Resources - posts
In these dark and uncertain economic times, we Europeans hang on to the tiniest sliver of hope. So when a silver lining appears on the energy efficiency front, let’s rejoice:
I may be an engineer by training, but I’m still tolerant. So tolerant in fact, that I can go so far as to willingly enter a room full of economists. That’s precisely where I was last month, enjoying some excellent presentations by distinguished economists on the macro-economic benefits of energy efficiency.
A few months ago, a German colleague of mine from the electricity supply division of the IEA introduced me to visitors as an expert on “that hippie thing”. I don’t know about you, but until that day I had never thought of energy efficiency as something “hippie”.
We hear all the time that one of the major barriers to an efficient building stock is the up-front investment cost and that the way to overcome this barrier is to provide incentives.
I don’t know about you, but I always have a hard time reconciling with the use of incentives to deliver what I think should be business as usual: low energy buildings.
Some would have us believe that construction regulations are new. Have you ever heard of the Code of Hammurabi? It’s the very first code of laws known in history, dating back to 1750 BC. And guess what? Building codes were already included! Six out of 282 laws regulated construction safety, including penalties for builders of non-compliant homes. Quite visionary, indeed, even if some penalties could now seem slightly stringent.
The 2016 edition of the EU Sustainable Energy Week was about empowering consumers. At the opening ceremony, Mr. Miguel Arias Cañete, the commissioner of climate and energy, made it clear that the energy transition is also about the active consumer engagement in the energy system. After centuries of relegating the energy consumer to a passive role, as simply a purchaser of (mostly) dirty energy sources, EU citizens will slowly move to a more active position by becoming energy producers: producers of energy savings and renewable energies.