MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (S&D, Finland) joined Fire Safe Europe in asking EU and national policymakers to ensure the surge of energy-efficient renovations in the EU also improves fire safety.
Speaking at an event organised jointly with Fire Safe Europe and attended by 145 participants, Ms Kumpula-Natri MEP said that renovations are an opportunity to capitalise on investments by simultaneously increasing energy efficiency and fire safety. This will improve people’s well-being and safety.
MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri said: ‘Renovation is a win-win if we play the cards right: it can cut emissions, create jobs and can improve healthy and safe housing.’
Other expert speakers at the event also emphasised the need for a holistic approach to
Mr Karlis Goldstein, Member of the Cabinet with the Commissioner for Energy, Ms Kadri Simson, said: ‘Building renovation through the Renovation Wave offers a big opportunity to upgrade buildings standards both for fire safety, indoor air quality, accessibility and energy-efficiency.’
Dr Stephen Richardson, Director of the Europe Regional Network at the World Green Building Council, shared that, to be a success, ‘the Renovation Wave needs to be local, convene different stakeholders, be driven by regulations and guided by good data. Those four points are critical.’
Increasing energy-efficiency sometimes means introducing new technologies, materials or systems in a building – these present sensible benefits for building greener and to achieve a more sustainable future. Nonetheless, the potential of these solutions must be maximised by making them fire-safe. As emphasised by Dr Amaya Osacar, Chair of the Building Sustainability Advisory Panel of the European Fire Safety Community: ‘Their fire safety performance may not be well understood. So, it is very important to ensure that suitable schemes to assess the fire risk of these technologies are in place.’
It is important that efforts to maximise energy-efficiency do not impact a building’s fire performance negatively.
The efforts of Croatia to do energy-efficient and fire-safe renovation as presented by Ms Irena Križ Šelendić of the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning could be replicated: ‘[Croatia’s] Long-Term Renovation Strategy defines comprehensive renovation like a combination of optimal measures for improving the current condition of buildings and measures aimed at enhancing fire protection, ensuring a healthy indoor environment, etc.’
In 2018, the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive ensured promising improvements in EU regulation by including two articles encouraging the EU Member States to consider fire safety in buildings undergoing major renovations as well as in their long-term renovation strategies. The EU Green Deal should go even further. Its initiatives on buildings, such as the Renovation Wave or the strict implementation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, aim to make buildings more sustainable and contribute to the EU’s energy efficiency and climate objectives. The inclusion of fire safety would participate in achieving the climate objectives for 2050.
For more information, go to www.firesafeeurope.eu