How do we enable the green reconstruction of Ukrainian buildings? – BPIE report

(eceee news, 19 Mar 2024) Following the “build back better” principle, a report from BPIE presents six investment criteria to guide a sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine's built environment. The report calls on multilateral donors and the Ukrainian government to allocate funding to projects that meet ambitious energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate adaptation, and circularity criteria.

In the Ukrainian housing sector, the total cost of the damage exceeds an estimated USD 50 billion, while more than USD 68 billion is needed for reconstruction. A recent assessment from the World Bank shows the massive extent to which the Ukrainian building stock has been affected by the war. Measures to rebuild the country and fund its reconstruction are already being discussed by the Ukrainian government and international partners.

According to the report, reconstructing the Ukrainian building stock in a sustainable and energy-efficient manner will strengthen the entire national energy system and make it fit for the future. It would also guarantee immediate help to people in need and securing lasting economic development in the longer term are clear priorities.

Rebuilding the country according to environmental sustainability principles would also boost Ukraine’s energy security and independence, strengthen its position as a future EU Member State, improve quality of life, create an environment where people can thrive, and help to reduce energy poverty, BPIE argues.

The publication defines the key question as: “How to best enable the green reconstruction of Ukrainian buildings to maximise these benefits?” Ukraine’s situation is not an ordinary case of renovation and construction of new buildings – instead, it’s about fixing the colossal damage caused by the war.

According to BPIE, it will be necessary to accurately identify the damage that has been done to buildings when rebuilding, in order to take appropriate measures in response. The report sets out six investment criteria to guide the sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine’s building stock. They are aligned to scenarios representing different levels of damage (minor, moderate and heavy): 

  1. Investments should be directed towards projects that consider minimum energy efficiency requirements for individual building elements
  2. Buildings damaged during the war should not be exempted from minimum energy efficiency requirements
  3. Investments should be directed towards projects that involve technical building systems based on renewable energy solutions
  4. Investments should be directed towards projects that improve the entire energy performance of buildings
  5. Investments should be directed towards projects that consider climate change adaptation
  6. Investments should be directed towards projects that address material circularity. 

Following the “build back better” principle, the report stresses that reconstruction should strengthen the entire Ukrainian energy system. Reconstructing the Ukrainian building stock will also support the country’s accession process to the EU and create an environment where people can thrive and attract people to return to home, according to the report.

After facing natural disasters, several EU Member States, such as Croatia, Italy or Germany have based their recovery and reconstruction programmes on this principle, and designed strategies that include energy efficiency goals.

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