Published: Thu, 17 February 2022
Ireland South MEP, Seán Kelly, has been appointed EPP Rapporteur for the European Parliament’s revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), a key component of the EU “Renovation Wave” and the European Green Deal.
The Directive seeks to modernise EU buildings, to make them fit for a greener and more digital society, all the while creating thousands of sustainable careers across Europe.
“There can be no doubt about it, achieving climate neutrality will depend on how we decarbonise our building stock. Decarbonisation of the entire buildings sector is vital to deliver on EU climate and energy objectives. Yet, in Europe today, 75% of buildings are not energy efficient, mostly because many of them were constructed before the current requirements were in place”, Kelly said.
“Therefore, efficient, technological and smarter buildings must be the cornerstone of Europe’s decarbonisation. About 85-95% of today’s buildings will still be in use by 2050, showing the dire need to upgrade the energy efficiency of our existing buildings”, he added.
“I want to see buildings recognised as a key contributor to the flexibility of the energy system, through energy production, storage and demand response, as well as green charging stations for electric vehicles. And so I welcome the fact that the EU plans to renovate up to 35 million buildings by 2030, while closer to home, the Irish government have committed to retrofitting 500,000 homes in the same period.” MEP Kelly highlighted.
“This renovation wave will create green jobs and help the post-Covid19 economic recovery. 17,000 workers will be needed in Ireland alone for the retrofitting of 500,000 homes by 2030 and I was delighted to see that centres of excellence for retrofit training have been recently established in the Waterford-Wexford and Laois-Offaly ETB areas, with three more in Limerick-Clare, Mayo-Sligo and Cork area, expected to open soon”, he said.
“The challenge will now be to attract enough workers into retrofitting and highlighting that this is a long-term, rewarding career for our young people. Energy refurbishment of buildings is labour-intensive, and the industry is dominated by local businesses. I would like to see ambitious renovation schemes inject much-needed stimulus into local economies.” Kelly concluded.
Sean Kelly is an EPP member of the European Parliament from Ireland. He sits on a number committees, including ITRE, and is the lead EPP lawmaker for the European Parliament’s revision on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is the main EU-level legal instrument for decarbonising Member States’ building stock and should be the driving force to increase the scale and speed of the renovation of building stock through new innovative policy measures as suggested in the Renovation Wave.