The European Council of Shopping Places (ECSP), the association representing Europe’s retail property sector, has today published its public position on the proposed revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), the EU’s flagship initiative to decarbonise the built environment. Its response comes ahead of the European Parliament’s committee vote due to take place in January 2023. A final agreement is expected before summer next year.
The European Commission has identified that buildings account for around 40% of the European Union’s total energy consumption and 36% of its GHG emissions. Consequently, the built environment plays a key role in reducing Europe’s carbon footprint. The emerging revision of the EPBD is an important part of a new EU regulatory framework to decarbonise the industry by 2050.
ECSP is supportive of the primary objective of the draft revision, which seeks to ensure that all new buildings should be carbon neutral by 2030. However, the retail property sector faces a number of challenges. While existing efforts are already well underway to implement effective and impactful energy renovation strategies, ECSP identifies five key areas to create better awareness and understanding between the EU institutions and the retail property sector to ensure the best approach to delivering Europe’s climate targets. These are:
- A market driven approach: ECSP calls for the EU to work with the sector to improve existing systems around energy renovation roadmaps rather than seeking to build or impose any new processes
- A European roadmap to 2030 and beyond: ECSP calls for the EU to work with the retail property industry to identify and develop a pan-European approach to delivering energy renovation roadmaps and a stable legal framework to attract long term investments
- Harmonised standards, guidelines and definitions: ECSP supports the harmonisation of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) standards across Europe, as well as clarification on its terminology and categorisation of different kinds of renovation and development. It also calls for the establishment of all relevant European and national databases to be made public
- Customer focused mobility solutions: ECSP asks that new sustainable mobility standards are progressive but flexible, reflecting market realities with a gradual phasing of additional electric vehicle facilities, taking disparities into account across different member states
- Access to public funds: ECSP calls on all relevant authorities to ensure comprehensive information and advice on how to access available funding and that this funding matches its ambition in reducing emissions from the sector. The political framework for greenhouse gas reduction should always be underpinned by a clear cost/benefits analysis and that energy renovations across all asset classes should be eligible for public financial support
Peter Wilhelm, Chairman of ECSP, said that: “While many in the retail property sector are focused on economic recovery following the pandemic, the reality is this new regulatory framework will soon be upon us. When it comes to buildings, 2030 is just around the corner. Under these new provisions, all new buildings across the EU will have to be carbon neutral. Whilst shopping centres are traditionally very complex environments, we need to be doing considerably more to reduce the carbon emissions from our existing assets. We hope our paper will help facilitate closer dialogue between our industry and the EU institutions to ensure our existing efforts to transition to net-zero better support the EU’s climate targets.”
Find the full position paper here.