Call for EU to prioritise building retrofit

The EU must prioritise the renovation of millions of buildings every year to meet its 2050 net zero target, Climate Group has warned.

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.

Climate Group, in partnership with CBRE, Danfoss, ROCKWOOL, Signify, and VELUX, has launched a new initiative – Renovation Revolution – to drive up European deep renovation rates and unleash a renovation revolution across the continent.

Renovation Revolution project brings together companies, sub-national governments and environmental sector NGOs to research and share findings on how governments and corporates can drive up deep renovation rates in commercial and public buildings in Europe – the challenges and opportunities of retrofit are key focuses of the Renovation Revolution project.

Toby Morgan, Senior Manager, Built Environment at Climate Group, said:

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.

Philippe Duchêne, Vice President and Head of Residential and Commercial Buildings at Danfoss Climate Solutions, said:

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!

Julie Kjestrup, Head of Policy and Thought Leadership at VELUX, said:

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.