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Assessment of national renovation strategies
In the framework of the Energy Efficiency Directive, the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) carried out an assessment to analyse national renovation strategies to see if countries comply with the building energy efficiency legislation. In total, 74% of the national strategies address the requirements of the Directive satisfactorily and 10 of them are considered exemplary.
Countries with the lowest compliance were Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Germany.
The JRC classifies ten strategies, such as France, Spain and the UK, as “fully compliant”.
The overall result of the analysis was very positive, taking into consideration that these were the first renovation strategy documents submitted by the Member States. The strategies will be revised by Member States in 2017, and every 3 years thereafter.
IIGCC calls for binding nZEB building targets by 2050
The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change published their position on the review of EU’s energy policies. The paper states that strong political certainty and binding targets for all buildings to be ‘nearly zero energy’ by 2050 will generate investments.
Furthermore, IIGCC also supported the proposals to make energy performance certificates mandatory for all buildings and to use in the future electronic Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) that can be updated throughout a building’s life-cycle.
IIGCC only asked for EPC that cover both design and operational performance of buildings.
Steel industry: Commission issues measures to safeguard the sector
On 16 March, the European Commission issued a Communication titled Steel: Preserving sustainable jobs and growth in Europe. In its Communication, the Commission acknowledged the importance of energy prices to the steel industry and stressed a number of existing and future plans to help avoid competitive disadvantage with non-EU countries.
The Commission stated, that Member States have agreed to continue free allocation of EU emission trading scheme allowances to 2030 in order to protect the iron and steel industries.
EU ETS system under scrutiny
Environmental NGO Sandbag published a study on the emissions trading scheme and European cement sector entitled “Cement - The Final Carbon Fatcat - How Europe’s cement sector benefits and the climate suffers from emissions trading flaws.” The report says that perverse incentives for free allocation actually lead to profits for the cement sector and increase their emissions.
CEMBUREAU, the European Cement Association denied Sandbag’s claims in a press release issued on 16 March and stated “The ever recurring mantra on overallocation ignores that the cement industry has always called for an allocation closer to production and will continue to do so.”
At the same time, the European Cement Association added that the industry “partly share the views of Sandbag such as the need for innovation funding to stimulate breakthrough technologies, a closer alignment between allocation and production in the form of a dynamic allocation and a stronger recognition of the role of alternative fuel and raw material use in emission reductions, with the inclusion of a landfill ban on recoverable and recyclable raw materials.”
Furthermore, CEMBUREAU also reacted to a possible new “four-tier system” for more targeted distribution of free allowances to the most at risk sectors. In its press release, it explains that such a system indeed would distort the market and create discrimination among sectors. It said “a tiered approach risks introducing unclear and unverifiable criteria to distinguish between sectors, and may therefore be discriminatory and open to legal challenge.”
Moreover, the industry association asks for a revision of the auctioning/free allowance of shares in order to allow the best performers to receive full free allocation.
Live from the European Union
Impact assessment of circular economy is necessary
On 29 February, during the Competitiveness Council, several ministers requested an impact assessment concerning the European Commission’s circular economy strategy. It was said, that the package must be assessed for cost effectiveness and for potential administrative burden on businesses.
The success of the circular economy package is indeed lies in its implementation and it is crucial that businesses and industry find opportunities and cost-effective solutions. It was also agreed to take into account the different stages in the transition to a circular economy among Member States.
Furthermore, the Council also discussed the importance of deepening and strengthening the EU’s Single Market.
The conclusions of the Competitiveness Council will be submitted to the Environment Council (June).
Environment Council backs new Ecodesign rules
On 4 March, at the Environmental Council, ministers expressed a strong support for product design rules ( Ecodesign) that promote durability, repairability and reusability and stated that it should be a top priority for the circular economy strategy.
Member States called on the Commission to publish the delayed Ecodesign and energy labelling work programme.
The majority of countries also welcomed the Commission’s initiative to develop quality standards for secondary raw materials.
Some countries named green public procurement as an effective instrument.
Presidency note for Environmental Council (22/02/2016)
OECD study concludes that heavy industries are slightly hurt by environmental regulations
A recent OECD study has concluded that environmental policy has only a small impact on the competitiveness of high-polluting industries.
The study looks at the trade of manufactured goods between 1995-2008 and assesses the impact of environmental controls. The study argues that businesses are less likely to spend millions of euros in pursuit of a territory with more relaxed environmental standards when probably all countries will strengthen their climate policies in the coming decades.
According to the study, globalisation, market size and market conditions, furthermore workforce quality and changes to trade tariffs were “much more likely” to hinder competitiveness than environmental policy changes.
