Could investment in insulation and energy efficiency help Europe through the energy crisis? Improving insulation across the continent is already a key part of the European Green Deal but should it be massively accelerated?

This is not just about new houses. Yes, improving insulation is about ensuring strict standards are adhered to when new buildings are constructed. However, it also involves retrofitting existing buildings in a so-called European “renovation wave”.

Over 35% of the existing building stock in Europe is over 50-years-old, and many of the buildings constructed before 1945 are largely uninsulated. The European Commission estimates these historic buildings could reduce their energy consumption by 15-20% with proper insulation. Not bad, considering that Europe’s buildings are responsible for roughly 40% of the EU’s energy consumption and 36% of its CO2 emissions.

What do our readers think? We had a comment come in from Shaun, who would like to see new, tougher EU regulations requiring all new buildings in the EU be constructed with high levels of insulation as standard. Is he right?

Next up, we had a comment from Rémi, who does not see a market-based solution to improving the rate of home insulation in Europe. Is it up to governments to step in and invest in retrofitting existing homes? Or is this a job for the private sector?

Lastly, we had a comment from Lubomir arguing that: “Maybe governments should stop meddling so much in people’s lives, lower the taxes and let people insulate their houses however and whenever they like?”

To get a response, we put all three comments to Ciarán Cuffe, Green MEP from Ireland and a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. You can see his response in the video at the top of this post here.

Should governments retrofit all houses with better insulation for free? Does the EU need tougher regulations so all new houses are well-insulated? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: BigStock – (c) ungvar
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5 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    G Dixon

    Governments should implement sweeping windfall taxation on energy companies making billions in profit. Then use this money to retrofit old housing stock with energy efficient insulation. This way tax payers would not foot the bill and the people who can least afford it will get their homes insulated and save thousands a year on heating bills. Seems simple to me. Why is it not being done???

    • avatar
      Adrian L

      Because they want you to foot the bill and not the rich.

  2. avatar
    EU-Reform Proactive

    Seriously, is that a realistic, JUST & FAIR question?

    The Dec 2019 European Green Deal document reads in part like a wish list to EU Father X-mas by those who still believe that Brussels is a magic place where miracles are produced on paper & posted to all 27 Members in a just & fair manner! Really?

    Unfortunately, the final paymaster is not governments- as suggested- but always all taxpayers from every member state. Sorry, where in this world do citizens get anything for free? Why not all emigrate to such a wonderland? Absurd!

    Any remaining bit of private freedom & unencumbered sovereignty is priceless to me- whatever any bidder promises!

  3. avatar
    Jose Quintans

    I don’t think that any government should tax citizens for anything other than large scale projects and challenges that citizens, companies and small institutions can’t tackle on their own.

    If the analysts estimate that with the right government incentives, enough of those old buildings would be upgraded, enabling future savings in energy costs and CO2 emissions, then let it be, but it would be great to see those reports.

    Energy companies won’t fear any decrease in business by the way, since the models estimate an exponential increase of energy needs, that we will struggle to meet, so we better optimize anywhere we can, starting with the issues that would yield a greater ROI.

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