The EU economy is forecasted to shrink by 7.4% this year with an uneven economic impact across the EU and the different economic sectors. The HVAC sector, which stared 2020 over expectations according to many industry representatives, was not among the most hit sectors during the crisis, although the impact of recession in the construction sector is yet to be seen. Still, as a key sector providing key equipment and services for crucial facilities, the HVAC and building sectors shall remain a strategic player in the post-covid economy and society.
This pandemic highlighted the importance of good indoor air quality and increased the awareness of “heathy buildings” among policy makers and the public. REHVA has been advocating for coupling improved indoor climate quality with increased energy performance and define minimum IEQ criteria when doing deep energy renovation. Buildings must be built for the people spending their lives in them, we need buildings that provide healthy indoor environment while being as energy efficient as possible. Well-designed and operated technical buildings systems are key to provide clean air and comfort in buildings and that can contribute to the mitigation of health risks in critical times like the current public health crisis. We look in this post at recent promising policy developments in the European Union that show a further step in this direction.
The EU Green recovery plan
The European Commission presented a Green recovery plan on 27 May to respond to the economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic and to address the shortcomings exposed by the crisis. European leaders managed to back a plan providing additional financial resources to tackle the challenge. The EC Communication titled “Europe's moment: “Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation” details a €1.85 trillion recovery plan that defines new instruments and financial sources (including €750 billion borrowed by the EU on the financial markets), linked with a revamped EU budget. How green the recovery plan will be without much green strings and binding requirements is questioned by environmental and climate NGOs. In addition, the implementation will depend much on Member State governments that will channel the Recovery and Resilience Facility. However, both the Commission and the European Parliament declared the political will to put the Green Deal at the heart of the European recovery strategy and there is good news from some EU member states. The Next Generation EU recovery plan provides a framework that can deliver a more sustainable future.
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