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I S S U E S E V E N

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

www.horizon2020projects.com

176

S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y

operation of the built environment while

sustaining local economies across the EU’s

member states through job creation and skills

enhancement, driven by the vast majority of

SMEs active in the value chain.

The commitment of the sector to improved

efficiency has been translated into the Public

Private Partnership (PPP) on Energy-efficient

Buildings (EeB) with the European Commission.

This joint initiative aims to promote research

and innovation on new methods and

technologies to reduce the energy footprint and

CO

2

emissions related to new and retrofitted

buildings across Europe. The PPP EeB was set

up under the Seventh Framework Programme

and continued as a contractual public private

partnership (cPPP), signed by the Commission

and industry in December 2013 in the

framework of the Horizon 2020 programme.

‘Taking an integrated approach to create

synergies, working together to co-ordinate

efforts and deliver results, ensuring more

effective links between research and industry

and thereby bringing new technologies to the

market in the EU’ are some of the ambitions of

E

nergy efficiency in buildings is a crucial challenge. The

construction sector is fully aware of its huge responsibility today,

since the stock of existing buildings still represents the highest

amount of energy consumed in the EU (about 40%) and is the main

contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (about 36% of the EU’s

total CO

2

emissions). Indeed, if new buildings constructed today are very

energy efficient thanks to new technologies and systems which can lead

to near zero energy buildings, or even to buildings which can produce

more energy than they consume, and if these new types of buildings are

more and more widely implemented in Europe in line with evolving

regulation, then tackling the refurbishment of existing buildings (including

historic ones) is highly critical and should be a top priority in order to fulfil

the decarbonisation goal of the European economy. However, it is

expected that, by 2050, about half of the existing building stock built in

2010 will still be operational.

Recognised by the Energy Union strategy

Under the European Commission’s recent Energy Union strategy, a

number of key aims are communicated, including ensuring greater

energy security, sustainability and competitiveness, and energy efficiency.

The building sector is clearly in a position to play a major role in the

moderation of energy demand, while increased energy efficiency in the

building sector is one important facet of efforts. The plan for an Energy

Union states: ‘As a global leader in energy efficiency technology, this

should be a driver for exports and growth and jobs in the EU.’

Moreover, in the ‘Research, Innovation and Competitiveness’ dimension,

the strategy proposes to develop two core priorities (out of four) in which

energy efficient buildings are clearly targeted. These are:

n

‘Facilitating the participation of consumers in the energy transition

through smart grids, smart home appliances, smart cities, and home

automation systems’; and

n

‘Efficient energy systems and harnessing technology to make the

building stock energy neutral’.

The construction sector is fully committed

In line with Horizon 2020’s strategic targets, the vision for the

construction industry is to drive the creation of a high-tech building

industry which turns energy efficiency into a sustainable business.

Connecting the construction industry to other built environment system

suppliers and stakeholders would be the decisive step for Europe to reach

its economic, social and environmental goals, contributing to the objective

of the Innovation Union. By creating and fostering a research-driven

paradigm shift, EU companies have the potential to become more and

more competitive on a global level in the design, construction and

Energy efficient innovations

With it now acknowledged that Europe needs more efficient buildings,

Luc Bourdeau,

of ECTP-E2BA, writes on the practical

developments taking place

Luc Bourdeau

The construction

sector continues to

push for improved

sustainability