"The EU's 2040 strategy needs clear and ambitious measures to speed up the decarbonisation of heating & cooling" (2024)

The EU Manifesto Interviews

In March, the Solar Impulse Foundation published its E.U Manifesto : Modernise to Thrive. The Manifesto, counting with the contribution of more than 40 stakeholders, is grounded in the steadfast belief that an efficient and resolute implementation of the Green Deal can and will come with multiple collateral benefits. Three of these stakeholders are EuroHeat & Power, European Heat Pump Association and Adrian Joyce from EuroACE. We had a chat with them to discuss the transition of the Heating & Cooling (H&C) sector and what's next for the industry.

Solar Impulse (SIF) : H&C, representing half of our energy consumption, is the elephant in the room when it comes to decarbonisation of our energy system. Why is it so difficult for Member States to decarbonise this sector? And why do we need to do so to be on track by 2040?

EuroHeat & Power: Heating and cooling demands,which heavily rely on fossil fuels, represent 80% of buildings' energyconsumption and 60% of industries' total energy needs. This reliance is thehidden driver behind the soaring energy prices that have weighed on householdsand EU businesses over the last two years. The EU's 2040 strategy needs clearand ambitious measures to speed up the decarbonisation of this sector, criticalfor achieving a two-fold benefit: reducing CO2 emissions and shielding EUcitizens from energy price volatility.

European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) : It is critical to achieve the decarbonisation of the H&C. In the residential sector, around 80% of the final energy consumption is used for space and water heating. It seems difficult for Member States to decarbonise this sector especially now in the run-up to elections because everyone has a heating system in their house, so you enter people's houses directly. It is therefore very important to debunk myths and stress the many long-term benefits of heating decarbonisation not only for society as a whole but especially for individual citizens such as better air quality, lower energy cost, less dependency on fluctuating gas prices, one system can provide heating and cooling at the same time.

Adrian Joyce (Euro ACE) : The reason that we have to decarbonise heating and cooling is that the bulk of the energy used for these purposes is still fossil fuels, as said above! But of the two, its heating that is the most urgent to tackle. This is because only about 5% (or less) of the energy used in buildings goes to cooling, even if this portion is fast growing. An overlooked tool for tackling the heating needs in buildings is the ambitious energy renovation of our building stock. What I mean is that if we reduce the energy demand for heating by reducing the losses through the fabric of buildings we eliminate the need for heating (or at least a huge part of it) and thus the need to use fossil fuels.

The role of local authorities will be key in decarbonising the H&C sector, how could/should we empower them so they can drive the decarbonisation of this decentralised sector?

EHPA : Local authorities are important to create awareness, to help citizens in making the right choice by giving advice and to take away the administrative burden. A very good example of this is via one stop shops such as the Electric Ireland Superhomes.

EuroHeat & Power : Local authorities will be key players in this transition. Larger municipalities above 45.000 inhabitants will now be required to develop heating and cooling plans. This should help accelerate the rollout of clean heat solutions such as district heating and tap into local sustainable heating and cooling sources. To effectively design and implement these plans, local authorities will require adequate human and financial resources.

The H&C sector is also a sector where efficiency gains can be important. How should we couple efficiency and decarbonisation to maximise benefits ?

EHPA : Energy efficiency and decarbonisation or renewable energy should not be seen as separate silo's anymore but should reinforce each other. A key example of that is the revised energy efficiency directive in which efficiency gains from one fossil fuel combustion technologies cannot be taken into account anymore towards energy savings. This approach should always be used and heat pumps are the perfect example of this. Not only are they 3 to 5 times more efficient than a fossil fuel boiler, they also use renewable energy (from air, ground, water or waste heat) and if the driving electricity is 100% green, you have a 100% green heating solution.

Finally, what are you expecting from the new EU institutions? What should come next in terms of EU policy?

EuroHeat & Power: A robust framework beyond 2030 is essential to accelerate the decarbonisation of heating and cooling. Targeted financial instruments are needed to de-risk and facilitate investment in renewable and recovered heat projects across residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Ensuring a fair and affordable transition is crucial: we need comprehensive building renovation strategies and fossil fuel heating replacements accessible to all citizens impacted by inflation and the economic crisis.

Adrian, EuroAce :Our main expectation from the EU Institutions is that they will oversee the complete, rapid and accurate implementation of legislation adopted under the current Commission (the Fit-for-55 Package).

