Making energy generation and consumption more efficient and sustainable is a priority for the European Union, which has committed to increase its energy efficiency by 20% by 2020 and 27% by 2030. Reaching these targets will require effort from all EU countries, framing the development of their national policies and other non-regulatory measures. The member states will contribute to the overall achievement of EU’s energy and climate policy goals, resulting in greenhouse gas emission saving, increased security of energy supply, innovation leadership, employment creation, public acceptance and regional development. 

An EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling states: “Some industries generate heat as a by-product. Much more of this could be reused within plants or sold to heat buildings nearby. The same applies to waste heat from power stations, the service sector, and infrastructure such as metros. Therefore, the trends and potential of this sector need to be assessed better in the future”. Some national policies already stipulate that in energy efficient systems waste heat must be recovered.