Buildings represent the sector with the largest cost-effective opportunity for savings, in addition to being the largest energy consuming sector in the EU (40%). Indeed, with technologies currently available on the market, we could reduce the energy demand of the EU building stock by 80% by 2050 as compared to 2005 levels through the implementation of coherent renovation programmes. Reducing energy consumption in buildings must therefore take priority as the EU sets its key objectives for 2050.
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What are the benefits of renovating the EU building stock?
Estimates show that achieving a reduction of the energy demand of the EU building stock by 80% by 2050 as compared to 2005 levels would boost economic activity in the EU construction sector by up to €830 billion per year by 2020 and secure up to two million direct and indirect jobs in the EU. In addition we would increase EU energy security, reduce CO2 emissions, improve the quality of life for EU citizens and boost public finances. A study commissioned by the Renovate Europe Campaign on the benefits for public finances has revealed that renovating Europe’s buildings could boost GDP by €291 billion by 2017.
What is the current state of our buildings in Europe?
The Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) data hub provides an open data portal presenting facts and figures on the EU building stock. It includes a wide variety of EU-wide technical data. In order to be able to reap the multiple benefits of investing in energy efficient renovation of the EU building stock and achieve the Renovate Europe headline goal of reducing the energy demand of the EU building stock by 80% by 2050, we need to increase the renovation rate in the EU from 1.2% to 3% of the building stock per year. For this to happen, we need to ensure the adoption of stable, long-term policies and legislation which will provide certainty to the market and transform the buildings sector, both at European and national level.
Which legislation is currently in place for energy efficiency in buildings?
- Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive was recast in 2010. Under the recast EPBD, Member States must establish and apply minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings, and for existing buildings when a major renovation takes place (including for building envelope elements that are retrofitted or replaced), ensure the certification of building energy performance and require the regular inspection of boilers and air conditioning systems in buildings. Moreover, the directive requires Member States to ensure that by 2021 all new buildings are 'nearly zero-energy buildings'.
- Energy Efficiency Directive (EED)
The Energy Efficiency Directive outlines a set of legally binding measures to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain – from the transformation of energy and its distribution to its final consumption. The directive requires member states to renovate 3% of the total floor area of ‘heated and/or cooled buildings owned and occupied by their central government’ (administrative departments whose responsibilities cover the entire territory of a Member State). This will apply to buildings with a total useful floor area of more than 500 m², and as from July 2015, of more than 250 m². The directive was adopted on 11/09/2012 in the European Parliament, and published in the Official Journal of the EU on 14/11/2012.
What financial incentives are available to stimulate investment?
Financial incentives at the national level can help stimulate investment. Some examples are available in Italy, in Malta, in Poland, in France and in Bulgaria. For overview of current financial schemes in the EU, please read the recent publication from BPIE as well as the white paper on Financing Mechanisms for Europe’s Buildings Renovation from Eurima, or check out the presentations from this recent BPIE/E3G event on financing energy efficiency.
The Renovate Europe Campaign has also looked at the possibilities and challenges of leveraging funds from the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework for financing energy efficiency. Read the Renovate Europe recommendations.
- Buildings Under the Microscope, BPIE
- Jobs, growth and warmer homes – Evaluating the Economic Stimulus for Investing in Energy Efficiency Measures in Fuel Poor Homes, Verco, Cambridge Econometrics
- Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises, European Commission
BUILD UP Communities
BUILD UP Community Coordination of Professionals in Energy Renovations