CE Delft study on calculation of additional profits of sectors and firms from the EU ETS
The study by consultants CE Delft for NGO Carbon Market calculated the additional profits that sectors and companies have made from the EU ETS from 2008 to 2014, in addition to the costs avoided from receiving free allowances.
The study finds that some industries have done this in three ways: by selling surplus allowances; by buying cheap international offsets to comply with targets before selling free allowances on the EU market; and by passing on the “non-existent” carbon cost of free allowances to consumers.
In 2013, the European Commission found no direct evidence of leakage in the EU between 2005 and 2012.
The EU is currently working on reforms to the ETS for the period 2021-30, but the Commission has made clear that the policy of free allocation will continue for the most at-risk sectors.
The European Parliament is currently drafting its position on the Commission’s ETS reform proposals, with a first draft to be put to the environment committee in June 2016.
European Commission holds stakeholder conference on energy efficiency
On 14 March 2016, the European Commission's Directorate General for Energy organised a Stakeholders' Event on the upcoming reviews of the energy efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) (EED) and the energy performance of buildings Directive (2010/31/EU) (EPBD).
The Commission has recently finalised the evaluations of both Directives while work on the impact assessments is still ongoing.
The aim of the event was to discuss the findings of these evaluations, possible policy options and ways forward for the energy efficiency Directive - in the morning session - and for the energy performance of buildings Directive - in the afternoon session...*
*If you want to have access to the whole artcile, please contact the secretarait at email@example.com.
National Award Winners
Concrete Student Trophy 2015 – Austria
The Concrete Student Trophy has been organised in Austria. The project definition: describe a preliminary design of a barrier-free concrete bridge over the „Alte Donau“ in Vienna for pedestrians and cyclists within the framework of the proposed urban-planning development. The solutions have to include the left and the right river bank, areas for recreational activities (e.g. sports, cultural events), parking lots and traffic zones.
All the winners - Concrete Student Trophy 2015
Furthermore, candidates shall not only develop a good idea with respect to architecture, but it is also necessary to make calculations and develop building procedures, due to the main goal of the CST: architects and civil engineers must learn to work hand in hand. The students furthermore have to present detailed descriptions and models for visualisation. The sophisticated solutions presented by the students were highly appreciated by the members of the jury, consisting of architects, civil engineers, representatives of the building and cement industries as well as the municipal authorities of Vienna.
The first (€ 4000.-) prize was awarded to a team of the Vienna University of Technology, two second prizes (€ 3000.- each) went to students of the Vienna University of Technology as well as to the Technical University in Graz. In addition two teams won appreciation awards of € 1000.- each.
Winning Project: „Birnerschweb” (Dominic Mimlich, Christopher Emil Kreminger and Nikola Markunovic)
The winning team was able to convince the jury with a concept, which at first sight appears simple and pragmatic but then turns out to be smart and sophisticated. Paying much attention to details like the handrail-design which enhance the bridge‘s construction and at the same time it reduces the size of its structure. Furthermore, a pump station was also developed to run-off the rain water. They also managed to improve the traffic routes for pedestrians and cyclists and the banks of the Danube with new inviting rest areas.
Second price project: „BOU” (Kolo Fischbach, Philippe Jans and Nora Hammelmann)
„BOU” is an arch bridge with a very slender structure which is captivating. Though the jury was questioning the need of such a landmark in the surrounding of the „Alte Donau“. Reviewing the structure there’s also a lot of potential for optimization concerning the creative and the technical construction methods (e.g. building the arch with pre-cast segments instead of cast-in-place concrete).
The other second price project: „na thései“ (Jakob Gigler, Sebastian Reiter, Markus Kaindlstorfer, Maximilian Rieger)
„Na thései“ is the only project which doesn’t differentiate between the bridge and the landscape. Its concept is innovative and integral, the team created a whole new topography with seating-accommodations and interesting circulation areas. The bridge’s massive construction, its height and especially the bridge bearing were put into question by the jury. According to the jury’s opinion, it’s expedient to use the island as an abutment, but the idea should have been developed further.
15 April 2016
Notified Bodies SG 13
19 April 2016
BIBM Board meeting
21 April 2016
CEN/TC 229/WG 1
3 May 2016
BIBM Communication Commission
4 May 2016
CEN/TC 104/TG 20
10-11 May 2016
CEN/TC 104/SC 1
11-12 May 2016
10 May 2016
Fire Safe Europe Task Force
20 May 2016
24 May 2016
CPE TG CPR implementation
26-29 May 2016
6-7 June 2016
BIBM General Assembly
15-16 June 2016
NEPSI Council meeting
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