HOT | COOL NO. 2/2022 - "Conversion from gas - Diversity...

ENERGY EFFICIENCY SHOULD BE PRIORITIZED FIRST IN HEATING Dependenceon foreignenergy supply to theEuropeanUnion is not sustainable, not for social Europe nor the climate. The heating sector is one of themost important sectors tomake sustainable, as it is heavily dependent onnatural gas andhas a significant im- pact on the average citizens’ economy. Therefore, the Energy Efficiency First principle is very important for the future of Europe.

By Carsten Østergård Pedersen, Business Development Director Asbjørn Bjerregaard Ebbesen, Advisor, Public Affairs Rune Kaagaard Sørensen, Student Assistant

The best weapon against a growing problem Consolidation of the Energy Efficiency First principle in EU’s Fit- For-55 negotiations is becoming significantly more important as the climate, social Europe, and our energy security calls for a change in how we get our energy and how we use it. IEA ar- gues that 40% of our carbon reductions towards 2050 should come from energy-efficient solutions; however, we need to double the pace of energy-efficient solutions to stay within the Paris Agreement goals1. Energy efficiency also plays a crucial role in our energy securi- ty. Prior to the Ukraine conflict, we saw unprecedented prices on natural gas, which is the most used energy source in the European Union after oil 2 . However, experts only expect higher prices due to the current geopolitical conflict. The situation is expected to have made more than 80 million Europeans living in energy poverty, which will only get worse. However, 1% in energy savings is expected to reduce natural gas imports by 2,6%, and energy efficiency has proven to be the most impact- ful measure on lowering natural gas imports. The heating sector is the most important sector to focus on. It represents 50% of Europe’s total end-use consumption, and fossil fuels still deliver 75% of all heating within the European Union 3 . Moreover, putting energy efficiency first in the heating sector can therefore lower carbon emissions, lower import of natural gas, and lower citizens’ energy bills.

How to create energy-efficient heating To create a more energy-efficient heating sector, the EU should focus on deploying fourth-generation district heating individual heat pumps and lowering the total heat demand. Luckily, all the technologies are ready for deployment today. First, local authorities should make strategic heat plans that can secure a fast and cost-effective transition of local heat- ing towards energy-efficient solutions that run on renewable energy and surplus heat. There is a massive untapped ener- gy potential in local communities such as geothermal ener- gy and surplus heat from industries, data centers, and soon Power-to-X. Surplus heat alone is expected to deliver 25% of the future energy demand for district heating4. Strategic heat planning should incorporate that future heating needs can run at lower temperatures to lower heat losses and more efficient integration of heat pumps and more renewable en- ergy. Therefore, the deployment of fourth-generation district heating plays a significant role in reducing our dependency on natural gas import and getting cost-effective to climate neutrality. Second, the EU should promote energy efficiency measures in buildings and industry to lower heating demand. Nine out of ten buildings we have in 2050 have already been built to- day 5 . Therefore, retrofitting buildings with more efficient sys- tems plays a significant role in reaching the Fit-For-55 target.

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