The road to reducing CO2 emissions and energy use in Europes buildings


Mandatory Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in the UK and also Display Energy Certificates (DECs), in England & Wales, for buildings were introduced to reduce energy use and reduce CO2 emissions. The intention is essentially to force awareness of energy efficiency and encourage efficient buildings through new build and retro-fitting.

The effects of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) contributing to climate change have been and continue to be widely publicised. Buildings in the UK account for a substantial part of Carbon Dioxide emissions, a major greenhouse gas (GHG) contributor.

The information video outlines the general position with climate change, greenhouse gases and Europes energy use. The video has been provided for informational purposes only.

Arriving at EPCs & DECs: The United Nations Framework Convention

Over a decade ago, the majority of world countries joined an international treaty; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC started up to consider what could be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases were inevitable.

Kyoto Protocol: A Turning Point

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force with effect from February 2005. 183 Parties of the Convention have ratified its Protocol to date. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh in 2001, and are called the Marrakesh Accords.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This amounts to an average of 5% reduction against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

Recognising that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.” The United States of America is did not sign up to the Kyoto Protocol.

What is Climate Change: Why Reduce CO2

There are three reasons the EU is interested in reducing energy use and associated CO2 emissions - Finite natural resources leading to future shortage, Energy Supply Security and the effect using fossil fuels is having on the environment.

Climate change is one of the most talked about reasons for reducing CO2 emissions. The biggest contributor to Climate Change is believed to be the increase in the greenhouse effect caused by the CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) emissions. Fossil fuels are burnt to produce energy required for everyday living and as fossil fuels are burnt, CO2 emissions are given off. The majority of scientists believe an increasing greenhouse effect is leading to increased average global temperatures and a change in the distribution of weather events.

By reducing the amount of energy through using it more efficiently and generating energy through methods minimising the use of fossil fuels (building and maintaining wind turbines involves fossil fuels) CO2 emissions can be reduced.

This video briefly explains the background to climate change and the need for reduced CO2 emissions.