Climate NGO & corporates join forces to push for a renovation revolution in Europe

Date: 17 February 2024
Climate NGO & corporates join forces to push for a renovation revolution in Europe
The EU must prioritise the renovation of millions of buildings every year to meet its 2050 net zero target, Climate Group today warns.

The EU has enshrined in law net zero by 2050. Currently, EU renovation rates to make buildings more energy efficient are around 1% each year, meaning the EU has less than six years to get to the 2.5% annual renovation rate that the IEA says needs to be achieved by 2030 to be on track for net zero.

Today’s warning comes as Climate Group, in partnership with CBRE, Danfoss, ROCKWOOL, Signify, and VELUX, launches a new initiative to drive up European deep renovation rates and unleash a renovation revolution across the continent. Renovate Europe is a knowledge partner on the project.

 Renovation Revolution will work with companies, sub-national governments and environmental sector NGOs to research how governments and businesses can increase renovation rates, implement energy efficient innovations and scale up efficiency in commercial and public buildings across Europe.

"Europe needs a renovation revolution. We're pleased to unveil this new project, shortly after European nations spearheaded a global call to action on energy efficiency at COP28. With elections taking place across Europe in 2024, the hard work starts now. Dragging up desperately low renovation rates in Europe is critical to improving energy efficiency in the built environment. Governments and corporates must support cities, businesses, communities and citizens, to open up their toolboxes and begin a renovation revolution,” said Toby Morgan, Senior Manager, Built Environment at Climate Group.

Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Increasing renovation rates also improves energy security, saves money, creates jobs, and improves health and wellbeing, said Climate Group.

However, standing in the way of these benefits are financial barriers, regulatory hurdles, and the differing priorities of landlords and tenants – these challenges and opportunities are key focuses of the Renovation Revolution project.

“Renovating our buildings is a huge opportunity to reduce emissions, save energy and cost, and increase comfort. Technologies are readily available. Many of them, such as building controls, thermostats or hydronic balancing of our heating systems, can be implemented fast and come with very short payback times. Replacing gas boilers with heat pumps or connecting to a district heating network are further big steps to decarbonize our buildings. There is no need to wait. We can start immediately!” says Philippe Duchêne, Vice President and Head of Residential and Commercial Buildings at Danfoss Climate Solutions.

“Renovating Europe’s building stock is an essential part of the puzzle for Europe’s resilient future – to reach climate neutrality, increase energy security, lower energy bills, drive jobs and growth and improve the health and well-being of citizens. We know this, but the current actions still don’t match the ambitions we need to unleash this renovation revolution. Working together with other business climate leaders, Climate Group, and the Renovate Europe campaign we want to increase the ambition AND accelerate the action,” says Julie Kjestrup, Head of Policy and Thought Leadership at VELUX.

“At a time when it’s crystal clear that we have to act decisively on climate change while cutting energy bills and improving energy security, building renovation stands out as a top priority. The good news is it doesn’t need a technological breakthrough. It’s about scaling up good programmes and policies that are already working across Europe, investing more in local production and jobs, and making it easier for people and businesses to access funding,” says Mirella A. Vitale, Senior Vice President, ROCKWOOL Group.

“While we need this new renovation revolution program to “push” building renovation rates, we also need a “pull” from building occupants and owners who understand the economic, environmental and social benefits. Upgrading conventional tubes and bulbs to connected LED can decrease energy use by up to 80%, reduce carbon emissions, lower energy bills, and increase productivity and well-being in the workplace and at home. Building renovations also create good local jobs,” says Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public and Government Affairs at Signify.

“With roughly 75% of all buildings in the EU being energy inefficient, energy renovations are essential to achieve the EU’s climate targets. Turning the building stock into efficient buildings should now be a priority that requires collective action. Renovate Europe, together with the combined expertise of its 51 partners, is pleased to provide its knowledge and support to Renovation Revolution at a time when there is an increasingly urgent need to accelerate energy renovation rates in the EU to meet its net zero targets,” says Adrian Joyce, Renovate Europe Campaign Director.
Find out more on our website about: Danfoss, COP28

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