We are living in transformative times. Times when we need to re-evaluate everything we know. Everything we are. Everything we want to achieve as a society. This also applies to our energy system: from the way that we produce or consume energy to the selections we make when we renovate our buildings.
The recent announcement from Europe’s leaders to make a green and digital energy transition the top priority for EU’s economic recovery should aim at making this possible. With this regard, the upcoming “Renovation Wave” initiative of the European Commission that aims to speeding up the decarbonising the EU building stock seems to be a unique opportunity to simultaneously tackle the climate crisis while delivering concrete benefits to European citizens such us cleaner air in cities, creation of jobs and improved comfort & well-being.
Quite surprisingly, the most important component of the energy consumption of buildings (80%) has been rather absent from high-level public declarations.
Heating and cooling represents 50% of all energy consumed in the EU. Heating and cooling is currently produced from fossil fuel sources in 83% of the cases. Heating and cooling is subject to – poorly advertised – specific national reporting requirements (see the “comprehensive assessments” to be submitted in December 2020). Beyond that, heating and cooling is crucial for the daily lives of citizens and business. It needs therefore to become one of EU’s “hottest” topics.
Looking at the heating and cooling solutions that can make the Renovation wave, a wave of change not only of buildings but of the overall experience of being at home; at the office; in multi-family houses; in social housing…
…the very fundamentals do probably not need to be reinvented!
After almost 200 years of existence, heat pumps offer today a variety of solutions for heating, cooling, and domestic hot water production, which are ready-to-use for the large majority of the residential and commercial building stock in Europe, as well as for industrial processes. Heat pumps use renewable thermal energy from air, water, ground or sewage water. They apply circular economy principles when recovering energy and waste heat. Heat pumps support better levels of indoor and outdoor air quality. They also help electrified buildings to act as a flexible resource for a decarbonised energy system and bring even higher benefits in combination with photovoltaic or other renewable and efficient solutions.
As 15,000 heat pumps a day will have to be installed across the EU to meet Europe’s 2030 Climate and Energy targets, a dedicated European Heat Pump Strategy is required. The Strategy should certainly address market-related aspects, notably to allow clean electricity to be in transparent competition with other energy carriers. The Strategy should also explore ways to increase the awareness on the multiple benefits of heat pumps for EU’s citizens and energy system. Asthe major challenge today is not to develop new technologies but to help deploy the mature and proven ones.
Having this in mind, the European Heat Pump Association compiled a booklet of best practice examples of heat pumps working in the renovation sector. The examples illustrate how heat pumps are successfully functioning while bringing economic, environmental and social benefits to European citizens.
Heat pumps were selected as the most preferred solution when renovating social houses in Lithuania, in warehouses in the port of Amsterdam, in eight tower blocks in London, in a smart community demonstration project in Manchester, in a 400m2 office space in Austria, in a single-family house in Italy.
All these examples prove that replacing old and inefficient heating technologies with heat pumps can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, reduce CO2 emissions, improve the indoor air quality and bring us closer to positive energy buildings.
Please take a minute to surf at the booklet.