EU announces new strategy for energy efficiency retrofits of buildings


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◆“Renovation Wave," a new strategy for energy conservation retrofitting of buildings, was announced.

The European Union (EU) is committed to climate neutrality (virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050. As part of the European Green Deal Strategy announced in 2019, the European Commission published on October 14, 2020 a new strategy, the Renovation Wave, to promote energy efficiency in buildings.

The use of energy in buildings accounts for about 40% of the EU’s energy consumption and 36% of its energy-derived greenhouse gas emissions. However, only 1% of buildings are retrofitted annually for energy efficiency. The new strategy aims to at least double the retrofit rate over the next decade, leading to higher energy and resource efficiency.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the project will also promote digitalization, such as the use of smart meters, and recycling of materials. It is also expected that 35 million buildings will be renovated by 2030, creating up to 160,000 jobs in the construction sector. In addition, about 34 million people in Europe are energy poor and cannot afford to pay for heating their homes. The new strategy will help reduce utility bills and contribute to poverty alleviation, health and welfare.

◆Three priority areas, including decarbonization of air conditioning and heating, with a view to establishing a new European Bauhaus

The new strategy lists “decarbonization of heating and cooling,” “addressing buildings with extremely low efficiency,” and “renovation of public facilities” as the three priority areas for action.

Specifically, the following directions were outlined: 1.
Strengthen regulations, standards, and information on energy efficiency of buildings.
2. accessible and targeted financing
3. technical assistance to national and local authorities and capacity building for workers in building retrofitting
4. expand the market for sustainable construction products and services, including by revising laws on material reuse and recovery
5. creation of the New European Bauhaus, an interdisciplinary project of scientists, architects, and artists.
6. Development of a community-based approach to creating zero energy districts.

In the past, the Bauhaus, school of art, produced product designs that pursued rationality.Now, due to COVID-19, when a house can simultaneously serve as a workplace and a childcare/education facility, there is a need to create new buildings that are both energy efficient and easy for people to use.

This article was first published in the Asahi Research Center Watching Report and written by Akayama Eiko, Asahi Research Center.

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