Europe 2020 in a nutshell

Europe 2020 is the EU's growth strategy for the upcoming years, focusing up to 2020.
Taking EU Commission's words: "In a changing world, we want the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. These three mutually reinforcing priorities should help the EU and the Member States deliver high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion."

More precisely, the Union has set five ambitious objectives to be reached by 2020, which include innovation and climate/energy alike. Each Member State has adopted its own national targets in each of these areas. Concrete actions at EU and national levels underpin the strategy.

Europe 2020 & buildings

So what does these policies affect the construction field? The European Commission, within the target "Climate change and energy sustainability" and regulated by specific directives, is determined in reducing to the lowest the current imported Natural Gas, Carbon and Oil-based products Energy dependance, from such countries like Middle East and Russia. The overall goals are ambitious:

greenhouse gas emissions 20% (or even 30%, if the conditions are right) lower than 1990 registered rates -Rio Summit in 1992-,

20% of energy must be generated from renewables,

20% increase in energy efficiency.

Taking into account that up to 40 % of the European Union’s (EU) total energy consumption comes from buildings, via heating and cooling systems and DHW -the so-called active systems; In addition, the sector is expanding and so too are its energy demands. By limiting them, the EU will reduce its energy dependency and greenhouse gas emissions and advance towards its goal of cutting overall energy consumption by 20 % by 2020. That is why the reduction of Energy demands and gas emissions as well has to do directly with constructing and retrofitting buildings following a concerned energy-saving strategy.

Towards Buildings 2.0: Nearly Zero Energy Consumption

The objectives for 2020 are set out, the EU seeks to go forward, though.
Starting in 2020 the building field has a new challenge: the building stock will have to follow tight design and construction guidelines and hence become nearly Zero Energy Buildings -nZEB-. This strategy pursues to involve and concern society on the importance that issues inhabiting non-energy-wasting buildings -Passive Houses® and nZEBs-, fighting against Global warming and climate change.

The Global Carbon Project
Various forecoming scenarios depending on emissions and gas concentrations for the 21st Century. COP 21 Summit. Source: Global Carbon Project, Clean Technica
the Carbon Bath
Atmospheric gas emissions and their consequences explained in a bathtub graphic© Nigel Holmes. Fuentes: John Sterman, MIT; David Archer, University of Chicago; Global Carbon Project