Shopping centres: the renovation opportunity behind the EPBD revision
On May 29, The European Parliament’s committee on industry and energy (ITRE) met to debate on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). In particular, the discussion converted on the draft position prepared by Bent Bentsen, ITRE’s lead negotiator. The EPBD revision is part of the Clean Energy for All Europeans policy package, released end of 2016 by the European Commission, which is now going under the revision of the European Parliament and the Council.
The debate spanned through different topics, from smartness indicators to energy poverty, but while everyone agreed on the importance to speed up the renovation rate, by, for example, creating an enabling framework to promote investment in buildings and ease the massive bureaucratic processes, the discussion on electric vehicles was instead controversial. The revised EPBD, under Article 8A, requires that at least one in 10 parking spaces in shopping centres should be equipped for electro-mobility. It is agreed that charging electric vehicles should be made easier for customers, to create more incentives, but at the same time, the installation of such charging points is expensive and can therefore threaten private investments in building renovation.
June 8 will be an important milestone to know more about what will be decided, as it is the deadline to table amendments to Bentsen’s draft opinion, to be followed by the negotiations with the EU Council.
The European project CommONEnergy, aimed at re-conceptualizing shopping centres through deep retrofitting, prepared a policy paper to highlight the important role these commercial buildings could have to reach European sustainability goals if properly included in the EU Directives.
The project has examined the sub-sector of shopping centres, which is the only one with a renovation rate of about 4.4% per year. As a consequence, more than 60% of the shopping centre building stock will be upgraded by 2030, representing a unique trigger point to realise sustainable energy-savings solutions along the planned aesthetic renovations.
The policy recommendations are based on expertise and research from over 23 organisations and 3 demonstration cases and grouped under four main themes:
- Engaging stakeholders,
- Communicating the benefits of renovation,
- Promoting energy efficient technology packages, and
- Supporting the energy transition.
For example, CommONEnergy believes that e-vehicle charging stations should be supplied by an increasing share of energy from renewable energy sources. In one of the shopping centre demo cases, at the COOP Grosseto in Italy, a photovoltaic system produces energy to power the shopping centre and to charge Electric Vehicles (EVs). The use of EVs supports the European Commission’s long-term vision to guide the transformation towards a low carbon and resource efficient society, and shopping centres with EV charging stations attract more customers thanks to new services, promote sustainability and improve their image.
Building on the project’s demo cases, and giving concrete examples of the benefits coming from the renovation of shopping centres, the recommendations presented in the paper can serve as an important basis for the tabling of amendments to Bendtsen’s draft, catching the opportunity of a more ambitious revision of the EPBD and a better recognition of the strong role shopping centres can play in achieving the EU energy efficiency targets.
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