Blog Post

Bioenergy Europe launches the #Switch4Air campaign

12 October 2020

Brussels, 14 October 2020 – Bioenergy Europe is pleased to announce the launch of the Switch4Air campaign aimed at raising awareness of bioenergy’s role in supporting the heating sector’s transition towards carbon neutrality and ultimately, the improvement of air quality in Europe.

The Switch4Air campaign is powered by Bioenergy Europe in collaboration with the European Pellet Council and relayed across Europe by both national and international partners. It supports the belief that bioenergy is central in propelling the heating sector towards carbon neutrality and ensuring better air quality for Europe.

The heating sector has a large bearing on air quality in Europe. In 2018, a shocking 79% of energy sources used in heating came from fossil fuels. It is essential to cover this heat demand with carbon neutral and clean energy sources. Extensive fossil fuel dependency within the sector – accompanied by outdated and neglected heating stock, largely reliant on old and inefficient equipment – accounts for the challenges associated with its delayed transition towards carbon-neutrality.

Many different sources are accountable for poor air quality across Europe. While old and inefficient individual stoves and open fires can certainly contribute to the problem, new technologies and the use of district heating networks offer a solution. Not only do they provide consumers with clean and efficient options, but they propel Europe towards a new, carbon-neutral energy era.

With the European Green Deal instating heating as a priority in the fight against climate change, the renewable energy sector – particularly bioenergy – offers a vehicle through which carbon neutrality and resulting air pollution can be addressed. Promoting the deployment of highly efficient and modern bioenergy domestic appliances, as well as supporting the replacement of older models and ensuring correct maintenance and installation, are key to the abatement of particulate matter (PM2,5 and PM10) emissions

Our industry is in the driving seat to direct Europe’s heating demand towards increased carbon-neutrality, but equally to decrease pollutants from residential heating, substituting fossil fuels and old wooden installations with modern biomass heating.

Jean-Marc Jossart, Secretary-General at Bioenergy Europe, explains that “There are enormous misconceptions about our sector and the role it will play in the EU’s energy mix. Bioenergy offers a viable and readily available solution that both reduces air pollution and supports EU climate targets.”

When it comes to air quality, reducing emissions from the heating sector – a seemingly arduous task – must remain central to the energy transition. Jossart adds: “We call for political action that fosters the technological development and deployment of carbon-neutral, low emissions appliances. We urge for coherent financial measures and investments that trigger the transition. Moreover, we wish to inform end-users of their role they must play by raising awareness of simple yet effective tips that they can take to reduce emissions from their domestic heating appliances.”


About the campaign:

The Switch4Air  campaign will launch in 2020 with the aim of raising awareness of how the bioenergy sector can contribute to the improvement of air quality in Europe.

With the winter season approaching, there is a risk of an increased concentration of particulate matter (PM2,5 and PM10) emissions, largely derived from a greater demand for household heating.

The campaign will focus on the role of bioheat in helping to reduce air pollution in Europe, alongside the modernisation of the heating stock, consumer behaviour and the overall positive impact that carbon-neutral, bioenergy technologies can have on air quality.

Switch4Air presents a call for political action, to foster the technological development of low emissions appliances and to reduce emissions from end-users. Bioenergy Europe aims to reach policymakers, raising awareness of the complexities surrounding air quality in Europe, but equally to recognise the importance of collaboration, as policymakers and industry work alongside installers and consumers.

The campaign’s website will provide a central location for an overview of European Policies on Air Quality, data on the Heating sector and a mapping of national and regional initiatives working to improve air quality in European localities. This portal will be supported by a series of articles and podcasts that will offer a deeper look into the role that bioenergy sector will play in reducing air pollution in Europe and supporting the 2050 carbon-neutrality.