Last edited 21 May 2021

Renovation Wave Strategy RWS



[edit] Introduction

In October 2020, the European Commission published its Renovation Wave Strategy for improving the energy performance of buildings. The purpose of the Strategy is to double renovation rates (at the very least) by 2030 in the EU and make sure renovations lead to higher energy and resource efficiency.

The hope is that this measure will enhance the quality of life for people living in and using buildings, reduce Europe's greenhouse gas emissions, foster digitalisation and improve the reuse and recycling of materials. By 2030, 35 million buildings could be renovated and up to 160,000 additional green jobs created in the construction sector.

[edit] Background

COVID-19 put a new focus on buildings and their importance in the daily lives of the people who use them. Throughout the pandemic, the home has been the focal point of daily life for millions who have been asked to work from home (WFH) and homeschool.

As more people spend time at home, it has become apparent that investing in these buildings may inject additional funds into the construction sector and related aspects of the economy. Renovation works are labour intensive, create jobs and investment rooted in local supply chains, generate demand for highly energy-efficient equipment, increase climate resilience and bring long-term value to properties.

To achieve the minimal 55% emissions reduction target for 2030 (proposed in September 2020 by the European Commission), the EU must reduce buildings' greenhouse gas emissions by 60%, their energy consumption by 14% and the energy consumption of heating and cooling by 18%.

[edit] Energy consumption and energy poverty

European policy and funding has had a positive impact on the energy efficiency of new buildings which now consume only half the energy of those built before 2000. However, 85% of buildings in the EU were built before 2000, and 85% to 95% are expected to remain in use in 2050. The Renovation Wave is needed to bring them up to similar standards.

Buildings are responsible for about 40% of the EU's energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions from energy. But only 1% of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year, so effective action is crucial to making Europe climate-neutral by 2050.

With nearly 34 million Europeans unable to afford heating their homes, the Commission has also published guidance for member states on methods to overcome energy poverty.

[edit] Specifics of the Renovation Wave Strategy

The strategy will prioritise action in three areas:

  1. Decarbonising heating and cooling;
  2. Tackling energy poverty and poorest performing buildings; and
  3. Renovating public buildings such as schools, hospitals and administrative buildings.

The Commission seeks to dismantle obstacles throughout the renovation chain – from the conception of a project to its funding and completion - with a set of policy measures, funding tools and technical assistance instruments.

Actions will include:

The Renovation Wave is not only about making existing buildings more energy efficient and climate neutral, it may form the basis of a broader evolution of cities and the built environment in a manner that blends sustainability with style. The hope is that this New European Bauhaus will combine performance with inventiveness to produce liveable, sustainable, affordable environments that are accessible to all.

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[edit] External resources

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