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Joint position paper on the modernisation of old and inefficient heating and cooling systems

Policy papers 12 Jul 2021

To curb our emissions and keep temperature levels well below +1.5oC, in accordance with the EU’s Green Deal and our international obligations, the replacement and modernisation of our heating and cooling systems is vital.

In October 2020, the European Commission published its Renovation Wave Strategy, recognising the decarbonisation of heating and cooling in buildings as a priority: “modernising the heating and cooling systems of buildings is essential to decarbonise the EU building stock, to deploy local renewable energy potential and to reduce the EU’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.”

Furthermore, according to the Commission’s impact assessment for the 2030 Climate Target Plan, the residential sector would experience the highest reduction in fossil energy demand in heating and cooling. To ensure the new 2030 climate target of 55% is achieved, CO2 emissions from buildings will need to be reduced by 60% by 2030 (compared to 2015 levels)2, thus requiring immediate action.

Moreover, there is recognition that most of the existing building stock will be standing in 2050. For this challenge to be addressed, according to the Commission’s Long Term Decarbonisation Strategy, a diverse mix of energy efficient and renewable solutions will need to be deployed3. In parallel, the share of renewable energy in heating and cooling needs to be increased substantially, as foreseen in the revised Renewable Energy Directive (REDIII).

Finally, although the latest reports from the European Environment Agency (EEA) show that air quality is improving in Europe, more still needs to be done to enhance the current situation. If the EU is to align its air-quality objectives with the WHO air pollution limits it will be imperative to modernise Europe’s heating and cooling stock.

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