eu.bac Lunch Debate “More cost-efficient and achievable energy savings. The role of Building Automation and Controls”

On 12 September 2017, eu.bac, together with MEP Dan Nica, organised a lunch debate on “More cost-efficient and achievable energy savings”.

The successful event, which followed a first one on the same topic held in April, took place in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, in a packed full Members’ Salon, with the participation of 8 MEPs and several policy advisors, representatives of Member States, sector associations, consultancies and academics.

The discussion, led by moderator Dr. Peter Hug, Managing Director eu.bac, started with an introduction by the host, MEP Dan Nica, Coordinator of the S&D Group in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), who welcomed all the participants and emphasized the commitment of his political group to have an ambitious review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, highlighting the great opportunities to achieve more energy savings and tackle energy poverty.

Ms. Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, EPBD Review Shadow Rapporteur for the S&D Group, summarized her work on the EPBD review and in particular she underlined the importance of raising the ambition on BACS, in order to achieve the impressive potential in terms of energy savings, CO2 reduction and to improve the health and comfort of the occupants.

In order to address the regulatory and market failures hampering the realization of this potential, the S&D group supported requirements for all large non-residential buildings to be provided with BACS functionalities, while keeping BACS as an alternative to physical inspections in large residential buildings.   

Ms. Mechthild Wörsdörfer, European Commission, Director, DG ENER-  Renewables, research and innovation, energy efficiency, illustrated three new major innovative elements of the EPBD review proposal presented by the European Commission in November:

  1. Reinforcing the use of building electronic monitoring, automation and control in order to streamline inspections;
  2. the introduction of a ‘smartness indicator’ rating the readiness of the building to adapt its operation to the needs of the occupant and of the grid, and to improve its performance”;
  3. Requirements for the infrastructure for electro-mobility.

Ms. Wörsdörfer pointed out how the European Institutions are cooperating to improve this key Directive and she also expressed some positive and negative remarks on the General Approach agreed by the Council on this file in June: while the Member States improved the text on Long-Term renovation and Smartness Indicator, they introduced worrying changes on Electro-mobility and, in particular, reintroducing “adequate advice” as a further alternative to physical inspections in Articles 14 and 15.

Mr. Benedikt Herges, Senior Energy Policy Advisor at Siemens, walked the attendants through a presentation on “Smart buildings: connected, flexible, efficient”, focusing on how BACS can deliver efficiency in non-residential buildings: energy and asset efficiency, but also space efficiency and comfort. Mr. Herges showed some impressive figures on Return of Investment achieved through BACS in Sello Shopping Mall, Finland, where the RoI achieved was 16.8%, with 133.000 € annual savings, 50% less energy consumption and 20% less CO2.

Mr. Herges concluded his presentation calling for an ambitious EPBD review setting minimum requirements for BACS functionalities in existing and new large non-residential buildings.

Mr. Krzysztof Meinicke, Comfort Controls Business Lead at Honeywell Control systems, focused on the residential perspective, showing how controls are an unmissable, essential and so far forgotten element of energy policies.

The data coming from a recent Ecofys study show that improving controls could save up to 67 billion € on citizens’ energy bills, reduce the gas imports into the EU of 13%, save 156 Mt CO2 and create 300.000 new jobs by 2030. An impressive 15% of the EU 2030 energy efficiency target could be met only by optimizing technical building systems.

Quoting the eu.bac White Paper on Room Temperature Controls, Mr. Meinicke underlined how in the residential sector the lack of incentives and regulation to drive the uptake of room temperature controls in homes is probably the biggest missed opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of EU homes. Mr. Meinicke highlighted the importance of supporting amendments to introduce requirements for individual room temperature control functionalities at European level, as a fundamental measure to reduce energy poverty, empowering occupants to achieve a healthy indoor environment while saving on energy bills.

In the second part of his presentation, Mr. Meinicke talked about the key functionalities that BACS can deliver in residential buildings. Through remote monitoring functionalities, BACS can reduce costs, improve performances and eliminate heat loss and invasive maintenance visits.

With this regard, the Commission’s proposal for the new EPBD is to replace physical inspections with BACS functionalities; nevertheless, in order to give this choice to citizens, the wording should be adequate: Member States “shall” (and not “may”) give the opportunity to choose between physical inspections and BACS functionalities.

Last but not least, Mr. Florent Marcellesi, EPBD Review Shadow Rapporteur for The Greens/EFA Group, talked about the view of The Greens Group on the EPBD Review, underlining the links between deep renovation and BACS, listing some of the amendments tabled by his group to raise the ambition of the file. Besides the importance of having more BACS in non-residential and residential buildings (the Greens are calling for minimum requirements for BACS functionalities in both), Mr. Marcellesi focused also on the ‘Human Dimension”, restating the importance of addressing issues such as the “rebound effect” and “data protection”.

In the fruitful debate that took place in the last part of the event, the representatives of BACS industries replied to the questions that were asked by the participants, making it clear how BACS are not “smart expensive technologies for rich people” but rather low capital, fast payback, cost-efficient systems that are essential to empower occupants to take control of their expenses, save energy and improve their health and comfort.

On the EPBD review, the participants agreed on the importance of avoiding re-integrating in the text “adequate advice” as an alternative to physical inspections and BACS, as this amendment will significantly water down the whole text in terms of technical building systems.

Event pictures

eu.bac presentations