Renovation Wave: doubling the renovation rate to cut emissions, boost recovery and reduce energy poverty

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The European Commission has published today its Renovation Wave Strategy to improve the energy performance of buildings. The Commission aims to at least double renovation rates in the next ten years and make sure renovations lead to higher energy and resource efficiency. This will enhance the quality of life for people living in and using the buildings, reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, foster digitalisation and improve the reuse and recycling of materials. By 2030, 35 million buildings could be renovated and up to 160,000 additional green jobs created in the construction sector.

Buildings are responsible for about 40% of the EU’s energy consumption, and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. But only 1% of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year, so effective action is crucial to making Europe climate-neutral by 2050. With nearly 34 million Europeans unable to afford keeping their homes heated, public policies to promote energy efficient renovation are also a response to energy poverty, support the health and wellbeing of people and help reduce their energy bills. The Commission has also published today a Recommendation for Member States on tackling energy poverty.

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans said: We want everyone in Europe to have a home they can light, heat, or cool without breaking the bank or breaking the planet. The Renovation Wave will improve the places where we work, live and study, while reducing our impact on the environment and providing jobs for thousands of Europeans. We need better buildings if we want to build back better.”

Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said: “The green recovery starts at home. With the Renovation Wave we will tackle the many barriers that today make renovation complex, expensive and time consuming, holding back much needed action. We will propose better ways to measure renovation benefits, minimum energy performance standards, more EU funding and technical assistance encourage green mortgages and support more renewables in heating and cooling. This will be a game changer for home-owners, tenants and public authorities.”

The strategy will prioritise action in three areas: decarbonisation of heating and cooling; tackling energy poverty and worst-performing buildings; and renovation of public buildings such as schools, hospitals and administrative buildings. The Commission proposes to break down existing barriers throughout the renovation chain – from the conception of a project to its funding and completion – with a set of policy measures, funding tools and technical assistance instruments.

The strategy will include the following lead actions:

  • Stronger regulations, standards and information on the energy performance of buildings to set better incentives for public and private sector renovations, including a phased introduction of mandatory minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings, updated rules for Energy Performance Certificates, and a possible extension of building renovation requirements for the public sector;
  • Ensuring accessible and well-targeted funding, including through the ‘Renovate’ and ‘Power Up’ Flagships in the Recovery and Resilience Facility under NextGenerationEU, simplified rules for combining different funding streams, and multiple incentives for private financing;
  • Increasing capacity to prepare and implement renovation projects, from technical assistance to national and local authorities through to training and skills development for workers in new green jobs;
  • Expanding the market for sustainable construction products and services, including the integration of new materials and nature-based solutions, and revised legislation on marketing of construction products and material reuse and recovery targets;
  • Creating a New European Bauhaus, an interdisciplinary project co-steered by an advisory board of external experts including scientists, architects, designers, artists, planners and civil society. From now until summer 2021 the Commission will conduct a broad participatory co-creation process, and will then set up of a network of five founding Bauhaus in 2022 in different EU countries.
  • Developing neighbourhood-based approaches for local communities to integrate renewable and digital solutions and create zero-energy districts, where consumers become prosumers selling energy to the grid. The strategy also includes an Affordable Housing Initiative for 100 districts.

The review of the Renewable Energy Directive in June 2021 will consider strengthening the renewable heating and cooling target and introducing a minimum renewable energy level in buildings. The Commission will also examine how the EU budget resources alongside the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) revenues could be used to fund national energy efficiency and savings schemes targeting lower income populations. The Ecodesign Framework will be further developed to provide efficient products for use in buildings and promote their use.

The Renovation Wave is not only about making the existing buildings more energy efficient and climate neutral. It can trigger a large-scale transformation of our cities and built environment. It can be an opportunity to start a forward-looking process to match sustainability with style. As announced by President von der Leyen, the Commission will launch the New European Bauhaus to nurture a new European aesthetic that combines performance with inventiveness. We want to make liveable environments accessible to everyone, and again marry the affordable with the artistic, in a newly sustainable future.

Background

The COVID-19 crisis has turned the spotlight on our buildings, their importance in our daily lives and their fragilities. Throughout the pandemic, the home has been the focal point of daily life for millions of Europeans: an office for those teleworking, a make-shift nursery or classroom for children and pupils, for many a hub for online shopping or entertainment.

