The European Union currently reviews the Energy Efficiency Directive to step up Member States efforts to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain – from the transformation of energy and its distribution to its final consumption. EPHA makes proposals on the public health gains or negative impact of such a Directive.
On 22 June 2011, a new set of measures for increased Energy Efficiency was proposed by the European Commission to fill the gap and put back the EU on track. This proposal for this new directive brings forward measures to step up Member States efforts to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain – from the transformation of energy and its distribution to its final consumption.
Energy efficiency means that 20% of the current (2010 levels) energy consumption in all MS must be reduced by 2020.
Given the substantial impact of environment and energy-related consequences on public health and (un)equal distribution of various socio-economic determinants of health, a steep social gradient and disproportionate effect experienced by vulnerable groups notably, some issues have to be taken into account when reviewing the Energy Efficiency.
The European Commission proposal is currently under debate in the European Parliament, with a report from the EP Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) drafted by Claude Turmes MEP (Greens, Luxembourg). The ENVI Committee opinion has been drafted by Peter Liese MEP (EPP, Germany), and the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee’s opinion was prepared by Edite Estrela MEP (S&D, Portugal).
The vote in plenary is scheduled to take place in the EP sitting of 11 June 2012.
recognise environment as a contributing factor to many public health persistent and emerging problems such as chronic diet-related diseases, indoor and outdoor air quality (incl. second hand smoke, noise);
highlight significant environmental burden of disease from inadequate housing, fuel and energy poverty, climate change, global warming, biodiversity, food and agricultural practices;
acknowledge environment as one of key determinants of health inequalities where a strong social gradient in distribution of health-aversive environmental factors exists; in particular, vulnerable groups such as children, youth, the poor, the elderly, the Roma and migrants are exposed to poor quality environmental conditions of living and working; moreover, a gender equity dimension should be considered;
in order to achieve a "health in all policies" principle, coherent cross-sector collaboration at all levels of policy making, implementing, monitoring and evaluating should be employed;
efficient and sustainable use of resources should consider impacts on human health, food security and safety, agricultural production and consumption patterns, equal opportunities along with the need to protect the most vulnerable groups;
along with considerations related to agriculture and the Common Agricultural Policy, the issues of food waste, over-reliance on fossil fuels, red meat and dairy production, chemicals and pesticides, and antibiotic resistance were included;
In line with the recent WHO Europe report on "Environmental Burden of Disease associated with inadequate housing" (2011), as well as a report "Health Impacts of Cold Houses" (2011) commissioned by the Marmot Review Team for the Friends of the Earth UK, shows that fuel poverty increases respiratory, cardiovascular and mental health diseases.
In addition, fuel and energy poverty and inefficiency also impact on educational achievements of children, dietary choices, and increased home injuries and accidents. The reviews realign the environmental and health agendas to provide powerful evidence on the health benefits of reducing fuel poverty and improving the thermal efficiency of the existing housing stock. Investing in the energy efficiency of housing can help stimulate the labour market and economy.
EPHA related articles