Page 64 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2017 publication
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64  Summer 2017 European Energy Innovation


The keys to decarbonising

Europe’s heating and cooling

By Thomas Nowak, Secretary-General of the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA)

5 factors are holding back the             ice and quickly moved to electricity,   working system – out of sight, out of
energy transition to a zero                using the refrigerant cycle. Important  mind. On commercial levels and in
emissions Europe by 2050,                  in everybody’s daily lives, heating     industrial processes, the same applies
writes Thomas Nowak.                       and cooling technology is hidden in     on a much larger scale. Functionality
                                           basements and on rooftops connected     and reliability have too often been
The way we use energy in our               via pipes and tubes to radiators, floor  prioritized over innovation: why change
            society needs to change if we  heating systems or ceiling boxes.       a running system? Heating and cooling
            want to keep global warming                                            is not characterized by short innovation
            well below 2°C, as stipulated  A good heating/cooling system is a      cycles and many systems are operated
at COP21 in Paris. This transition needs
to include decision-makers on all levels   Decarb Heat Forum | 11-12 May 2017 in Brussels | Acting
and must above all include citizens.       together to decarbonise Europe

A world without fossil fuels
seems daunting, but the energy
transformation is already happening:
it’s entering people’s psyches,
production cost is going down, and it’s
‘cleaning out’ our grids: in 2016, 86%
of the new capacity built across Europe
came from renewables, that’s 21.1GW
of new clean energy power entering
our system.

This is true for electricity, but where
is heating and cooling? The sector is
responsible for 51% of final energy
use in Europe and about 27% of CO2
emissions. Decarbonising heating and
cooling is a tremendous challenge:
even in new buildings, the market
uptake of low emission technologies
is too slow and the renovation sub-
sector is suffering from an even lower
renovation rate.

Heating and cooling is a sector
governed by tradition. If you need heat,
you burn something – this is common
practice, understood and mostly
unchanged since our early forefathers
lived in caves. Cooling started with

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