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MEPs support inclusion of fire resilience within EU Green Deal initiatives on buildings

04 October 2020

MEPs TANJA Fajon (Slovenia) and Sirpa Pietikäinen from Finland have joined forces with Fire Safe Europe in calling upon the European Union (EU) and national policymakers to integrate fire resilience within the EU Green Deal’s initiatives on buildings.

Speaking at an event organised jointly with Fire Safe Europe, the MEPs emphasised how fire resilience and fire safety can improve buildings’ sustainability and contribute towards the success of the EU Green Deal.

The EU Green Deal’s 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 make a telling contribution to the EU’s energy efficiency and climate objectives.

Inclusion of fire safety

Fajon commented: “I’m very happy that the resources the EU will devote to energy issues in the coming years are high. We must ensure that renovations are carried out in a way that also includes the fire safety of our buildings. Otherwise, the investment efficiency will only be partial.”

Buildings are responsible for 36% of all carbon emissions in the EU and have been identified in the Green Deal as one of the key areas to address in order to make the EU climate neutral by 2050. For a sustainable future characterised by climate neutrality, circularity and energy efficiency, it’s crucial to build sustainable and ‘fire safe’ structures.

The EU Green Deal offers a unique opportunity to make the EU’s building stock fit for the future by accounting for fire resilience. Building fires can have adverse effects on the environment, society and the economy. It’s important to limit these negative effects by ensuring buildings can resist, adapt to and recover from fire and be up-and-running again.

On that note, Margaret McNamee (Professor of Fire Safety Engineering at Lund University) has stressed: “We need to start thinking in an holistic manner. There are ways for us to incorporate holistic thinking into the development of green systems and technologies.”

Energy Performance Buildings Directive

Speaking at the event, Ivo Jaanisoo (director of the Construction and Housing Department at the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications) shared inspiring lessons from the implementation of the Energy Performance Buildings Directive in his own nation and proceeded to highlight that what had been key in terms of implementing the Energy Performance Buildings Directive were “political will, financial instruments, improved technological conditions and a step-by-step process”.

Sirpa Pietikäinen called upon EU actors to adopt an holistic approach. “The current approach is leaving areas untouched. It’s sometimes difficult to bring everything together. The system doesn’t seem to be effective enough.”

Fire Safe Europe is an alliance of fire experts, firefighters, associations and international companies whose mission is to improve fire safety in buildings for people and society. More detail can be found online at https://firesafeeurope.eu/about-us/

The European Fire Safety Community actively fosters exchanges and collective work on specific topics like facades, data collection and smoke toxicity, etc. In particular, the Advisory Panel on Sustainable Buildings offers the latest updates on buildings’ sustainability and fire safety. Further information is available online at https://eufiresafety.community