A major economic challenge will face us all once the COVID-19 crisis passes. All sectors in society will be affected and we will look to policymakers and legislators to rapidly put the best and most effective recovery package in place. Fortunately, the EU has already adopted the European Green Deal (EGD) and all Member States have committed to the Paris Agreement and to climate neutrality by 2050. Reinforcing and sticking to these long-term objectives in the challenging future that we face will be the best approach for a just and resilient recovery for our economies and for our people.
Central to the EGD is the proposal for a Renovation Wave across the EU. The Renovation Wave must be launched in full awareness of the nature of the buildings sector and in a manner that we know will succeed. Buildings are central to our lives. They are the biggest investment that most people ever make; we all spend more than 90% of our time in buildings and they are the largest capital fixed assets in our economy. In addition, buildings, across their useful lifetime consume around 50% of all primary energy and emit around 50% of all CO2into the atmosphere. As a result, ambitious action on reducing these impacts is unavoidable if we are to achieve our agreed long-term objectives in the EU.
Buildings-related legislation in the EU already requires all Member States to prepare and implement long-term renovation strategies for the renovation of their building stock to become highly energy efficient and decarbonised by 2050–in effect making the whole building stock comply with nearly zero-energy performance levels (nZEB).
Member States must take their responsibility towards improving the building stock seriously and ensure that once the COVID-19 crisis passes, they do not fall back to business as usual in the buildings sector, where the energy renovation rate has been hovering at around 1% per year for decades, of which just12% are deep energy renovations.