European Union Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) officially came to an end. Over three days top-level speakers from the European Union, Member States and from civil society organisations discussed the priorities for energy in the years to come. It was clear that SusChem’s priorities in the areas of sustainability and efficiency in energy are shared by many of the speaker at EUSEW.
SusChem was present at a number of the over 100 events organised in Brussels alone and can report that our vision of the coming challenges is widely shared. In future society will need a more efficient and sustainable use of energy if we want to maintain our quality of life and be competitive on the world scene. And that means we have to support innovation in technologies, legislation and the market.
As explained by Paul Hodson, the Head of Unit for Energy Efficiency in DG Energy at the European Commission, we must overcome “financial, administrative and regulatory” barriers if we want to achieve our targets for energy efficiency in 2020. He was speaking at the EUSEW13 event 'Towards EU2020 and Beyond - Local and Regional Actions'. Following his stimulating keynote speech, a series of successful projects were presented: ranging from energy-savings measures for the street lighting of the city of Pula to the renovations of school heating system in some Paris district: it is now clear that the sustainable and efficient use of energy is a priority across the continent.
And chemistry has a big part to play in overcoming the challenges of energy efficiency. One of the best examples of possible SusChem contributions to this field are the cooling and heating innovative insulations for buildings presented at the recent Smart Cities Platform Stakeholders Conference in Budapest.
Aside from being voted among the top three innovations at that conference, at EUSEW events it was made clear that this type of innovation is exactly what Europe will need to achieve its targets. At the conference event on Energy Efficiency, Mr. Pascal Eveillard, president of EURIMA – the European Insulation Manufacturers Association – made clear that cost-efficient solutions which can resolve technical challenges for the renovation of buildings will be crucial in achieving the proposed energy targets. This description fits SusChem’s key innovations like a glove.
On top of this, local authorities are developing new incentive schemes to promote energy-efficient buildings and construction. Mr. Hoogelander of the Dutch NL Agency part of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs presented one such scheme that includes tax reductions calculated on expenses incurred while refurbishing buildings, bank capitalisation support for mortgages for energy-efficient houses and an additional index in the calculation of the building’s market value according to their energy savings. A similar scheme, though wider in scope, was presented by Mr Gatier of the French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing.
It is clear that SusChem, and sustainable chemistry in general, will have further opportunities to contribute solutions for the current energy dilemmas. If solutions on par with those already proposed can be made available, it will become evident that chemistry is a key area to involve in the planning of a society that can use energy sustainably and efficiently.
For more information on SusChem’s winning proposals for Key Innovation for sustainable buildings download the SusChem report.