Could energy-efficient buildings help solve the climate crisis?

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Buildings are the backdrop to our lives. After all, we spend most of our time in them. But buildings account for 40% of the EU’s energy consumption and 36% of its greenhouse gas emissions. A Finnish LIFE project wants to reverse this trend.

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is critical to achieving the EU’s 2050 climate targets under the European Green Deal.  This ambition is also in focus at the upcoming EU Sustainable Energy Week, which this year looks at clean energy for green recovery and growth post-Covid-19.

Future-proof building

According to experts, energy loss in buildings could be avoided by renovating existing buildings and using energy-efficient materials when constructing new ones. Katja Lähdesmäki-Josefsson, project lead at LIFE EconomisE, agrees.

The Finnish Climate Change Panel has said that energy consumption in Finland could be cut by up to 33 % by 2050 through the better energy efficiency of buildings and low-carbon solutions in new constructions,” she says.

To this end, the three-year LIFE project firstly set up its so-called EconomisE platform. This serves as a meeting point for architects, property owners and investors, who are encouraged to develop new projects together.

In addition, the project members have met privately with banks and pension funds to encourage them to embrace low-carbon investment. Meanwhile, the team is advising lawmakers in cities and municipalities to take property investment decisions that increase energy efficiency.

The team’s efforts are starting to bear fruit.

“To-date our work has resulted in 110 investments worth more than €2 million, while we have given tailormade energy efficiency advice to many municipalities who are committed to carbon neutrality,” confirms Katja.

As part of the project, regular events and workshops are also held to encourage energy efficiency investment in buildings.

Changing opinions

In April, the team launched a nationwide survey on energy efficiency and climate change, targeting Finland’s top 50 property owners. The responses to this survey will determine whether more of these powerful investors want to invest in low-carbon buildings. Results will be published on the project’s website in September.

In addition, project partners developed an energy efficiency investment guide for cities. The guide offers practical information to cities thinking of introducing energy efficiency measures.  Training was also provided free of charge for interested municipalities.

Details on LIFE EconomisE were added to the Energy Leap platform, which contains case studies on successful energy-efficiency investments.

More information:

Clean energy for all Europeans package

 

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