Europe needs “national renovation strategies” for buildings emissions, coalition says

A coalition of over 300 businesses and organisations in Europe including architect BDP and property firms CBRE and Colliers International said today that Europe must lead the world on cutting greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings in order to meet ambitions laid out in the Paris Agreement.

They call for ambitious "national renovation strategies" that set out clear targets on transforming existing buildings.

The call comes as EU member states near the 30 April deadline to publish updated strategies to renovate their buildings, which account for around 36% of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and as political decision-makers grapple over the future of EU energy laws for the construction sector.

Their recommendations are released today in a series of publications by the World Green Building Council, the coordinating organisation behind the Build Upon project.

The initiative is driven by 13 Green Building Councils in Europe.

"Europe is at a cross roads in terms of its energy policy, with decision-makers unwilling to commit to a clear vision for one of Europe’s most pressing climate challenges – its buildings," said James Drinkwater, European Regional Director of the World Green Building Council.

"But this intervention is proof that a large number of businesses and organisations are committed to ambitious plans on building renovation."

Experts have warned that significantly stronger building renovation policy is needed if Europe is to unleash a boom in construction jobs, improve citizens’ quality of life – particularly those on lower incomes who are hit hardest by energy costs – and to meet its climate obligations under the Paris Agreement.

In order to meet the EU’s 2050 emissions reduction targets, renovation rates need to increase from their current rate of 1% a year to 3% by 2020, according to the Buildings Performance Institute Europe.

Under the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive, the EU required each Member State to establish a "national renovation strategy", a long-term strategy for renovating homes and commercial buildings to high standards of energy efficiency.

These strategies had to be delivered for the first time by 30 April 2014, with strengthened strategies to be submitted every three years thereafter, with the next by 30 April 2017.

Strong national renovation strategies require clear energy saving targets, awareness raising initiatives, skills programmes, financial mechanisms and policies, the coalition said today.

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Image courtesy of Benh LIEU SONG/Creative Commons

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