Retrofitting EU public buildings would bring jobs boost, around half million jobs by 2020, and cut energy bills and improve the environment.
- cut energy bills and improve the environment.
29 January 2012
Retrofitting EU buildings would bring jobs boost
The European Union may pass a triple
whammy environment policy in the first half
of this year that would bring a rapid jobs
boost, cut energy bills and improve the
environment by one simple measure: keeping
Europe's buildings in good repair, writes
Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said
the EU Energy Efficiency Directive includes a
commitment to retrofit a certain number of
public buildings each year, improving insulation
and stopping leaks.
"We have proposed a percentage of 3 percent a year, and that's out of an employment perspective as
well," she told Reuters at the World Economic Forum at Davos.
It's estimated that improving energy efficiency alone could generate 500,000 jobs in the years up to
2020, according to Hedegaard.
"One of the few things that can create jobs very, very fast in Europe is if you actually doing
something with retrofitting pipes, retrofitting energy systems, retrofitting houses - that creates jobs
very, very quickly after you have adopted these kind of policies. There are not so many other issues
that can do that."
Better insulation for Europe's buildings would help a construction sector that "needs it very badly,"
Cutting energy use is also an important policy aim because of the twin risks of environmental
damage and reliance on expensive energy imports. The EU has put an embargo on oil imports from
Iran from July, further squeezing its supplies.
The retrofitting work would be supported by the EU budget and would help European governments
to save money in the future by cutting wasteful energy use, as well as boosting employment.
The European Parliament and EU member governments would have to back the proposal, which the
European Commission launched last autumn.
Denmark, the current holder of the European Union presidency, is determined to have the measure
in place by the time its six month term ends in June, Hedegaard said.
Action on climate - two million jobs by 2020
With Europe's economy in the doldrums because of the euro zone debt crisis and unemployment at
9.8 percent in November, politicians are desperate for ways of providing growth but unwilling or
unable to pay for a stimulus package.
"But we also have other initiatives in the climate field where all in all there is the potential of
creating 2 million new jobs up to 2020, if we get it right."
"It's a sector where they could actually have the labor in there very fast."
Companies that might benefit from a revamp of public buildings include insulation specialists
Kingspan Group and SIG Plc, as well as builders like German construction firm Hochtief.
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