A building renovation wave is coming up – and it needs to be circular and low-carbon
In June 2020, ECOS submitted feedback to the initial roadmap for the “Renovation Wave Initiative”. The Commission is expected to publish a final proposal by autumn 2020.
Renovation is seen as a major investment area under the EU Recovery Package, that will strengthen the European Green Deal, as recently announced by EU Commission President von der Leyen.
That is why the Commission is preparing its Renovation Wave Initiative. It aims to address widespread energy inefficiency of buildings in the EU. The idea is to lower CO2 emissions by optimising building renovation across the bloc, including by encouraging investment and financing – an approach that ECOS welcomes.
However, we believe that in pursuit of the aim to double the renovation rate of the existing building stock, the Renovation Wave Initiative must do more to prioritise net emissions reduction, by also addressing embodied emissions and impacts of products.
Construction products used for renovation should be made from low-carbon, sustainable and non-toxic materials, and should be easy to repair and reuse in the future. For example, insulation material used as part of the renovation wave should be free of toxic substances such as flame retardants.
To achieve this, it will be essential to apply circular principles at building and product level when considering options for renovation. The Renovation Wave, therefore, presents the opportunity to promote sustainability from a holistic perspective throughout the entire value chain.
The initiative should also aim to eliminate energy poverty in Europe, which includes issues surrounding heating and cooling of buildings. In doing so, this initiative will better support the aims of the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan.