Published: Tue, 07 April 2015
MEP for Ireland South, Seán Kelly has called for greater action to be taken at EU and national level to facilitate the renovation of the huge amount of energy inefficient buildings in Europe. Kelly, head of the Fine Gael Delegation in the European Parliament has also welcomed the recent moves by the European Commission to penalise the EU Member States who have not adequately implemented the conditions of the Energy Efficiency Directive.
Co-hosting an event in the European Parliament on Wednesday, discussing the ways in which European energy efficiency projects can be financed, the Kerry MEP said that “the extent to which we waste energy in Europe due to our buildings not being up to standard is shocking. We are getting nowhere near the full value of the energy we pay a high price for, and this is often due to lack of insulation, inefficient heating systems, and downright poor quality of much of our building stock.”
The EU’s buildings are its largest consumers of energy accounting for 40% of final consumption including almost 70% of total gas consumption. Studies have shown that 75% of the EU’s building stock is highly inefficient and Mr. Kelly is one of a growing number of MEPs pushing for energy efficiency measures and the energy renovation of buildings to be given added attention in EU energy strategies and funding programmes.
“Significant efforts are needed to help finance energy renovation projects,” stressed Kelly. “The majority of EU citizens cannot afford to renovate their homes, regardless of how much these renovations will save on energy bills in the long run. The upfront investment costs are just not feasible for the average Irish and EU citizen and so the issue of financing needs to be overcome. I call on my fellow politicians to look at what can be done to deliver a practical, workable and effective solution to this important issue, and assist EU citizens in improving the quality of their dwellings.”
Recent figures show that an increasing number of EU citizens are compromising on their own comforts to save money on their expensive heating bills. The proportion of people in Europe unable to keep their homes warm increased from 9.5% in 2010 to 10.8% in 2012. Mr. Kelly labelled these statistics as “alarming.”
“It is completely unacceptable that some European citizens have been put in a position in which they cannot afford to live in comfort. In Ireland, we consider that if more than 10% of a household’s income is spent on its energy bills, it is in a situation of energy poverty – nobody should be forced to spend this proportion of income on energy needs. A bill being too high is often a direct result of the quality of the building not being up to scratch, which necessitates the greater consumption of energy to compensate for losses. Now is the time to do something about this by developing an ambitious renovation plan for buildings to make them as energy efficient as possible”, he concluded.