Will “Winter Package” spark spending on renovation or leave investors cold?
- FIEC hopes long anticipated energy package will ignite growth in construction
“We hope the “Winter Energy Union Package” will facilitate deep renovation in the private residential market as well as the relatively easy wins offered by retrofitting public buildings” says Kjetil Tonning, FIEC Vice President. “We will be looking closely at the smart financing measures proposed and we hope that the recommendations of the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group have been taken into account.” Also important for FIEC is the extent that any financial support is to be linked to Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), the quality of which has been inconsistent to date, meaning that any proposal to assess energy savings achieved by comparing EPCs before and after renovation might be premature.
- Digitalisation of systems and processes for efficiency gains
For FIEC, an important proposal in the package concerns the revision of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (EPBD). The technical aspects of this proposal will create a new generation of intelligent buildings, the energy consumption and production of which will be managed by smart systems. As well as the focus on energy saving, FIEC hopes to see specific references to BIM. “Recent hints from the Commission suggest that we can expect something on the digitalisation of construction processes” says Tonning. “Provided that any digital agenda for construction allows the industry to take the lead, by proposing its innovative technical solutions to achieve broad modernisation and efficiency objectives, we would be very enthusiastic” he continues.
In the end though, the package should also address energy savings in existing buildings. The right measures could reassure investors and help owners to embark on renovation projects, leading to almost 1 million new jobs by 2030, according to Commissioner Bieńkowska in her recent speech at the European Policy Centre  .
FIEC is working with its Member Federations to assess the implications of the Winter Energy Union/Clean Energy Package, in particular the Ecodesign measures, which were not expected and if extended to construction products in general, are not likely to be welcomed by FIEC. In the meantime, Kjetil Tonning is under no illusion regarding the challenge of firing up investors and owners. “New nearly zero energy buildings are old news. Making existing buildings more energy efficient is entirely within our competence now, but convincing cash-strapped owners, landlords and public authorities to invest in the ambitious, often slow-yielding improvements required is another challenge altogether, one that we hope has been addressed by this package.”
 European Policy Centre Event Report S087/16, 22.11.2016