Consumer protectionRenovation Wave Strategy: Commission wants to cut CO2 emissions through energy efficient renovations

Today, the European Commission presented its Renovation Wave Strategy to ensure better energy performance and resource efficiency of buildings by doubling renovation rates in the next ten years. Buildings account for 40 percent of the EU's energy consumption and for 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from energy. To achieve the goal of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, the EU needs to reduce buildings' emissions and the energy consumption related to heating and cooling.

Moreover, during the corona pandemic, the home has become the center of everyday life for many Europeans – regarding work or school from home, online shopping and entertainment – which contributed to higher emissions and energy consumption of residential buildings. Thus, the pandemic turned the spotlight on much needed energy efficient renovations in the EU.

The Renovation Wave Strategy includes the following aspects and policy measures:

  • Prioritization of the these three areas: Firstly, the decarbonization of heating and cooling, secondly, tackling energy poverty and worst-performing buildings, and finally, the renovation of public buildings such as schools, hospitals and administrative buildings.

  • Stronger regulations, standards and information on buildings' energy performance: This includes a phased introduction of mandatory minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings, updated rules for Energy Performance Certificates and a possible extension of building renovation requirements for the public sector in order set better incentives for public and private sector renovations.

  • Accessible and well-targeted funding: Simplified rules for combining different funding streams, and multiple incentives for private financing of renovations.

  • Increased capacity to prepare and implement renovation projects: Enhancing technical assistance from national and local authorities as well as training and skills development for workers in new green jobs.

  • Sustainable construction products and services: This includes the integration of new materials and nature-based solutions, and revision of legislation on the marketing of construction products and material reuse and recovery.

  • New European Bauhaus: Creating an interdisciplinary project co-steered by an advisory board of external experts including scientists, architects, designers, artists, planners and the civil society in order to set up a network of five founding Bauhaus across different Member States in 2022.

  • Neighborhood-based approach: Encourage local communities to integrate renewable and digital solutions and create zero-energy districts, where consumers become prosumers selling energy to the grid.

Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Organization BEUC, said: “The Renovation Wave is very good news for consumers. Buildings are massive sources of energy consumption and the vast majority of Europe’s buildings today are just wasting energy. We know that the cheapest form of energy is the energy we don’t use. So every kilowatt of energy consumers can save will help to reduce household bills, meaning people can more easily afford to power their homes. A healthy home has a tangible impact on quality of life and the pandemic has shown us just how important this is to recover from respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19. So we welcome efforts to accelerate building renovations and to tackle energy poverty as the two go hand-in-hand.”

Source: EC & BEUC

More information and BEUC press statement