Buildings account for 40 percent of the EU’s total energy consumption. Windows are a critical element of the building envelope that determines how much energy is required for heating and cooling. Understandably, the energy savings potential of this product group are huge.
The European Commission estimates that 785PJ per year could be saved by 2030 through possible Ecodesign and energy labelling measures, roughly equivalent to the energy needed to cover 11 percent of the EU’s residential electricity consumption. Different EU policies already regulate the energy performance of buildings, but product measures targeting windows could significantly boost the uptake of more efficient windows in our buildings.
What is the European Union doing?
A preparatory study started in 2013 to identify cost-effective policy options.
Windows are one of the first products to be tackled under the EU’s Ecodesign policy process that do not directly consume energy. Other examples include taps and shower heads, heating and lighting controls. This added focus for product policy in the EU opens significant opportunities, not only regarding energy savings, but other environmental impacts as well, such as resource efficiency.
The final report recommends the use of a label on windows, which could trigger up to 7 Mtoe/year savings by 2030. It however concludes that having Ecodesign requirements, be it on energy efficiency or on resource efficiency is not the right way forward, because of the overlap with existing regulations - the Energy Performance of Building Directive, and Construction Products Regulation.
A Consultation Forum to discuss a legislative proposal took place in September 2015.
What does the Coolproducts campaign want?
- Regulations should cover a broad range of products, including rooflights and power operated windows. Ecodesign requirements could also help promote efficient solutions or at least remove the worst-performing products from the market.
- Energy labelling is a must. Consumers should be able to differentiate products by their performance and inovative industry should be rewarded for investing in more efficient design.