The European Commission has outlined proposals to improve energy security across the bloc. A renewed focus on heating and cooling – which accounts for half of all energy use – could deliver the most significant outcomes.
The proposed Heating and Cooling strategy focuses on removing barriers to decarbonisation in buildings and industry. Across the EU, natural gas is used for around half of heating and cooling requirements. Add coal and heating oil into the mix and the result is almost three quarters of heat and cooling energy is fossil fuel-driven. Renewable energy makes up around 18% and Commission wants to increase its share.
One of the main goals is to increase use of waste heat from industrial processes and the Commission is keen to enable industry and end-users to make better use of waste heat and more efficient heating technologies.
Perhaps it will amend the Renewable Energy Directive, which currently classifies some uses of waste heat as non-renewable. A heat pump, for example, would be far more efficient if it was placed facing a cooling system that was dumping waste heat into the environment. However, under the Directive, that approach is classified as non-renewable. That creates perverse incentives and wastes an opportunity to make heat and power more efficient. The Commission estimates that the amount of heat produced from industrial processes could heat all of the residential and tertiary buildings in Europe.
To address the problem, the Commission proposes legislative reviews of the Energy Efficiency Directive, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Smart Financing for Smart Buildings Initiative in 2016. It has also outlined plans to developing a toolbox to facilitate renovation in multi-apartment buildings; to promote proven energy efficiency models for publicly owned educational buildings and hospitals and; deliver improved training for building professionals.
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