PU Europe input to the roadmap on the Renovation Wave initiative

PU Europe welcomes the opportunity to comment the roadmap on the “Renovation Wave initiative for public and private buildings”.

Energy efficiency in buildings, from dwellings to industrial and commercial premises, must be significantly improved over the next three decades in order to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. The Roadmap describes very well the context and the problem lying in our way to more energy efficient and decarbonized buildings.

However, we believe that the objectives should be to triple rather than to double the current average renovation rate and to achieve a greater amount of saved energy during each renovation (heading towards more deep renovations). In order to realise the energy – and thus carbon – savings potential in the building sector, the Renovation Wave shall make renovation of buildings, from apartments to large industrial/commercial premises, a priority at national level. Only with high level political backing can decision-makers, the construction sector and owners of buildings make the right forward looking choices. This would be best achieved by setting up a legislative instrument focusing on cutting energy consumption of buildings, meaning not only existing ones but also new built, and setting up high level indicative energy consumption targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050. Those targets would need to be evaluated at the European Union level against the path compatible with the Paris Agreement objective, notably via a cross-check of the Nationally Determined Contributions, and the Energy Efficiency Directive, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (via the national Long-Term Renovation Strategies) and the National Energy and Climate Plans due under the governance of the energy union and climate action regulation. In addition, a fitness check and evaluation of national and European legislations for buildings shall consider introducing mandatory minimum energy performance requirements when a significant change in the building life, like its ownership, occurs so that thermal renovation works can be mandated. This would significantly increase the depth and rate of renovation for buildings under the scope of such an approach.

Furthermore, the renovation part of this building specific legislative instrument should be supported by a dedicated financial arm in the forthcoming “next generation EU” recovery plan, thus providing the means to the objectives of a more energy efficiency building stock.

The above-mentioned proposals would not only help the EU to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 but also get companies and economies on a recovery path after the coronavirus pandemic. The multiple benefits of thermal renovation for companies, householders and tenants are well known to span from economic growth, job creation and productivity enhancement, to comfort and indoor air quality improvements to name but a few.

PU Europe believes that this forthcoming Renovation Wave initiative should become a central part of the European Green Deal. We stand ready to further contribute to the European Union work in this field and are committed to the success of a climate neutral and resource efficient Europe.

To the PU Europe submission here