The EU should introduce strict environmental building regulations on all new housing
With some scientists predicting environmental armageddon within out lifetimes, anything that can be done to limit energy waste and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is a necessity. By ensuring that all buildings are as environmentally efficient as possible, the EU can potentially cut green house gas emissions and realise an energy saving efficiency of over 20% by 2020.
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Energy inefficient buildings are a large source of energy usage and CO2 production
In 2004 the 160 million of the EU's buildings were accountable for 40% of energy usage and 40% of carbon dioxide production. [[http://www.pilkington.com/resources/cibse_briefing.pdf]] By introducing some measures such as; introducing agreed measurements of relative energy performance, regular inspections and re-evaluations, requiring higher standards for upgrading larger buildings and improving standards for new buildings the EU could greatly reduce the amount of energy waste caused by its domestic and commercial buildings.
Beneficial for construction industry and business
A streamlined and uniformed policy on building regulations would be useful for the construction industry, business and anyone in general who wishes to try their hand at construction across the EU. This is because when building a new house, office bloc etc, the builders will not have to waste time looking into the minutiae of different countries regulations because they will already know where they stand as a result of the EU regulations.
This may be true, but it comes at the cost of diversity. Tourists from around the world marvel at European architecture styles - would you give that up just so that an architect spends 10 less minutes on the internet figuring out the architectural rules and regulations of that country?
The current directive is not strict enough
The energy performance of building directive (EPBD) sets out the goal of setting minimum requirements on energy performance. However the method of calculation of these requirements has been left to individual member states with the European commission stating on its website that 'it is the individual responsibility of each EU Member State to choose measures that corresponds best to its particular situation.' To ensure that environmental standards are met, the commission itself should determine the minimum standards that all countries need to work towards. Therefore this would ensure that some countries done set different thresholds on the minimum requirements, which would undermine the objectives of the directive.
EPBD has failed, a new directive is needed.
The EPBD has been a failed project which remains obscure with many member states behind in its implementation. According to Ursula Hartenberger of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors: 'real and perceived high costs, lack of technical skills and expertise, conflicting national measures and low public acceptance explain why 20 EU members have yet to implement the EPBD' [[http://www.euractiv.com/en/energy-efficiency/green-building-code-set-overhaul/article-175142]]
The EU needs another directive which grabs the national and international attention, possibly using the popular Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) initiative which is used in America.
The EU already has a directive designed to introduce environmental regulation
The EU published a directive on 4th January 2003 called the The European Union Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. The main aims of this directive where to:
'promote the improvement of energy performance of buildings within the Community taking into account outdoor climatic and local conditions, as well as indoor climate requirements and cost-effectiveness.' [[http://www.diag.org.uk/about/about-diag.aspx]]
Under the Kyoto agreement the EU agreed to reduce its over all Carbon Dioxide output by 330 million tonnes between 1990 & 2010. It is estimated that this directive will lead to a 45 million tonne reduction by 2010 alone. [[http://www.pilkington.com/resources/cibse_briefing.pdf]]
What do you think?