The EU directive on green houses is at a standstill. The European Union is unable to find a synthesis between the different sensitivities expressed by the member states. The last round of negotiations in mid-October between the Council, Parliament and the EU Commission led to another postponement for the closure of the agreement, which remains on the high seas.

The controversial points

The points under discussion and still causing the most perplexity concern the targets and the stages by which homes are to be made more efficient. The European Parliament had approved a version of the text that envisaged more stringent rules, with the obligation to achieve energy class E by 2030 and class D by 2033 for residential buildings. The EU Council, however, proposed a more flexible approach, with minimum energy performance standards based on a ‘national trajectory’.

The Agreed Changes

Under the changes agreed so far, Member States would gain much more leeway in implementing the directive. It will be up to the various national governments to draw up plans from now until 2050 (with intermediate deadlines) with targets for reducing energy consumption. The harmonisation of energy certifications at EU level, initially planned, has been removed.

The energy efficiency of buildings is important for a number of reasons, including:

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions: buildings are responsible for about 40 per cent of final energy consumption in the EU, and about 36 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings, greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced, helping to combat climate change.

Reducing costs: inefficient buildings consume more energy, which means that homeowners and businesses have to pay more for their energy bills. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings, energy costs can be reduced, making buildings more affordable to own and operate.

Improved living comfort: energy inefficient buildings can be uncomfortable to live in, with cold temperatures in winter and hot temperatures in summer. With effective efficiency actions, living comfort can be improved, making buildings more comfortable to live in.

Increased property value: efficient buildings have a higher market value. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings, it is possible to increase the value of real estate, making it more attractive to buyers.

The Italian situation

In Italy, the building stock consists mainly of buildings constructed before 1970 and generally characterised by lower energy efficiency than buildings constructed more recently. For this reason, Italy has great potential for improving the energy efficiency of buildings. The Minister for the Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, has announced that he has mandated a group of experts to look into the green homes dossier.

The future of the directive

The new institutional appointment in Brussels to try to solve the critical points is set for December. With the European elections approaching and the European Parliament expiring, the directive risks foundering.

Cables with lower resistance: they can transport more energy with less heat loss. This can help reduce energy costs for heating and cooling buildings.

Cables with greater flexibility: can be installed more efficiently, reducing the need for cuts and splices, which can help reduce energy losses.

Cables with intelligent design: help reduce energy consumption, for example by using materials that heat up or cool down more slowly.

The cable industry is investing in new technologies to improve the energy efficiency of cables. These include fibre optic cables, which can carry more energy with less heat loss but are also more resistant to corrosion and electromagnetic interference, which can help reduce maintenance costs.

The cable industry is also actively engaged in the development of intelligent, remotely controllable cables that can identify and solve energy efficiency problems, further reducing energy consumption.

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