Green homes and green jobs in sight for Romania
Buildings utilize almost 40% of energy consumption and have a direct impact on the quality of life for all Romanians, so improvements in new and existing buildings represent a tremendous opportunity to achieve economic stimulus, improve the lives of people, and achieve the full benefits of international and European climate change legislation. In particular, construction renovation can generate numerous local jobs, thus responding to growing unemployment in the construction and related sectors.
“The costs of implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy measures are minimal as they are not cash expenditures but rather investments paid back by future, continuous energy savings,” says Steven Borncamp, who heads the Romanian Green Building Council, an industry group dedicated to promoting energy and resource-efficient construction. “With proven and technologies currently available in Romania, the energy consumption in both new and old buildings can be cut by an estimated 30-50 percent without significantly increasing the upfront investment cost.”
In addition, government or private loans can be utilized to improve energy efficiency and have the benefit that the reach of existing programs can be vastly expanded without undue strain on today’s budget.
WWF and the Romanian Green Building Council have commented on draft legislation of the Romanian government that would promote energy efficiency in buildings and transpose the amended EU Energy Efficiency in Buildings Directive, which is moving toward final decision making in Brussels.
The draft legislation for the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive that is supported by the European Parliament and that has been generally welcomed by WWF and others, calls for a tightening of targets and requirements contained in the directive. According to the Parliament’s plans, all new buildings would be required to have net zero-energy consumption 2018, i.e. low energy consumption with remaining energy provided by renewable sources such as wind or thermal solar or photovoltaics mounted on the structure. Earlier targets would apply for public buildings.
“2018 is not far away”, Andreas Beckmann, director of the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme, remarked at a press conference organized by WWF and the Romanian Green Building Council in September. “Investing now in energy efficient buildings is not only a smart move to save energy, save money, save the climate and create jobs while meeting EU requirements – it is also smart strategy for positioning Romanian industry for future growth.”
Luminita Tanasie, WWF-DCP/Romania Country Manager