Today the European Commission (EC) published its long-awaited communication on “A Renovation Wave for climate neutrality and recovery”, which highlights the importance of energy efficiency renovations to reach the 55% EU emission reduction target. At the same time, the text emphasises the possibilities that investment in buildings can offer for occupants and the construction sector, which is heavily shaken by the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Major actions proposed include the revision of numerous legislative texts from the “Clean Energy for all Europeans package”, such as the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, as well as new initiatives and roadmaps, aiming to ensure high-quality, sustainable and digital renovations.
In more detail, the EC proposed the following seven lead actions:
- Stronger regulations, standards and information on building’s energy performance to strengthen incentives for renovations by means 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;
- Guidance and streamlining of EU funding programmes;
- Increased capacity to prepare and implement projects through scaling up technical assistance under the ELENA facility (e.g. to develop one-stop-shops) and using the technical assistance window under the Resilience and Recovery Fund;
- Promotion of smart buildings made from sustainable products;
- Expansion of the market for sustainable construction products and services through the development of a roadmap for reducing whole life-cycle carbon emissions in buildings and the use of different initiatives and funds to finance training and re-training of workers;
- Addressing energy poverty and access to healthy housing for all households by presenting a Recommendation on Energy poverty, launching an Affordable Housing Initiation and examining how to use the EU Emissions Trading System revenues to target the lower-income population;
- Promotion of the decarbonisation of heating and cooling through a review of the Renewable Energy Directive, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the EU Emissions Trading System.
“EBC welcomes the renovation wave communication as a promoter for more energy efficiency renovations and particularly supports the focus on better funding and reinforced technical project assistance. Indeed, these are central elements for the successful set-up of one-stop-shops for energy efficiency renovation that can provide building owners with the information and means to renovate their buildings”, emphasises Eugenio Quintieri, EBC Secretary-General. “However, we are sceptical about the lack of specifically earmarked funding for the renovation wave and the possibility that this may not lead to adequate resources for property owners. This is of particular importance if the Commission indeed decides to make the regulatory framework for buildings even stricter, notably by foreseeing the introduction of minimum energy performance standards.”
EBC will remain in close contact with the European institutions and further stakeholders regarding the planned revisions, initiatives and policy developments related to the Renovation Wave in order to ensure an ambitious and enabling framework for energy efficiency renovations that supports the shift towards a sustainable built environment.
|To read the European Commission Communication|
“A Renovation Wave for Europe – greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives“,