Energy efficiency is one of the EU's pillars in reaching climate neutrality. The Energy Efficiency First Principle is the anchoring of the pillar into legisla- tion. The objective is to secure that ener- gy efficiency measures are always con- sidered based on cost-benefit analyses.

reducing our dependency on natural gas imports and getting cost-effective climate neutrality.

Securing mandatory heating plans in cities with over 20k inhabitants and their surrounding villages must include as- sessing low-temperature zones, geothermal energy, and sur- plus heat recovery. By 2025 the National building renovation plans should address heating solutions in a zonal approach, including low-temperature district heating zones in dense areas and individual heat pump zones in remote areas. Implement binding targets for member states for waste heat usage (50 % of the waste heat should be utilized in 2025 and 75 % in 2030). Implement requirements for data centers to be connect- ed to the heating grid: Data centers of sufficient size (with a total rated energy input exceeding 1MW) should consider being connected to the heating grid to maximize the use of waste heat. A bigger focus on digital building management, such as balancing, in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. 14% of the EU's energy efficiency targets can be reached with digital building management 14 , which should therefore have a greater focus.

Second, the EU should promote energy efficiency measures in buildings and industry to lower the demand for heating. Nine out of ten buildings in 2050 have already been built in Europe 11 . Therefore, retrofitting buildings with more efficient systems plays a significant role in reaching the Fit-For-55 tar- get as we should save up to 32-40% on our current heating demand towards 2050 to achieve the most cost-effective transition of heating 12 . Therefore, The EU should heavily pro- mote retrofitting of buildings in the Union. This should es- pecially be through a focus on active renovations, which is retrofitting the equipment that controls buildings' energy use, such as heating equipment and technologies that can regulate and control energy use actively. These renovations often represent immediate, impactful, cost-effective energy savings 13 . Hydronic balancing of buildings heating systems is such an example, where a cheap and quick method can save up to 20% of a building's heating demand by securing a more efficient distribution of heating in a building. The above will secure a faster and cheaper transition from fossil fuels. Therefore, the importance of current Fit-For-55 negotiations represents a critical time for Europe's future energy situation. Energy Efficiency First in Fit-For-55 To see the necessary change, we here propose how the EU should move forward with the Energy Efficiency First principle in the Fit-For-55 negotiations by:

For further information please contact: Carsten Østergaard Pedersen,

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