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In the opinion of the Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Kalle Palling, the state of Estonia should boldly renovate the buildings of state agencies to make them more energy efficient, or move the agencies to more energy efficient buildings, because the energy saving achieved this way will compensate the resources spent on construction and will bring profit through economising.

It will also reduce energy consumption and energy losses, which is one of the targets of the EU, because increasing of energy efficiency has a great impact on competitiveness, supply security and fulfilment of the climate change commitments taken on within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol.

At today’s sitting of the European Union Affairs Committee, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Urve Palo and the Executive Officer of the Energy Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication Urmas Raudsaar gave an overview of the EU requirements on energy saving and their transposition in Estonia. The European Union Affairs Committee discussed the issues of energy saving because of the difficulties Estonia has faced in implementing the EU Energy Efficiency Directive.

The Energy Efficiency Directive was passed in October 2012 and it establishes measures for the achievement of the EU’s 20% headline target on energy efficiency by 2020. Only three Member States of the EU had transposed the Directive in due time, by 5 June 2014.

Estonia’s targets are to save 1.5% of the energy supplied to end consumer per year and to keep the 2020 energy consumption on 2010 level. One of the steps of reducing energy consumption is bringing 3% of central government buildings into compliance with the requirements of energy efficiency class C each year.

During the renovation of buildings, the requirements of heritage conservation have to be taken into account. With all energy saving measures, the arguments connected with cost efficiency and economic reasoning have to be weighed.

“The state could be even more ambitious and consider bringing the energy efficiency of buildings to class B,” Palling said. “Energy efficiency is not an expense, it is economising and thus profit. Should the expenses on buildings increase, this would mean that we have not been able to carry out these projects in the right way.”

The EU Affairs Committee is planning to continue the discussion of energy saving issues. The agenda of the 10 October sitting of the Committee includes giving an opinion on the new energy efficiency target presented in the context of the 2030 climate and energy framework.