Investing in buildings can inject a much-needed stimulus into the construction sector and the macro-economy. Renovation works are labour-intensive, create jobs and investments rooted in often local supply chains, generate demand for highly energy-efficient equipment, increase climate resilience and bring long-term value to properties.

To achieve the at least 55% emissions reduction target for 2030, proposed by the Commission in September 2020, the EU must reduce buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions by 60%, their energy consumption by 14%, and the energy consumption of heating and cooling by 18%.

European policy and funding has already had a positive impact on the energy efficiency of new buildings, which now consume only half the energy of those built over 20 years ago. However, 85% of buildings in the EU were built over 20 years ago, and 85-95% are expected to still be standing in 2050. The Renovation Wave is needed to bring them up to similar standards.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

At Arab League Summit, Guterres reaffirms strong link between UN and people of Arab world

Mixed news about the Eurozone economy

Climate change update: consistent global actions urgently needed as we are running out of time

How fungi could save the world

Fostering defence innovation through the European Defence Fund

Only a few months away from the single European patent space

EU Banks still get subsidies from impoverished citizens

UN gender agency hails record-breaking number of women in new US Congress as ‘historic victory’

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission decides to register 2 new initiatives

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

General Data Protection Regulation shows results, but work needs to continue

How water scarcity triggers the refugee crisis – and what tech can do to solve it

Globalization 4.0 must build a better world for working people

3 trends that will transform the energy industry

Why medicine is relevant to the battle against climate change

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Launch of CREWS, climate risk & early warning systems

AI can help us unlock the world’s most complex operating system – the human body

Anti-vaccine sentiment one of 10 biggest health threats, says WHO

UN agency chiefs condemn Saudi-coalition led air strike that killed dozens in western Yemen

The EU can afford to invest trillions in support of employment

European Energy Union: Integration of markets and need for in-house energy production

Asia-Pacific ‘regional parliament’ underway to advance equality, empowerment, for more than four billion citizens

Commission to decide on bank resolution issues

Mental health and suicide prevention: the contradictory access in a reference city of southern Brazil

How building renovations can speed up the electric vehicle revolution

UN chief urges ‘maximum restraint’ following policy shift over northeastern Syria

A young student discusses the determinants of migration in the European Union

Corruption undermines democracy and contributes to instability, warns senior UN anti-crime official

These EU countries have the most government debt

Mali: Presidential elections critical to consolidate democracy, says UN peacekeeping chief

104 countries have laws that prevent women from working in some jobs

Will Qualcomm avoid Broadcom’s hostile takeover post the 1 bn euro EU antitrust fine?

Time to say goodbye to the plastic straw. But what’s the best alternative?

IMF: How can Eurozone avoid stagnation

UN agencies welcome regional road map to help integrate ‘continuing exodus of Venezuelans’

ECB’s first flight in Eurozone’s banking universe will be just a reconnaissance

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘End the Cage Age’ initiative

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about to hit the construction industry. Here’s how it can thrive

Deal on protecting workers from exposure to harmful substances

New volunteering programme for young people in Europe and beyond agreed

Lifting the lid on policy decisions across Africa

Venezuela, Poland and Sudan amongst 14 new Human Rights Council members

The European Youth raises their voices this week in Brussels at Yo!Fest 2015

As Marvel’s first comic book fetches $1.26 million, here are five things to know about the superhero business

First EU collective redress mechanism to protect consumers

UN ‘comes together in sadness and solidarity’ to honour staff who died on board Ethiopian Airlines flight

COVID19 Pandemic: The Mental Health of Colored Chicks

Assembly President launches new initiative to purge plastics and purify oceans

Spending another 3 billion euros on Turkey feels better than admitting EU’s failure

EU security and defence industry prepares positions for ‘producers’ and ‘customers’

Impact Investment needs global standards and better measurement

New phenomena in the EU labour market

LGBTQ+: The invisible poor on our healthcare

Kors and Nyong’o: Food, fashion and film join forces at UN, for the world’s hungry

Youth unemployment: think out of the box

Team Europe: EU provides €100 million to Mozambique for education, health and social protection

EU Citizenship Report: empowering citizens and protecting their rights

EU leaders let tax-evaders untouched

COVID-19 highlights how caregiving fuels gender inequality

UN heath agency: Time is now to ‘act as one’ in fighting infectious coronavirus

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s