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Research Brief: Multiple benefits as a driver of energy-efficient building renovation

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An increased energy performance of buildings not only reduces energy costs and CO2 emissions, but creates jobs, increases the comfort and health of its occupants and brings environmental benefits in terms of improved air quality. Valuing these multiple benefits is key to making investment decision more viable and thus accelerating building renovation.


The built environment has a particularly high relevance for climate mitigation: inefficient heating systems and poor building envelopes make the building sector a central source of greenhouse gas emissions. The latest version of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) aims to achieve a highly energy efficient and decarbonized building stock by 2050 and compels Member States to develop national long-term renovation strategies.


In order for renovation measures to actually be initiated and implemented, the refurbishment must in each case provide an economic benefit for the building owner or the investor, often limited to the saved energy costs. This means that the manifold benefits coming with a properly insulated building and efficient heating systems, both for the individual building user and the society as a whole are often neglected.


These benefits, such as improved well-being and health, increased value of the buildings and added value for the local community, are hardly considered and communicated in the cost-benefit analysis because they are not easily quantifiable and can hardly be monetized by the investor. There is a lack of harmonized instruments and methods despite numerous studies on the effects of building renovation on the economy, employment and public health.


This briefing summarizes the current literature and kicks of a new project in Germany which is carried out together with the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform (HVGP). The aim is to develop target group-specific methods of quantifying multiple benefits in a comprehensive stakeholder process.

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