Sustainable BuildingsRetrofittingDecarbonisation, Energy Efficiency & Retrofitting Policies

Decarbonisation, Energy Efficiency & Retrofitting Policies

Karl Dickinson
Karl Dickinson
Change matters. It takes courage. As a writer - and citizen - I am inspired by stories of those who challenge the 'we've always done it this way' attitude. We can do better - it's time to listen to those who go against the grain.

There is a plethora of retrofitting policies out there, especially in Europe, that are guiding the move to a cleaner, greener energy scene. Here is a selection of rules and guidelines that are improving efficiency in our aging building stock and related energy use.

From the European Commission

European Green Deal

A major player! Part of the Energy Taxation Directive. Aims to bring EU member states in line with climate-neutral standards by 2050 by “aligning taxation of energy products and electricity with EU energy and climate policies”.

An American version is often spoken about but is not yet formalised.

Renovation Wave

The EU has set this strategy in motion to help achieve their Climate Target Plan 2030. It’s designed to bolster and accelerate energy renovations, namely by double in 10 years, in line with economic progress.

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)

This combines a couple of directives designed to promote decarbonisation of building stock, energy-saving know-how among consumers, and create an environment for investment and development.

Energy Taxation Directive (ETD)

Incentivises the shift towards renewables by taxing energy sources harmful to the environment. It seeks to remove tax exemptions on fossil fuels across all sectors, which has been holding back the phasing-out process.

Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR)

Holds each EU member state to binding targets for carbon reduction.

EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)

A cap is set on the greenhouse gases individual energy generation and industrial plants can emit. These reduce allowances further as time progresses.

Renewable Energy Directive (RED)

Supports “the development of renewable energy across all sectors of the EU economy” by stimulating investment, breaking down former barriers, driving down costs in innovation and tech, and encourages citizens and businesses to “participate in the clean energy transformation”. This includes building-based wind and solar units, of course.

Energy Efficiency Directive

In July 2021, the EU decided to implement this policy that creates even more stringent requirements for member states. This includes a further 9% reduction in energy consumption by 2030 compared to 2020 rates.

Energy Performance Contracting (EPC)

Carried out by an Energy Service Company (ESCO), which exists to offer financial services that support energy-saving measures. They are also responsible for measuring performance. The better buildings perform, the better their remuneration as per the contract.

Policies from Other Places

Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets), Great Britain

Designed to tackle fuel poverty, energy suppliers are required to actively promote opportunities for low-income households to heat their homes. Since 2018, landlords have been unable to rent our properties unless they are rated at an E-level or better. Scroll through the tabs online for plenty of detail. Part of the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation.

Policies Database – International Energy Agency, worldwide

There are plenty of policies out there. Get an overview of country-specific building-related protocol with the IEA, including approaches to retrofitting and decarbonisation.

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