EHPA: The 5 points that should be addressed in the next legislative period are described in our manifesto and can be summarised as follows: 1) set clear policy direction and targets by publishing the heat pump action plan and properly implement the FF55 package 2) make heat pumps affordable for all by among others reducing the difference between the electricity and gas bill 3) strengthen industrial leadership and skills by clearly including heat pumps in the clean transition dialogues and strengthening the competitiveness of the whole European heat pump value chain 4) unlock the full potential of large heat pumps by among others regulating industrial heat up to 200°C and waste heat recovery 5) use heat pumps' flexibility to support the energy system by valorising the flexibility from heat pumps and taking it into account in grid planning.

"The EU's 2040 strategy needs clear and ambitious measures to speed up the decarbonisation of heating & cooling" (2024)


What are the benefits of heat Decarbonisation plan? ›

The Advantages of Heat Decarbonisation Plans

They can drastically reduce carbon emissions by transitioning from fossil fuels to electrically powered heating systems and enhance energy efficiency and security by reducing reliance on imported gas and oil.

What is the EU roadmap for 2050? ›

Striving to become the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The EU aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 – an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This objective is at the heart of the European Green Deal , and is a legally binding target thanks to the European Climate Law .

What is the renewable energy directive for heating and cooling? ›

Directive (EU) 2018/2001 on the promotion of energy from renewable sources (REDII) obliges Member States to endeavour to increase the share of renewable energy in the heating and cooling sector by an indicative 1.3 percentage points annually.

What is the heating system in Europe? ›

About 40 per cent of the heating in Europe comes from building-specific boilers that burn natural gas to heat water, which is then piped into radiators in buildings. The second most important heating method is electricity, which accounts for 30 per cent.

What is a heat decarbonisation plan? ›

A Heat Decarbonisation Plan (HDP) outlines a route map for how the reliance on fossil fuelled heating systems in a building can be replaced with low carbon alternatives, such as Air Source Heat Pumps, Ground Source Heat Pumps and connectivity to District Heat Networks.

What is an example of a heat decarbonisation plan? ›

An example of a heat decarbonisation project could include the replacement of gas boilers with air source (ASHP) or ground source (GSHP) heat pumps.

What is the EU 2040 roadmap? ›

The European Commission is taking decisive steps towards achieving its ambitious climate goals, aiming to become climate-neutral by 2050. To meet this objective, the Commission proposes a 90% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 compared to 1990 levels.

What are the climate goals for the EU in 2040? ›

It recommends a 90% net greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2040 compared to 1990 levels, which is in line with recent scientific advice and the EU's commitments under the Paris Agreement.

What is the EU plan to unveil roadmap for 2040 climate target in February? ›

The European Commission has unveiled an ambitious climate target for 2040 — aiming to cut net greenhouse-gas emissions by 90% compared with 1990 levels.

What is the most sustainable heating and cooling system? ›

Heat pumps are some of the most efficient HVAC systems on the market. They move hot air from one place to another rather than combusting fuel. Since they can transfer more energy than they consume under the right conditions, they can be more than 100% energy-efficient.

What is the 14% Renewable Energy Directive? ›


The Commission's original proposal did not include a transport sub-target, which has been introduced by co-legislators in the final agreement: Member States must require fuel suppliers to supply a minimum of 14% of the energy consumed in road and rail transport by 2030 as renewable energy.

Can renewable energy be used for heating? ›

Normally heat is produced by combustion of fossil fuels, but renewable energy sources can be used to provide heat with a low or neutral contribution to CO2 emissions.

Why doesn t Europe have HVAC? ›

Many in Europe resist due to cost, concern about environmental impact and even suspicions of adverse health impacts from cold air currents, including colds, a stiff neck, or worse. Cooling systems remain rare in Nordic countries and even Germany, where temperatures can nudge above 30C for extended periods.

Why is Europe heating up faster? ›

"This (record warmth) is due to several factors, including the proportion of European land in the Arctic, which is the fastest-warming region on Earth, and to changes in atmospheric circulation that favor more frequent summer heatwaves," the ESOTC continued.

What is causing extreme heat in Europe? ›

Ocean heatwaves can affect atmospheric circulation patterns and warm the air masses above them. Scientists say climate change, primarily triggered by greenhouse gas emissions mainly from burning fossil fuels, will result in more frequent, severe and dangerous heatwaves.

Why is decarbonisation so important? ›

Greenhouse gas emissions produced by people and the resulting global temperature increase are a key cause of climate change. Through decarbonisation – the switch from fossil fuels to carbon-free and renewable energy sources – states and companies worldwide want to reduce and avoid CO₂ emissions.

Why is decarbonization important? ›

The biggest issue which decarbonisation aims to alleviate is the global warming and climate change caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Why is decarbonisation good? ›

The more we use methods of decarbonising to reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions, the more likely we are to be able to protect ourselves from the worst effects of climate change.


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