Knauf Insulation's Tony Robson

UK needs a European framework for energy efficiency

Published:  01 March, 2012

LONDON: As part of a major debate in the UK Houses of Parliament yesterday, Knauf Insulation chief executive officer Tony Robson asked why the most important piece of European legislation for jobs and recovery is not getting full support from Europe's energy ministers.

Mr Robson spoke to members of the UK Houses of Parliament as part of 'Common Sense Policy in an Age of Austerity – Why the UK needs a European Framework for Energy Efficiency'.

The debate drew attention from all corners of Europe as it coincidences with the European Parliament's vote on the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).

Among a number of provisions, the law includes a call for the renovation of public buildings and the creation of obligations for energy companies to help their customers save energy and put Europe's economy back on track for recovery.

Representing both Knauf Insulation and the European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), which he chairs, Mr Robson was joined by Caroline Lucas (UK Member of Parliament) and Alan Whitehead (UK Member of Parliament) as well as the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Policy, Ed Davey.

"At Knauf Insulation we are totally behind this new law; if anything we believe it needs to go much further, particularly in supporting the renovation of the entire building stock. The Energy Efficiency Directive could be a crucial part of putting Europeans back to work and sparking recovery. This is why we can't understand why energy ministers are not totally supporting the Directive," stated Mr Robson.

The European Union is currently well behind meeting its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020. European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, stated that Europe is likely to only achieve a 9% improvement.

At the same time, EU leaders have made it clear that meeting this target is a must, given that energy-efficiency is the most cost-effective way to achieve common climate and energy goals. 

The UK is facing many challenges in reducing its energy usage, and as such the Energy Efficiency Directive is timely in helping to address the urgent need of energy-efficient upgrades for the current housing stock. With the UK Government's flagship scheme, Green Deal, launching later this year, it is essential for the UK construction industry as well as the environment that these initiatives and directives offer a drawn-up approach that effectively tackles reducing the UK's and indeed Europe's carbon emissions.

"The European Commission made a good proposal with the Energy Efficiency Directive and it looks like the European Parliament will strengthen it further. With Europe desperate for cost effective jobs and economic recovery, energy mnisters need to start backing this new law.

"With evidence from Germany that every euro of government money spent on energy-efficiency in buildings can deliver up to five euro back in taxes, ministers should not be calling for a reduction in ambition regarding energy-efficiency in buildings but should be proposing that we renovate buildings as fast and as deep as possible," Mr Robson commented.

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