Europe’s buildings must be made more environmentally-friendly, says a coalition of 300 businesses and organisations.
The coalition – which includes cities, public authorities, property developers, manufacturers, energy utilities, trade associations, NGOs and universities – is calling for the region to lead the way in taking steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings.
The measures would help the area meet targets set by the Paris Agreement, in which counties across the globe committed to reduce carbon emissions in order to halt climate change.
The call comes as EU member states near a deadline to publish plans to renovate their buildings – which account for around 36% of Europe’s total greenhouse gas emissions – and as political decision-makers grapple over the future of EU energy laws for the construction sector.
This growth of support for more ambitious European renovation policies follows the conclusion of BUILD UPON, an EU Horizon 2020-funded project in which 13 Green Building Councils in Europe helped governments create strong strategies that will see their countries unlock the energy-saving potential in their buildings.
Their recommendations have been released in a series of publications by the World Green Building Council, the organisation behind BUILD UPON.
The publications, which set out positive action countries can take to reach the Paris Agreement targets, were developed by the 13 Green Building Councils and involved nearly 2,000 organisations at 100 events across Europe.
James Drinkwater, European Regional Director of the World Green Building Council, said: “Europe is at a crossroads in terms of its energy policy, with decision-makers unwilling to commit to a clear vision for one of Europe’s most pressing climate challenges – its buildings. But this intervention is proof that a large number of businesses and organisations are committed to ambitious plans on building renovation.”
Experts warn that stronger building renovation policies are needed if Europe is to see a boom in construction jobs, improve citizens’ quality of life – particularly those on lower incomes, who are hit hardest by energy costs – and meet its climate obligations.