Pushing water uphill: Putting power behind the renovation wave

(EurActiv, 29 Jun 2020) Minimum energy performance standards can contribute to turning the tide on energy renovations in two ways, writes Louise Sunderland.

Louise Sunderland is senior advisor at the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), an independent NGO dedicated to accelerating the transition to a clean, reliable, and efficient energy future.  

For some time now I have been struck by the irony of the European Commission’s chosen name for its building renovation policy package, the “renovation wave,” given that increasing the rate of renovation has been like pushing water uphill.

Currently, we renovate only around 1% of the European building stock each year to reduce energy use. This stubbornly low rate of renovation has not significantly shifted — certainly not in the ten-plus years I’ve been working on the issue.

Across Europe, this rate of activity needs to triple, fast, to get us on track to meet the 2050 net-zero target. The ambition of renovations also needs to increase. Right now, each energy renovation of a home achieves only 9% energy savings on average. These homes will have to be renovated again, and again, and again, unless deeper renovations are carried out now.

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EurActiv, 29 Jun 2020: Pushing water uphill: Putting power behind the renovation wave