A refurbished and improved building stock in the EU will help pave the way for a decarbonised and clean energy system, as the building sector is one of the largest energy consumers in Europe, responsible for more than one third of the EU's emissions. But only 1% of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year, so effective action is crucial to making Europe climate-neutral by 2050. Currently, roughly 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient, yet almost 85-95% of today’s buildings will still be in use in 2050.
Renovation of both public and private buildings is an essential measure in this context, and has been singled out in the European Green Deal as a key initiative to drive energy efficiency in the sector and deliver on objectives.
Moreover, given the labour-intensive nature of the building sector, which is largely dominated by local businesses, the Commission’s post-COVID 19 recovery plan identified doubling the rate of renovation as a specific aim for kick-starting the European recovery.
A renovation wave for Europe
To pursue this ambition of energy gains and economic growth, the Commission published on 14 October 2020 a new strategy to boost renovation called "A Renovation Wave for Europe – Greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives" (COM(2020)662). It aims to double annual energy renovation rates in the next ten years. These renovations will enhance the quality of life for people living in and using the buildings, reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, and create up to 160,000 additional green jobs in the construction sector.
With nearly 34 million Europeans unable to afford keeping their home adequately heated, renovation is also an important response to energy poverty. It can address the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people while reducing their energy bills, as outlined in the Commission Recommendation on Energy Poverty (C(2020)9600), which was published as part of the Renovation wave strategy.
In parallel to the strategy, the Commission adopted new rules for the smart readiness of buildings (C(2020)6929-6930). Specifically, the smart readiness indicator aims to promote digitally friendly renovations, integrate renewable energy and enable measurements of actual energy consumption.
The Commission launched, at the same time as the Renovation wave strategy, the initiative on the New European Bauhaus. It will be a driving force, bringing the European Green Deal closer to citizens in an attractive, innovative and human-centred way. It will act as a network and contact point, creating a bridge between the world of science and technology and the world of art and culture.
The renovation wave initiative will build on measures agreed under the Clean energy for all Europeans package, notably the requirement for each EU country to publish a long-term building renovation strategy (LTRS), other aspects of the amending Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings ((EU) 2018/844), and building-related aspects of each EU country's national energy and climate plans (NECP).
Process and next steps
- As a preparatory step, the Commission published a roadmap on the initiative in May 2020, with a 4-week period for public feedback.
- On 11 June, the Commission launched a 4-week public consultation to feed into the Commission preparation of this initiative. The contributions from each of the 187 respondents are summarised in a synthesis report.
- On 14 October 2020, the Commission published a strategic Communication with annex, and a staff working document.
- The Communication will be discussed by the Council, the European Parliament, other EU institutions, civil society and stakeholders with a view to contributing to the necessary actions. The discussions will cover concrete legislative and non-legislative measures and enabling tools, financing and non-financing aspects, and take into account different levels of action at EU, national and local or regional level, to make faster and deeper renovation
- Renovation wave communication COM 2020 662 final | Staff working document SWD(2020) 550 final
- Energy poverty recommendation C(2020) 9600 | Annex | Staff working document SWD(2020)960 final
- Implementing regulation on optional scheme for rating smart readiness of buildings C(2020) 6929 | Annex
- Delegated regulation on optional scheme for rating smart readiness of buildings C(2020)6930 | Annex
- Factsheet: The European Green Deal - Renovation wave (2020)
- Report: Stakeholder consultation on the renovation wave initiative (2020)
- Amending Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2018/844/EU)
- Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2010/31/EU)