Energy efficiency is one of EU’s pillars in reaching climate neutrality in the EU. 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.
We should save up to 32-40% on our current heating demand towards 2050 to achieve the most cost-effective heating tran- sition. Therefore, The EU should heavily promote retrofitting of buildings in the Union. This should especially be through a focus on active renovations, which is changing or updating the equipment that controls buildings’ energy use, such as heating equipment and technologies that can actively reg- ulate and control energy use. These renovations often rep- resent immediate, impactful, and very cost-effective energy savings 6 . Hydronic balancing of buildings heating systems is such an example, where a cheap and quick method can save between 5%-20% of a building’s heating demand by securing a more efficient distribution of heating in a building 7 . Above will secure a faster and cheaper transition away from fossil fuels. The importance of current Fit-For-55 negotiations, therefore, represents an important 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:
Securing mandatory heating plans in cities over 20k inhab- itants must include the assessments of low-temperature zones, geothermal energy, and surplus 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 pumps 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 connected to the heating grid: Data centers of sufficient size (with a to- tal rated energy input exceeding 1MW) should consider be- ing connected to the heating grid to maximize waste heat. A bigger focus on digital building management, such as balancing, in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. 14% of EU’s energy efficiency targets can be reached with digital building management 8 , and this should therefore have a greater focus.
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5 https://www.renovate-europe.eu/2018/10/30/renovate-europe-infographic-2015/ 6 https://www.ea-energianalyse.dk/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Main-report_Active-Energy-Efficiency.pdf 7 Altendorfer, F, ”Statement regarding hydronic balancing”, FH Münster – University of Applied Sciences. 8 https://eubac.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/EPBD_impacts_from_building_automation_controls.pdf
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