The Energy Efficiency Directive was adopted in 2012 and it established a set of binding measures to help the EU save 20% of its primary energy consumption by 2020 compared to projections. As part of the Clean Energy Package, the European Commission proposed in November 2016 an update of the Directive, proposing to set a new 30% energy efficiency target for 2030. The proposed directive, which contains specific provisions that promote efficiency in heating and cooling, is being currently examined by the Parliament and the Council. As heat pumps are highly efficient technologies, they can significantly contribute to reaching EU’s energy efficiency targets. Besides large-scale applications, EHPA believes that also small-scale efficiency heating and cooling technologies can play a major role.
Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings, the total EU energy consumption could be reduced by 5-6% and CO2 emissions could be lowered by about 5%. In order to achieve these goals, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2010/31/EU) was adopted in 2010, setting some high efficiency requirements for new buildings and deep renovations. In accordance to the directive, all new buildings in 2020 should be nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEBs) and new public buildings must reach that target already in 2018. As part of the Clean Energy Package, the European Commission proposed in November 2016 a revision of the EPBD, with the goal of accelerating building renovation rates, promote the use of smart technology in buildings and with a view to decarbonising the building stock by 2050. Heat pumps can significantly contribute to the decarbonisation of the building stock, as they are amongst the most efficient devices for heating, cooling and hot water use, they fulfil the minimum energy requirements set for the building envelope and increase the energy efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial sector.
The energy label is a tool that enables consumers to make informed choices based on the energy efficiency of products. The purpose of the energy label is not only to contribute to energy savings and reducing energy bills, but also to promote innovation and investments into the production of more energy efficient products. In July 2017, the Energy Labelling Regulation was published, thus replacing the previous Directive adopted in 2010. The Regulation replaces the current scale with a standardised one of A (most efficient) to G (least efficient), which will not affect heat pumps until 2023. Moreover, in order to help consumers compare the energy efficiency of household appliances, allow for alternative ways for dealers to receive product information sheets and facilitate the monitoring of compliance, a product database consisting of a public and a compliance part will be set up and made accessible via an online portal.
The EU Ecodesign Directive adopted in 2009 provides rules for improving the environmental performance of products by setting out minimum energy efficiency mandatory requirements for specific product groups. The Directive is implemented for heating and cooling technologies through product-specific Regulations, directly applicable in all EU countries and mandatory for all heat-pump manufacturers and suppliers wishing to sell their products in the EU.
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