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World’s largest collaborative retrofit project launches to cut emissions from buildings

The world’s largest collaborative project on building renovation has been officially launched today by Green Building Councils across Europe, in a bid to tackle one of the region’s biggest climate challenges – its existing buildings.

After more than a year of preparations, the BUILD UPON project is launching a series of 80 European events that aim to bring together more than 1,000 organisations in a concerted effort to reduce emissions from buildings.

Emissions from existing buildings account for 36 per cent of the EU’s total CO2 emissions.

BUILD UPON looks to overcome this challenge by supporting governments, industry and civil society to deliver so called ‘national renovation strategies’ – long-term plans on how they will renovate their nation’s homes and commercial buildings to high standards of energy efficiency.  These strategies are required by 30 April 2017 under EU law.

The €2.35m project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, is led by Green Building Councils from 13 countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey, and is supported by the World Green Building Council’s Europe Regional Network.

It will see a diverse range of organisations come together to collaborate on how to tackle this issue, including governments and local authorities, constructions companies, product manufacturers, energy providers, banks and other financial institutions, and NGOs.

They will be aiming to agree strong national strategies with clear energy saving targets, coordinated awareness raising initiatives that engage citizens, skills programmes that train the construction workforce to deliver high quality retrofit, financial mechanisms such as green mortgages and loans, and policies such as strengthened energy performance certificates.

Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council, said:

Existing buildings are one of Europe’s biggest challenges when it comes to tackling climate change. We can turn that challenge into a solution, but need nothing short of a renovation revolution.

“BUILD UPON will spark that revolution by gathering an unprecedented number of key players including governments, businesses and NGOs, in a collaborative community where they will work together to transform Europe’s existing buildings into green buildings.”

The BUILD UPON project will use two key platforms to aid this collaboration:

  • The “RenoWiki” – a groundbreaking online portal which allows individuals to upload real-life initiatives on building renovations in Europe in order to share best practice and successful initiatives. To date, there are more than 550 initiatives on the RenoWiki. Examples include Latvia’s ‘Lets Live Warmer’, an award-winning awareness raising campaign that has led to greater uptake of housing insulation, and “RenoValue”, a project aimed at training building valuation professionals to factor energy efficiency into their valuation practices.
  • A series of over 80 events in the capital and major cities of the 13 project countries to consult and engage key players in what could be included in their renovation strategies, such as policy measures, finance mechanisms, skills programmes and awareness raising initiatives.

The RenoWiki and a full events programme are available at

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 649727.