As governments across Europe attempt to deal with the economic and social impacts of coronavirus and how and when to end strict confinement measures, the time is right to invest to ensure every person can live in a healthy, connected and sustainable home, argues Davide Cannarozzi, CEO and Founder of GNE Finance.
The Covid-19 pandemic has tested all aspects of our society: families and individuals in confinement, communities in collective self-isolation and local, national and international authorities struggling to manage the omnipresent effects of the crisis. Now is not the time to give up on our planet. Now is the time to unite for a more sustainable future.
Ambitious sustainable home renovation initiatives must be part of the EU Recovery Package to reboot economic activity, protect existing jobs and create new ones, while improving people’s quality of life and creating a Europe where every person feels comfortable and empowered at home.
Most Europeans have spent 99.9% of their time indoors in recent weeks, making the need for comfortable, healthy and sustainable homes to live, learn and work in more apparent than ever. Our homes have served as shelters, protecting vulnerable people and creating the social distance necessary to fight the spread of the virus. Homes have functioned as workspaces, affecting our productivity and concentration. Universities have moved online, and with schools and day-care centres closed, nearly 79 million children have been spending most of their time at home.
Poor indoor environments with little or no ventilation can contribute to cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous system diseases which can be prevented with good air quality, natural lighting, thermal comfort and acoustics. Poor indoor environments result in additional healthcare costs, lost hours of productivity, unnecessary suffering and ultimately a negative impact on society and the economy.
The EU Recovery Package is an unmissable opportunity to accelerate the clean energy transition by elevating the focus on renovating our homes and buildings. Boosting eco-sustainable home renovation will save the economy in the short-term while paving the way for sustained climate change mitigation over the long-term.
Sustainable home renovations bring a myriad of benefits that go well beyond energy savings, including continued job creation (19 jobs for every million euros invested in energy efficiency projects), alleviation of energy poverty, improvement in physical and mental wellbeing — which in turn alleviates pressure on public health systems — facilitating productive home working and studying environments, and the regeneration of distressed communities.
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