The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has expressed concern to the secretary of state for energy and climate change over the coalition government's inconsistent position on the draft European Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), the directive designed to ensure the European Union meets its 20% energy savings target by 2020.
The coalition is currently opposing both a 20% binding target and nearly all the other significant measures in the EED – while at the same time the secretary of state for energy and climate change said in his debut speech energy efficiency must be 'right at the heart of everything we do'.
RIBA Head of External Affairs, Anna Scott-Marshall said:
'The UK is in a great position to take advantage of a strong EED given how our energy efficiency policy is progressing. It will help ensure we create new green jobs and growth by eliminating our current inefficient use of energy. Importantly this would also reduce carbon emissions and save UK households and businesses money at a time of rising energy costs. The secretary of state has already outlined his ambition for this policy arena.
However, the coalition government's current position on the EED is confusing and causing us some concern. In particular, the coalition appears to be pushing for an unambitious target on public buildings renovations. This does not help lead the market for energy efficiency renovations, and leaves a large energy bill for the taxpayer. This position does nothing to foster confidence amongst those in the UK's growing green buildings sector, including architects and other businesses. It also stands contrary to the coalition's claims to be the greenest government ever. We need a sensible roadmap to improving the efficiency of our building stock.'
In a letter to Ed Davey, the RIBA along with other prominent UK business organisations and civil society groups, called on the secretary of state to pursue a more ambitious line during forthcoming EED negotiations including:
- supporting a binding 20% energy savings target
- agreeing to the allocation of individual national targets and a trajectory for each Member State
- ensuring that the 1.5% annual savings target in Article 6 is clearly defined as a cumulative target
- opposing efforts by some Member States to credit early actions; towards new targets
- supporting the proposal by the European Parliament for national financing facilities
- backing ambitious renovation targets for all public buildings.