New EU members sluggish in green technologies adoption

European growth in green building initiatives will be hampered by a lack of standardisation across the EU, according to international consultants, Frost and Sullivan.

Green building technologies are still forecast to grow by as much as 30% over the next 10 years across the Union as national initiatives take root, but stragglers such as The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary will hamper the proliferation.

Priya Cheriyan will argue in a report, Growth Opportunities in the European Green Buildings Market, due to be published next month, that in order for the European market to mature, it will have to nail down definitions in order to properly assess and classify what is meant by Green Buildings.

“Although individual Member States have tried to enforce methods to assess and classify buildings as green, it has not been possible completely. Only very few buildings across Europe are completely energy efficient and declared green,” she said.

The Europe-wide Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, due to be implemented across the EU by January 2009, was a good jumping off point but countries with strong nuclear energy ambitions like The Czech Republic and Slovakia needed national targets and incentives to come in line with European norms.

“Newer member states are relatively slower in the implementation of the green building technologies such as building controls, heat pumps, BIPV (Building Integrated PhotoVoltaics), wind turbines etc. in their buildings to make them more energy efficient despite being aware of the benefits of these in energy savings,” added Cheriyan.

“This can be attributed to their lack of government initiatives and concentration of these country’s governments on nuclear energy rather than alternate sources of energy such as wind, thermal, water, solar, and geothermal.

“With the EPBD imposing new standards of energy efficiency in all aspects of buildings right from boilers to the facades, these countries are also expected to adopt green building technologies soon especially given the oil crisis across Europe.

“However, the transition would be markedly slow for these countries as infrastructure and legal changes are necessary, which can be time consuming and expensive and cannot achieve fruition without national initiatives and government intervention.”

Despite these concerns, the EU is still forecast to grow by around 30% over the next ten years.

“From the qualitative information obtained from our interviews we have concluded that the growth of this green buildings market has been rather fast in the EU over the last 10 years, while the expected growth is projected at 30% for the next 10 years,” said Cheriyan.

“This is based on the optimism associated with the EU Member States adherence to the EPBD which has to be fully implemented in all the Member States by Jan 2009. With the EPBD implemented in all stages of buildings design and construction, in existing buildings as renovations and retrofits and new buildings respectively, Frost &

Sullivan expects the growth of the green buildings market to experience sustained growth averaging on 30% for the next 10 years”