Brussels, 17 June 2019: The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment () and the European Ventilation Industry Association () held their third EUREKA conference on 11-12 June at the renowned College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. Representing the Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration sector (HVACR), EPEE and EVIA organised with a view to provide once again a platform for cross-generational debates, this time focusing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as broader HVACR sector challenges like skills, employment and gender participation.
Two exceptional keynote speakers, Sir David King, Professor partner of SYSTEMIQ and former UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change, and Hans van der Loo, Chairman of the Institute of Integrated Economic Research (IIER), STEM Ambassador and former Vice-President of Shell International, set the scene for thought-provoking debates during the two conference days. Both took the audience on a journey well beyond their usual comfort zone, reminding participants of the long-term goals embraced by the international community as part of the Paris Agreement and pointing to the required systemic changes that lie ahead if society is to make true progress.
High-level debates with representatives from an impressive number of national and international Institutions and organisations including UN Environment, Sustainable Energy for All, the International Finance Corporation (ICF), the European Commission’s DG Energy and DG Research, as well as CAN Europe, the BPIE, Buildings 2030, the Coalition for Energy Savings and industry allowed for in-depth discussions about the food cold chain, buildings, skills and gender diversity in the HVACR sector – both from a European and global perspective. These organisations were challenged by students from various universities including the College of Europe, RWTH Aachen and Hochschule Karlsruhe who decided to participate in EUREKA as it offers a unique platform for a cross-sectoral debate.
Several major themes emerged during the two days, which also included a collective brainstorm with all participants on how HVACR can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals:
Russell Patten, Secretary General of EVIA, said: “At EVIA we think that consumers should have the option to better understand their indoor environment quality. Today, most people generally are not aware of their indoor systems or how those systems affect their health and well-being”.
Andrea Voigt, Director General of EPEE, said: “EUREKA2019 was once again a great opportunity to hear perspectives from various stakeholders along the HVACR value chain. Our industry is committed to making a difference for future generations and helping to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We have the technologies, we have the ambition. Now, it is important that all actors sit around the table – from public to private, from the HVACR sector to health and digital - to work together on the way forward.”
This year marked the third edition of the EUREKA conference, with previous editions held in The Hague and Berlin. In parallel to the conferences, the EUREKA team has also organised HVACR Roadshow events in Italy and Romania.
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Sustainable cooling is our contribution – and obligation
There is no denying it. The need for cooling is increasing worldwide. We need it to keep our food quality high, reduce our losses, and deliver safe food. We need it in our hospitals, homes, and educational institutions. We need it all the time. And that’s why, Jürgen Fischer, President of Danfoss Cooling, is a firm believer that the time is ripe to implement sustainable cooling technologies on a much wider scale than today. Because, as he put it: “sustainable cooling is about implementing cooling that is affordable, climate-friendly, and safe for all.” So, we have an obligation to act.
Read this interview to learn more about Jürgen’s views on EUREKA 2019, which is being held at the College of Europe in Bruges, where he will present the future of sustainable cooling.
You have a been a long-standing supporter of EUREKA, why has Danfoss decided to become involved in EUREKA?
EUREKA is about the vision for our industry. It’s about our common future - about how we provide sustainable cooling that is safe, climate friendly, and affordable. And how we make our cold rooms smart by allowing them to talk together and communicate before our food goes to waste and make magnetic bearings compressors to avoid the use of oil and world class efficiency. These are solutions which are ready now.
EUREKA is a platform that helps us share our knowledge and vision with policymakers in cities and governments. Without these two groups, we will not have the right framework to move ahead on sustainable cooling. Finally, we support EUREKA because it’s a project focusing on the next generation of leaders, installers, and policymakers – it’s about people who want a better future for our planet. We need everyone to act. We need to educate more people.
What do you expect from EUREKA 2019?
66% of people under 25 are worried about climate change. And I think that EUREKA’s focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is highly relevant. We are facing challenges such as access to energy (SDG7), food wastage reduction (SDG12.3), and mitigating the negative side of climate change (SDG13). All of these are directly related to the industry – these are topics that we are working on and helping cities and governments to solve. I hope this year’s EUREKA will help show that we have the technologies ready to help deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and that we can bring the message forward to the current and future generations – we need to work together and set higher and more ambitious climate targets to achieve a sustainable future.
This year, EUREKA will focus on how the industry can contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals – What is Danfoss doing in this respect and more specifically?
I represent Danfoss at the UN-initiated Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), where we work together with NGOs, governments, cities, and other companies to develop a path for implementing sustainable cooling that delivers on the SDGs. You see, today, the industry represents 8% of GHG emissions. And the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects this figure to double by 2050. This is the challenge we are currently facing and will have to meet. I see sustainable cooling as the solution to that challenge.
What are Danfoss’ commitments on sustainable cooling?
What we do in SEforALL is to work together across stakeholders to ensure that the negative scenarios never materialize. We have the solutions ready to help combat climate change. Which is why we have created Danfoss Learning, an online platform that is available for all – it will help current and future climate leaders and installers to understand the latest technology and how it will help deliver on our international commitments, such as the Paris Agreement and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
What we hope to see is high ambitions from governments and cities to ensure that consumers use the most climate-friendly and energy-efficient solutions available. We also work with our partners in governments, industry, and so on to tell them how we can ensure people have the right skills to use the latest technologies.
As you know, EUREKA 2019 is taking place within a University, the College of Europe. Past EUREKA events have also touched upon Generation Z. What do you think the industry can do to continue to attract new talents?
I must admit that our industry is an old and rather conservative one. BUT it’s also waking up. And it’s more relevant than ever! 8% of greenhouse gas emissions come from cooling and it’s projected to double by 2050. But we can do something about it.
Today, we are working with the latest technologies to help with today’s climate challenges – an example is that we can turn supermarkets into small energy stations that consume and deliver energy. It allows us to control energy systems – I never imagined that supermarkets could replace power plants but if we make all our supermarkets in Europe smart, we can replace 10 coal power plants. It’s only the start – and our ambition is to keep innovating to become part of the solution to climate change and actually help our planet.
I think it is stories like these that we need to start telling to attract more young talent. I mean, if I was a young engineer, I would love to work in the cross section between some of the hottest topics such as climate change, urbanization, food wastage, electrification, and digitalization.
Which message would you like participants to take home from EUREKA 2019?
I hope that people will walk away from EUREKA with the will to come back, with the will to know more, with the will to do more — to talk with the industry and shake us up. We might not be Apple, Google, or Amazon, but everyone needs heating and cooling. And we provide it – sustainably.
Brussels, 21 March 2019: The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE) and the European Ventilation Industry Association (EVIA) will host their third EUREKA conference on 11-12 June in Bruges, Belgium.
At a time when worldwide citizens and young people in particular are taking their concerns to the streets, demanding that governments act to prevent climate change, no-one can ignore the need to preserve our planet for future generations. On 15-16 March 2019, more than one million students took part in over 2000 protests in 125 countries around the world, all inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg – one of the main initiators of the protests. Read more and download the PDF-file