After a winter of high energy prices across Europe due to the current geopolitical situation and the timing of the C4E Forum 2023, the 4th Central and Eastern European Energy Efficiency Forum was held in Samorin, Slovakia from 23-26 May. The main topics were energy security, the reconstruction of Ukraine, and EU policy (REPowerEU and Fit for 55 packages). The Central and Eastern European Energy Efficiency Forum is a biennial community building and networking event on energy efficiency policy in Central and Eastern Europe.
Figure 1 Main topics discussed in the forum 1
1. Political leadership in times of crisis
Slovakia’s President Zuzana Čaputová shared her steadfastness on the wave of innovation, stating that “energy efficiency in buildings is one of our top priorities to reduce energy consumption and make things better.” Her Office the President will lead by example by becoming climate neutral.
Figure 2 Main topics discussed in the forum 2
2. Support Ukraine’s green and recovery reconstruction
Through the commitment to "Energy Efficiency First", as well as the European Green Deal's energy independence, security principles, and innovation principles, Anna Zamazeeva, head of Ukraine's State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (SAEE), said Ukraine would no longer depend on Russia's energy supply.
3. Is more policy required at the EU level, or is action now required?
Decarbonization and energy conservation require the joint efforts and sincere cooperation of everyone. To work, a culture that can withstand future building stock needs to be reinforced. This can only be achieved with a long-term strategy and clear goals that prioritize decarbonization and reducing the carbon footprint.
Figure 3 Main topics discussed in the forum 3
4. A new tool in the Buildings Directive: minimum energy performance standards
Roland Gladushenko organized a panel discussion on the current revision of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, highlighting the importance of successful implementation of energy certification for achieving Europe's climate goals. Implementation of MEPS will require detailed data and time. However, by improving the quality of fit-outs, creating incentives for fit-outs, and ensuring the competence of specialists, it will be a step closer to a greener and more efficient European building stock.
Figure 4 Main topics discussed in the forum 4
5. Can standardize the link between energy security and adequacy
Changes in individual behavior play a crucial role in addressing pressing global challenges. However, it must be acknowledged that relying on behavioral changes alone is not enough to have a meaningful impact. The key is to create an enabling environment that empowers individuals and supports their efforts toward sustainable development. This includes implementing the right policies, measures, and communications to promote collective understanding and commitment to the concept of energy adequacy.
Two-thirds of the 43.6 million residential buildings in Central and Eastern Europe are more than 30 years old, many of which are inefficient, leading to high energy bills, low living comfort, and high air pollution.
Leaders from the energy efficiency sector came together to sign a joint commitment to raise the profile of retrofitting across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). High energy consumption, low living comfort, severe air pollution, and fossil fuel dependence are higher than the EU average. To help address these pressing concerns, a memorandum was signed on 23 May 2023 by industry leaders in the building renovation industry, including Daikin Central Europe, Danfoss, Knauf Insulation, ROCKWOOL Group, Saint-Gobain, Signify, and VELUX. This initiative will work together and take systematic and effective steps to raise the profile of building retrofit and energy efficiency in public policy discussions across CEE countries.
Figure 5 Main topics discussed in the forum 5
6. Realize decarbonized buildings by 2050
Looking ahead to net zero emissions by 2050, it must be acknowledged that achieving the target at the national level will not be possible without addressing rural areas. Ignoring villages due to higher population densities in urban centers is an incorrect approach. Each region deserves equal attention and sustainable solutions. To facilitate this shift, tools like Pathfinder have been developed to create decarbonization models specific to each country.
Attendees described participating in the Central and Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency Forum as an enlightening experience, driving the industry's commitment to decarbonization and energy conservation. Attendees are excited to be here to forge new partnerships and implement innovative solutions in their own operations, allowing everyone to continue to effect positive change in their industries and beyond.
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