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EU countries dragging their feet on building renovation plans

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Only five EU member states have submitted long-term renovation strategies that were due last month under the revised energy performance of buildings directive: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands and Sweden.

EU countries had until 10 March to transpose the buildings directive, which was last updated in May 2018 as part of a package of clean energy laws.


The aim of the directive is to make the entire European building stock “highly energy efficient and decarbonised” so that emissions are brought down to near-zero by 2050.


But building renovation strategies have so far been largely ignored by member states, according to the European Commission. As of today, only five countries have handed in their strategy: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands and Sweden.


Admittedly, the COVID-19 crisis is unlikely to speed up the process, even though building renovation is considered as a sure way of restarting the economy after the confinement measures are lifted.


“The construction sector has always been a key driver of economic recovery and the renovation of Europe’s buildings will become even more important as part of response to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Brook Riley, head of EU affairs at Rockwool, a world leader in building insulation materials.


At the current renovation rate of 1% per year, it would take about a century to revamp all of Europe’s buildings, according to Commission projections.


Under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), countries are required to draw-up national long-term renovation strategies, to “support the renovation of their national building stock into a highly energy efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050.”


The strategies should set “indicative milestones” for 2030, 2040 and 2050, and define “measurable progress indicators”, such as renovation rates or caps on energy consumption per square floor meter.


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