2030: Investment certainty needed to unlock the potential in buildings

2030: Investment certainty needed to unlock the potential in buildings

The Europe Regional Network is a 4,500 member strong organization, representing the interests of the sustainable buildings sector through national Green Building Councils all over Europe. We are part of a global network of over 100 Green Building Councils, and 27,000 company members.

We are writing to you as representatives of Energy & Environment Councils, ahead of your 3-4 March 2014 meetings, to underline the importance of an ambitious 2030 Climate and Energy Framework to the businesses our organization represents. We fully support the position endorsed by the European Parliament, and would strongly encourage Council members to look at how this level of ambition can be met.

A coherent set of three legally binding targets for 2030 is needed, for energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reductions and Member State renewable quotas. Legally binding targets focus minds and provide much-needed certainty to businesses and investors. Non-binding targets do not. This lesson has been learned through progress against existing legally binding greenhouse gas and renewables targets (on track) versus progress against the non-binding energy efficiency target (not on track).

Above all, energy efficiency must be at the heart of Europe’s energy strategy, to enable Europe to meet its climate and renewables objectives more rapidly. Such commitments are needed in order to increase our energy security, deliver real benefits to citizens concerned with the rising cost of energy, improve health and productivity in our buildings, and to boost jobs and sustainable business models in the construction sector. An energy efficiency target coupled with a clear sub-target aimed at realizing the building sector’s potential is a must to drive the much-needed transformation of this sector, which represents the most cost-effective climate action potential.

2030 targets must be part of a clear narrative about the EU’s long-term 2050 goals, to enable Europe’s leading companies to formulate transformational and proactive long-term strategy, rather than expending energy on reactive, short-term policy. We recognize that political commitment must be matched by the commitment of the business sector, to invest in the new business models that will help deliver real economic and energy security to Europe’s the Member States. We recognize that all stakeholders must be held to account in order to deliver the potential of a sustainable energy market, not simply governments. And, we are ready to lead our wide membership in collaborative action, to help unlock the significant potential in the buildings sector.

But the needed investment requires political certainty first, and that is what the institutions of the EU must deliver to those businesses that are poised to deliver meaningful change across our energy system.

Paul King (Chairman Europe Regional Network, Vice Chair WorldGBC, CEO UK-GBC)