For Energy Security, Europe Must Insulate

January 27, 2022

Of course, this is critical in the US as well, but the current crisis shows how efficient homes are a national security issue everywhere.

Financial Times:

As Europe enters its coldest months, business and households face gas prices that have more than quadrupled since last year. This could grind on indefinitely if European leaders do not end their dependency on fossil fuels.

The gas price crisis and mounting geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine have once again highlighted that Europe needs a secure, local supply of renewable energy and to cut down gas consumption, much of which goes on heating our homes.

Over 40 per cent of the gas the EU imports is used for heating buildings, and a third of European homes use gas for heating. Reducing energy demand through better insulated homes and accelerating the take-up of renewable heating will help put Europe’s energy dependencies on a new footing.

Before the gas price crisis — and before the pandemic and the highest inflation in decades — 50m Europeans, or one in four households, were already struggling to afford heating. Even those families not personally threatened by energy poverty were directly affected. Gas companies across Europe have folded or shut their doors to new customers. In one case in the Netherlands, 90,000 customers saw their bills suddenly double after their provider was taken over.

Brussels has already pledged a “renovation wave” as part of the EU Green Deal. Now it is time for member states to launch this in earnest. Shortly before the end of last year, the European Commission proposed new legislation to renovate the most energy-hungry buildings ahead of yet another EU leaders’ meeting that discussed the energy price crisis. There is about €1.8tn available, including €670bn from the recovery fund, a third of which is earmarked for climate action. Surveys show that people want to live in energy-efficient homes, and they are looking to their government to speed the transition to greener buildings.

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