The EU is building an Energy Union for a new energy system, and “energy efficiency first” is one Leitmotiv for all the good reasons. The current review of EU efficiency legislation needs to bring it to the ground, even if current headlines belong to Brexit, Syria, refugees.
In my view the review should think systems and link dots. Then it will contribute to finding answers for some tough challenges for the Energy Union: i) affordable and healthy housing for all, ii) integration of buildings into the wider energy system, iii) de-risking energy efficiency investments. The common denominator: using the full potential of BAC to get well-functioning systems in buildings and beyond is sine-qua-non for success.
How do we get there in practice? I think one key is to be clear what concrete products, functionalities and services are contained in the terms “BAC” and “smart buildings”. Perhaps BAC was a bit lost in the translation of technology into politics… So what can BAC do for the Energy Union? And what can policy do to leverage the benefits of BAC?
First, for me BAC stands for controls that empower citizens to control energy expenses. This is the first step for renovating buildings in the longer term towards near zero energy buildings. As an example for the heating systems, hundreds of millions of radiators equipped with purely manual controls, squandering energy and money, are a striking example that we have huge opportunities to reduce our energy bills and energy imports. New legislation should support that every radiator gets its thermostat now, saving billions of Euros and helping 50 Mio EU citizens threatened by energy poverty.
Second, for me BAC stands for management systems that monitor and optimize energy performance and comfort & productivity in real time, and link buildings into the wider energy system. They close the gap between expected and actual energy consumption, and maintain performance over time – a crucial factor for de-risking investments into energy efficiency. New legislation should recognize the benefits – energy savings, volatile renewable electricity integration to mention just two – and support technology progress to give the market regulatory certainty.
The Commission will present proposals for new efficiency legislation soon, and European Parliament and Council will then take a decision. The result will be decisive for the energy transition in buildings. I am looking forward to a constructive and lively cooperation across eu.bac in support of a successful outcome!
Stephan Kolb, EPBD leader, eu.bac`s Advocacy Panel
Head of Industry Affairs, Danfoss A/S, EU liaison office