cut the energy dependence.

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EurActiv, 31 Mar 2022: Time to get serious about energy efficiency