Sustainable buildings could reduce dependence on fossil fuels in the EU

As the war in Ukraine drags on, the EU is seeking to accelerate its ecological transition to drastically reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuels. The European Commission will soon propose a new legislative package aimed at increasing the use of renewable energies and energy savings, although it is still looking to use gas from other countries. It will also reduce the time required to obtain permits for renewable energy projects, which now “will not exceed one year”.

These measures underline the great urgency with which Brussels is driving green change, which is already a top global priority following the Covid-19 pandemic. Although unraveling Russia’s energy networks and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy is an extremely complex and time-consuming matter, there are, however, fruits at hand that European politicians, at EU and state level members, lobbied for rapid reductions in Russian Resources. .

The handy fruit of energy efficiency

Building efficiency is one example. In the EU, households accounted for 26% of final energy consumption in 2019, with most energy used for heating. The energy savings to be achieved through more efficient buildings, combined with temporary thermostat adjustments by consumers, as recommended by the IEA, clearly show that there is ample scope to reduce household natural gas consumption. from 32% of final energy consumption to much less.

Fortunately, the EU has recognized the CO2 reduction potential of the sector, having enshrined greater energy efficiency in buildings in various policies up to 2030, such as the Energy Efficiency in Buildings Directive.

However, progress has been painfully slow, with only 0.4-1.2% of housing upgraded each year to meet current decarbonization targets – too few to have a significant impact on carbon emissions and fuel use. fossils, especially now that the geopolitical environment is facing. . against the EU.

Southworks Experience by Miroslav Vyboh

Meanwhile, other countries already have impressive examples of hyper-efficient buildings to show off, giving a glimpse of what the future of efficient buildings could look like.

Harnessing smart technology in the form of the Internet of Things (IoT), a building in London’s Southwark district has a central sensor platform that functions as the ‘brain’ of the building, helping to monitor the environmental variables such as air quality, occupancy density and temperature, and adjusts light and energy usage accordingly.

The building, the seven-storey Southworks developed by Miroslav Vyboh’s real estate and investment firm MiddleCap, has gained tenants, having been voted the world’s “smartest building” in the People’s Choice category of the Real Estate Future Proof Awards. 2021.

Additionally, it has achieved a WiredScore Gold rating for its innovative digital connectivity and is the first building in the UK, as well as the second in the world, to achieve Platinum Smart Building certification for the way the building connects digital technology to environmental optimization.

Insights beyond fossil fuels

But Miroslav Vyboh is not the only developer betting on sustainability. Developer General Projects presented its own version of a sustainable building, characterized by “sustainable architecture” and the recycling of various materials. According to the project’s website, the building recycled around 22,000 kg of waste using bricks made from various waste materials.

In the United States, the trend towards smarter and greener buildings has been particularly pronounced in the warehouse sector, which has seen dramatic growth due to the Covid pandemic.

Today, these warehouses, unlikely as it may seem, have led the energy efficiency revolution, with owners installing solar panels on the roofs of their warehouses and improving building materials. As a result, these buildings are not only more efficient at reducing their carbon footprint, but their operating costs have also been significantly reduced.

These are all examples of how energy can be reduced in all types of buildings. The EU’s ambitions are laudable and Brussels has set the bar very high to achieve them across the bloc.

However, if the objective is to disengage from Russian resources, the Europeans must act quickly. Otherwise, energy efficiency in buildings, if not the energy transition in the broad sense, will remain a chimera subject to the whims of Russia.

By Sustainability Times. Articles in English

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