The latest report by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) finds Slovakia and Hungary face a severe risk, and Bulgaria a substantial risk to become unable to heat the national building stock.
The report presents the new Building Vulnerability Indicator and offers an alternative solution to mitigating supply risks in Central and Southeastern Europe through building renovation. According to BPIE, a dedicated programme could, within 20 years, address all gas-using buildings and reduce their consumption by as much as 8.2 billion cubic metres per year or 70%.
The scheme would require an investment of up to EUR 81 billion from all countries in the region, authors said. It would lead to the reduction of energy bills of EUR 106 billion, more than offsetting the investment, according to BPIE. The benefit does not include economic advantages of reducing financial flows to third countries and the benefit of stimulating the national economy, the document notes.
Oliver Rapf, the institute’s executive director, said governments could generate domestic growth, modernize the national building infrastructure and improve living conditions. BPIE underscored its analysis considers an alternative approach to gas supply investments and instead proposes an ‘efficiency first’ solution. Reducing gas demand could considerably improve energy security and reduce the need for investments in the supply infrastructure, according to authors.
International developments over the past few years have intensified the energy challenges facing the countries in the region, BPIE noted. The interruption of Russian gas supply via Ukraine, volatile global oil prices and divergent interests of states renewed Europe’s concerns about its energy dependency, according to the findings.
Unlike supply-side solutions, which make the region more dependent on imported gas in the long term, demand-side solutions also bring a raft of other benefits – creating employment, boosting economic growth, cutting fuel poverty and improving the region’s often very poor air quality, the institute claims.