Energy-saving target for homes, offices
Athens Plus, 10 July 2009

The government this week unveiled a plan to achieve a 9 percent reduction in the country's energy consumption in building within seven years - a goal in line with European Union directives.

The bill, which was presented by Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, will be submitted to Parliament later this summer. It provides for the implementation of energy-saving improvements in residential or commercial buildings, which in turn will give rise to benefits accruing from lower electricity, natural gas or heating fuel bills.

After the investment has been paid off, the savings will be enjoyed by the consumer.

"We are conserving energy and supporting an innovative entrepreneurial activity without burdening consumers with a single euro," Hatzidakis said on Tuesday.

The bill also provides for the creation of a "Green Fund", which will help finance business plans for improving the energy performance of buildings through EU programs and other sources such as the charges levied for the issuance of energy-efficiency certificates.

Hatzidakis said this charge will not exceed 1 euro per square metre for residential buildings.

Electronic meters will be installed in new or extensively renovated buildings. Already, about 8,600 such meters, which provide for the application of differentiated tariffs, have been installed and the Public Power Corporation (PPC) is planning the installation, on a pilot basis, of 60,000 more.

Energy supply companies will brief clients on energy-saving opportunities and provide them with comparative data on consumption.

In the public sector, the bill sets minimum energy efficiency performance requirements for all procurements and inefficient equipment will be replaced or upgraded.

Separately, the government on Monday unveiled a plan facilitating the installation of small photovoltaic systems.

According to a decision by the Environment and Public Works Ministry, such installations on rooftops will no longer require a separate building licence, which will save considerable time.

The same requirement will apply to the installation of small photovoltaic units (with a capacity of lower than 20 kilowatts) on plots of land outside town plans.

According to a decision signed last week, those installing photovoltaic systems on rooftops will be able to be linked with the PPC grid and have the value of electricity supplied to it deducted from their bills.