The people behind the buildings: Why we must get it right in the EPBD

(EurActiv, 12 May 2023) Renovation requirements in the EU’s buildings directive can do more than anything else to address energy poverty, but without specific policies to help the most vulnerable people and households they could backlash badly, write Anna Bajomi, Caroline Simpson and Brook Riley.

Anna Bajomi is energy poverty policy officer at FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless. Caroline Simpson is campaign manager at Renovate Europe. Brook Riley is the head of EU affairs at Rockwool Group, a Danish multinational manufacturer of mineral wool products used in building insulation.

Over 100 million people – almost a quarter of the EU population – live in energy poverty, according to the EU-funded Odysee-Mure project.

Over three-quarters of the EU building stock is inefficient. And, predictably, people with the lowest incomes tend to live in the least efficient homes.

That’s why renovation is a must – and why the Buildings Directive has to get the renovation requirements right.  

What does doing it right look like?

Consider that only about a third of the approximately €600 billion spent on energy subsidies over the past 18 months actually went to the poorest households.

Consider that the bulk of this money didn’t go into reducing energy demand, but in emergency support, subsidising (mostly) fossil fuel consumption.

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EurActiv, 12 May 2023: The people behind the buildings: Why we must get it right in the EPBD