The public-private partnership "Energy-efficient Buildings Initiative" is targeting the construction sector at large. Construction accounts for more that 10 % of the EU's GDP and employs 32 million people in large, medium and small enterprises. There are 2.7 million enterprises in the EU in the construction sector, of which 95 % are SMEs.
There is a stock of 160 million buildings in the EU. The present rate of construction of new buildings is below 2%/year in all major European countries. These figures push the hope of having a truly energy-efficient built environment far beyond one century and probably closer to two centuries if action is limited to new buildings. For that reason focus is needed on the renovation of existing buildings. There is a need to act at a EU level if we want to make a substantial impact. Public buildings will be considered as a priority.