Call for an EU buildings energy renovation strategy

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission this week launched a new report Energy Renovation: The Trump Card for the New Start for Europe. The report highlights that a more comprehensive approach to energy renovation is instrumental for reaching the EU 2020 goals for energy savings. Furthermore there are important implications for growth and jobs, together with EU energy, climate and cohesion policies. Renovating existing buildings is a ‘win-win’ option for the EU economy.

The economic importance of specialised construction activities are not widely understood. For example, in 2011, specialised construction activities that include renovation work and energy retrofits employed three times as many people as energy supply to meet the needs of buildings for the same value added.

The phasing-out of inefficient buildings from the European building stock requires a comprehensive EU renovation plan. To be successful, the report argues that this plan should incorporate the existing EU policy frameworks for growth and jobs, energy and climate and those related to cohesion policies into one single framework targeting the modernisation of the overall value chain of the building sector.

Converting Europe’s building stock from being an energy waster to being an energy producer would require a clear, coherent and decentralised governance structure including an Energy Renovation Facilitator and a Risk Sharing Pool cascaded at different levels of governance. Mechanisms to develop projects at scale by bundling smaller projects and to create cluster of accredited companies specialised in energy renovation would also be needed. Utility data must be unlocked and the cost of energy renovation made more transparent so that investment needs could be better assessed.

This report now needs to be urgently discussed not only in EU institutions but throughout the region in all member states, if there is to be any impact to meet 2020 targets. There is good analysis and a vision for the way forward. With the recently announced Energy Union and with the need to find new measures to meet our 2020 energy efficiency targets, this energy renovation strategy needs to be taken seriously.

The report is available on the JRC website.



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