Impact of EU law requirements on the expected electricity demand & savings in the EU countries
As the European Commission emphasizes, “buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU”, so by improving their energy efficiency the EU countries can reduce total EU energy consumption by 5-6%. Their efforts may also result in lower CO2 emissions by about 5%. In order to meet these needs, the Commission implemented Energy Performance of Buildings Directive which assumes that all new buildings must be nearly zero energy buildings by 31 December 2020 (public buildings by 31 December 2018). Moreover, “EU countries must set minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings, for the major renovation of buildings, and for the replacement or retrofit of building elements (heating and cooling systems, roofs, walls and so on)”. The Commission also expects that energy performance certificates will be included in all advertisements for the sale or rental buildings in order to raise social awareness and promote green technologies in building construction sector. What is more, “EU governments should only purchase buildings which are highly energy efficient”. The European countries must also “draw-up long-term national building renovation strategies which can be included in their National Energy Efficiency Action Plans”.
Regarding the residential sector, the Commission stresses that “most Member States reduced energy demand in recent years by implementing energy efficiency measures targeting this sector. This helps households to achieve the same comfort level for less money”. There are still several challenges that limit opportunities for improving energy efficiency in the EU residential sector, but the negative impact of these barriers can be eliminated due to different actions aimed at raising social awareness. In the opinion of the Commission, “all Member States need to better inform stakeholders about energy efficiency options and further improve investment conditions for them to accelerate the currently very low renovation rates for the existing building stock in Europe. In addition, more focused measures are needed for consumers to address fuel poverty effectively”.
Keeping in mind the current results of the EU policy and further plans implemented by the Commission as well as the European governments, it can be expected that the energy consumption in the EU residential sector will decrease in the coming decades. In this context, the Commission prepared analysis which shows how the energy consumption will be reduced in the EU countries until 2050. The prognosis is based on several factors, among which so called share of energy costs in private income can be found. As the following figure shows, the reduction of energy consumption is expected in all EU members states, even if several EU countries noted a temporary increase in the share of energy costs in private income.
Share of energy costs in private income (2000=100%)
Source: Adapted from https://ec.europa.eu/energy
The average level of reduction of energy costs in private income is valued at 55% until 2050, but in some EU countries impact of the Directive will be particularly visible. This group consists of Denmark (60%), Ireland (61%), Sweden (64%), Estonia (68%), Lithuania (69%), Latvia (73%), Romania (75%) and Slovakia (76%). One of the most important reasons for the reduction of energy costs in private income is connected with restrictive energy policy implemented by the countries. On the other hand, some of these Member States are characterized by poor energy performance of buildings what causes high energy consumption (e.g. Romania, Latvia, Estonia). This also explains why the higher reduction level would be so significant and required.
Energy consumption of residential buildings per m2 (normal climate; 2013)
Notwithstanding the reasons for significant reduction of energy costs in private income, it seems likely that the countries mentioned above will probably implement beneficial tools aimed at reducing gap between current energy efficiency of buildings and targets included in different energy strategies. Taking into account the EC expectations towards the Member States policies, it should be expected that better and better opportunities for implementing innovative green technologies designed for improving energy efficiency in construction and renovation sector (e.g. financial incentives like soft loans, etc.) will be provided in European countries. As a result, all these factors may lead to better popularization of the PERFORMER instrumentation toolkit, especially that innovative energy management systems belong to the group of technologies which are seen as a good way of achieving energy targets established for the upcoming years.