We must invest today in the buildings of tomorrow

(EurActiv, 4 May 2020) In the COVID-19 aftermath, making our buildings energy efficient is key to reconcile Europe’s climate objectives with rapid economic recovery. To get this done we need an ambitious policy roadmap at EU level, write Bertrand Deprez and Mohammed Chahim.

The European Union is facing a great challenge: how to quickly re-build Europe’s economy in the context of COVID-19 while ensuring to keep itself on the path to become climate neutral by 2050.

Against this background, investing in decarbonising buildings is key to reconcile climate objectives and economic recovery, in a virtuous way. Indeed, the renovation wave is one of the key pillars of the European Green Deal, which should be at the core of the post-COVID-19 recovery plan.

The reasons beyond this are easy to grasp. Buildings are the single largest energy consumer with approximately 40% of EU energy consumption. This value is estimated to go up to 50% if the construction industry and its upstream value chain are included.

Moreover, as urbanisation increases sharply, up to 68% by 2050 versus 55% today, with a multiplication by 2 of existing building stock globally, in Europe, the volume of floor additions could top 20 billion square meters by 2050.

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EurActiv, 4 May 2020: We must invest today in the buildings of tomorrow