WorldGBC reacts to Renovation Wave announcement
The World Green Building Council welcomes the European Commission’s plan to at least double renovation rates and ensure that 35 million buildings across Europe are renovated by 2030.
At long last European policy is paying much-needed attention to the vital role that renovation initiatives must play in reducing the environmental impact of buildings, which currently account for 36% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. The renovation wave should be an integral part of a green recovery from the covid-19 pandemic, one which could generate up to 160,000 construction sector jobs over the next decade.
We are very encouraged to see that the Commission’s action plan addresses many of the points raised in our response to the Renovation Wave consultation, including those in the following areas:
The Commission has committed to proposing mandatory minimum energy performance standards as part of the revision of the Energy Performance Directive for Buildings (EPBD) in 2021. We support this move, having raised this as a key recommendation in its consultation response, as it has the potential to drive up building standards and encourage a greater uptake of renovation projects
We also made it clear in our response that data must play a central role in informing renovation best-practice and allowing successful local initiatives to ‘scale up’. As highlighted by our CEO Cristina Gamboa this week, this data should not only encompass the environmental benefits of renovation but also social and economic factors. We therefore commend the Commission for setting out its plan to introduce Digital Building Logbooks that will integrate all building related data provided by Building Renovation Passports, the Level(s) framework and EPCs. The potential role of the European Building Stock Observatory to become a central repository for building data is another exciting development announced in the action plan.
We welcome the Commission’s commitment to strengthen access to private financing through the Renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy. Furthermore, taking advantage of the Renovation Wave to develop green loan and mortgage financing with an upgraded system of EPCs is a smart move, one which we have previously called for in the Energy Efficient Mortgage Initiative. This recognises the key role that banks and financial institutions can play in the Renovation Wave and WorldGBC will be supporting the implementation of the EU’s Green Taxonomy as a member of the newly formed EU Sustainable Finance Platform.
The announcement that the 37% climate-related portion of the EUR 672.5bn Recovery and Resilience Plan can be used towards energy efficient renovation promises to unlock further funds to plug the gaping hole in energy efficiency.
Neighbourhood based approach
The Commission’s mention of a ‘neighbourhood-based approach’ and support for linking national, regional and local incentives is encouraging, as it acknowledges the importance of establishing local best-practice initiatives at the municipal level which can then be scaled up across the bloc. This is a key facet of the Renovation Wave which we called for in our consultation response.
Europe’s network of Green Building Councils can play a key role in building up the Renovation Wave from a local level as conveners between municipal and national governments, as well as industry stakeholders.
Through the EU-funded Build Upon2 initiative, we are working with partners and regional Green Building Councils (GBCs) to scale up local best-practice renovation initiatives, collecting essential impact data which will help inform future schemes across the continent.
Whole Life Carbon
WorldGBC is extremely encouraged by the Commission’s commitment to developing a 2050 roadmap for reducing whole life-cycle carbon emissions in buildings. This is something WorldGBC highlighted in its consultation response and continues to call for more ambitious policy on whole-life carbon through its #BuildingLife campaign.
The Level(s) framework that GBCs and their members have helped the Commission to develop has a useful tool to support a move towards the whole life-cycle approach heralded by this 2050 roadmap.
Audrey Nugent, Head of Advocacy, WorldGBC Europe Regional Network:
“We are encouraged by this decisive plan from the European Commission and support its additional focus on how renovation can stimulate economies and improve air quality and the livelihoods of citizens. But given the increasing recognition that we need to tackle the total impact of the sector, we would like to see more ambition on tackling whole life carbon in EU policy such as the EPBD. Our network of Green Building Councils is already working to make the renovation wave a reality and turn this policy into action.”