Press Release: Industry teams up to boost building renovation and energy efficiency in CEE
Šamorín, 23rd of May 2023
Two thirds of the 43,6 million dwellings in single- and multi-family houses in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries are older than 30 years (built before 1989, according to EU Building Stock Observatory) and are to a great extent inefficient. Citizens and societies suffer from high energy bills, low living comfort, severe air pollution and fossil fuel dependency above EU average. To help address these pressing concerns, industry leaders in the building renovation sector DAIKIN, DANFOSS, KNAUF INSULATION, ROCKWOOL, SAINT-GOBAIN, SIGNIFY and VELUX signed a memorandum at the Central and Eastern European Energy Efficiency Forum (C4E Forum) in Slovakia yesterday evening. They commit to work together and take systematic and effective steps to raise the profile of building retrofit and energy efficiency in public policy discussions across CEE countries.
The companies’ CEE footprint counts more than 42 thousand employees and 100 production plants. They intend to focus on more systematic and effective engagement in national public policy debates and on making building renovation their priority topic. Citizens and institutions need national governments to adopt public policies to help them overcome number of barriers to renovating their buildings and contributing to the common good of clean air, public health, energy security and decarbonization.
Building renovation can provide healthier, more efficient and cheaper-to-run buildings as well as cleaner air and improved energy security of CEE countries. Moreover, retrofitting buildings provides already today hundreds of thousands of jobs in the CEE region.
Industry supports these claims by expert studies: Insulating residential buildings alone can save on average 44 % of end use energy and 46 % of natural gas according to Buildings Performance Institute Europe. EuroWindoor identified that replacing windows can result in potential additional energy savings of up to 15% of total heating needs. Healthy Homes Barometer 2022 showed that one in three Europeans are affected by at least one indoor climate hazard, such as damp and mold, darkness, cold or excess noise. Heat pumps have the potential to avoid over 600 million tons CO2 emissions in the European building stock, according to EPEE HFC Outlook model prepared by Gluckman Consulting. Ecofys calculated that technical building systems, which include metering, temperature regulation and balancing of heating, cooling and hot water installations, have the potential to generate energy savings up to 30%. Finally, switching all the light points to connected LEDs could reduce annual emissions by 19 million tones CO2 and energy costs by €16.4 billion in the CEE countries, as outlined by the Green Switch conversion model.
The regional business leaders are committed to raising the profile of building renovation and energy efficiency by providing the necessary personal and financial resources to establish and maintain national associations equipped with the expertise to engage in public debates effectively.
The companies also aim to leverage their expertise and knowledge by inviting other businesses, non-governmental, academic, and public institutions to collaborate and support national and regional initiatives that advocate for building renovation and energy efficiency. The cooperation will focus on energy efficiency policies, renovation programs and other related aspects in CEE countries, including Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and others.
Quotations of memorandum signatories:
DAIKIN, Tanja Banay, General Manager Strategic Business Unit Commercial CEE:
“Accelerating the growth of heat pumps is essential to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Any type of heat pump provides significant benefits in terms of energy efficiency and CO2 emissions reduction compared to a gas boiler. To achieve a decarbonized building stock in the European Union by 2050, a broad range of heat pumps will be necessary, including affordable air-to-air models, particularly in Central-Eastern-European countries.”
DANFOSS, Adam Jedrzejczak, East Europe Regional President:
“We observe a one-sided approach focusing solely on the supply of energy, not enough on demand. If we don’t curb our demand for energy, the build-out of renewables will not be even near sufficient. We simply will not have enough green energy to meet the demands of a growing population. The technology is available, and energy efficiency solutions can be used today across all sectors, in particular in the building sector. If we don’t act now to address the growing demand for energy it will be extremely difficult and more expensive to meet the Paris Agreement goal of staying below 1.5 degrees warming.”
KNAUF INSULATION, Radek Bedrna, Managing Director, Eastern Europe and Middle East:
“CEE is home to 5 out of 7 EU countries with the highest gas saving potential coming from insulating residential buildings. More than 50 % of gas can be saved in Romania, Bulgaria, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary. Building owners need stable, long term and motivating government programs to boost renovation.”
ROCKWOOL, Andrzej Kielar, Managing Director, Central and Eastern Europe:
“We all need less energy. Most buildings in CEE countries do not meet any energy efficiency standards. There is no other way to change this than through massive thermal modernization of buildings. We cannot expect a miracle to happen, only a consistent action plan in all countries and effective, long-term financial support programs supporting it have to be taken into action. Then we will improve the living standards of the CEE citizens and the whole countries, reduce energy poverty, take care of the climate, economic development and energy security. There are so many positive and obvious results, and yet there are still too many barriers to thermal modernization.”
SAINT-GOBAIN, Tomáš Rosák, CEO, Eastern Europe:
“Buildings and their construction represent nearly 40% of CO2 emissions and 35% of the waste is produced by construction industry in EU. SAINT-GOBAIN shows that it is possible to change it by investing into the projects and technologies which decrease impact of our operations, developing innovative solutions which contribute to the energy efficiency of the buildings, introducing new technologies for recycling and replacing basic raw materials with recycled ones.”
SIGNIFY, Eran Görgen, CEO, Europe East:
“While the energy transition accelerates and we aim to electrify transport and home heating, efforts to reduce our existing electricity consumption should be a priority. Lighting is one of the areas where we can significantly improve energy efficiency with relatively little cost and effort, without sacrificing safe and well-lit urban spaces. Energy-saving LED lighting significantly reduces operating costs, is widely available, lasts longer, and is more environmentally friendly than its traditional conventional counterpart.”
VELUX, Krisztián Mészáros, Senior Vice President, CEE Region:
“Latest studies show that fifty million European households live in energy poverty and one in three Europeans are affected by at least one indoor climate hazard, such as damp and mould, darkness, cold or excess noise. Furthermore, we still face to climate and energy crises and therefore, there is an urgent need for sustainable and affordable buildings for people to thrive at work, at school and at home. It is not only about the governments but also the private companies have to be part of the solutions. We all need to change the way we look at buildings today – moving beyond energy performance, to climate, environment and health.”
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