Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Efficiency
Predictions on climate change indicate that in our neck of the woods, the Mediterranean area is going to be one of the worst hit areas on the planet.
It is expected that rainfall will decrease, the mean temperature will increase by having a longer summer season and to top it all up, the sea level will also rise.
This is one of the many reasons why Cyprus should be in the forefront of the battle against climate change and why we should be making every effort to divert away from a carbon based economy.
And in this battle renewable energy sources and energy efficiency are two of the most important aspects that we need to focus upon.
In my capacity as the Commissioner for the Environment I have visited and talked to a lot of people in the renewables industry.
As a result, I have already discussed certain ideas with the Minister of Interior and soon I hope to have a meeting with the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism to test and discuss ways with which to push for an even higher installed base of renewables.
Application procedures, funding and loans, town planning regulations and new ways of subsidizing and supporting installations, should be constantly re-examined.
Meanwhile Government itself, in my opinion, should proceed with the installation of photovoltaic systems in order to be seen practicing what we advice and expect others to do.
Semi government organisations should, also be taking up a leading role in the race for renewables.
These installations should never be examined and decided upon, based simply on the payback period, but as providing a leading example for others to follow.
In a meeting that will take place next week we are going to discuss with the Scientific and Technical Chamber of Cyprus the possibility of introducing standards for environment friendly housing units.
Provisions for installing photovoltaic panels and solar water heating systems, should in my mind, be obligatory for every new building on the island.
There are other features of the eco home standards that perhaps ought to be obligatory but these need to be discussed further.
The energy performance of a building, the type of appliances used, the lighting, the controls and the choice of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems, as you know will greatly affect the energy consumption of a building.
The recent implementation of the EU directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings has already caused a 60% increase in the sale of certain building materials.
But in order to ensure the proper implementation and success of this measure, we need to closely monitor its application and maintain an open communication channel with all the professionals applying this directive.
In Cyprus we have been talking about the environment for a number of years now, but it is only recently that concrete steps have been taken to actually protect and promote proper environmental practices.
Now it’s time to take one more decisive step forward, for our country and dare I say for the Planet.
Commissioner for the Environment