Build better for climate neutral cities

(EurActiv, 31 Jan 2023) Buildings account for a large share of EU energy consumption. To reduce energy demand and increase efficiency, cities need dedicated funding and support for local initiatives and households, writes André Sobczak.

André Sobczak is Secretary General of Eurocities.

You can’t have cities without permanent structures to provide shelter and warmth to people; to house us and enable us to carry out the tasks of daily living.

But can you have buildings without carbon emissions? That’s the long-term vision that cities across Europe strive for, playing their part in delivering a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050.

Achieving this vision is not straightforward. Firstly, buildings exist in many stages – from planning to deconstruction.

Carbon neutrality means considering the entire life cycle of buildings; that they are constructed and refurbished in zero emissions construction sites, and, ultimately, that we should move towards creating positive energy buildings.

Then, of course, there is the long phase – the standing time of a building. It is estimated that around 80% of the buildings currently standing in Europe will still be there in the year 2050.

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EurActiv, 31 Jan 2023: Build better for climate neutral cities