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Climate Group and partners join forces to push for a renovation revolution in Europe

15 February 2024, 9:08 UTC 4 min read

  • EU must renovate millions of buildings every year to meet its 2050 net zero target, Climate Group warns.
  • Renovation Revolution launches in partnership with CBREDanfossROCKWOOL, SignifyVELUX.
  • "Europe spearheaded the global call to action on energy efficiency at COP28. Governments and corporates must now support cities, businesses, communities and citizens to open up their toolboxes and begin a renovation revolution,” Toby Morgan, Senior Manager, Built Environment at Climate Group. 

The EU must prioritise the renovation of millions of buildings every year to meet its 2050 net zero target, Climate Group today warns.

The EU has enshrined in law net zero by 2050. Currently, EU renovation rates to make buildings more energy efficient are around 1% each year, meaning the EU has less than six years to get to the 2.5% annual renovation rate that the IEA says needs to be achieved by 2030 to be on track for net zero. 

Today’s warning comes as Climate Group, in partnership with CBREDanfossROCKWOOLSignify, and VELUX, launches a new initiative to drive up European deep renovation rates and unleash a renovation revolution across the continent. Renovate Europe is a knowledge partner on the project.

Renovation Revolution will work with companies, sub-national governments and environmental sector NGOs to research how governments and businesses can increase renovation rates, implement energy efficient innovations and scale up efficiency in commercial and public buildings across Europe.

"Europe needs a renovation revolution. We're pleased to unveil this new project, shortly after European nations spearheaded a global call to action on energy efficiency at COP28. With elections taking place across Europe in 2024, the hard work starts now. Dragging up desperately low renovation rates in Europe is critical to improving energy efficiency in the built environment. Governments and corporates must support cities, businesses, communities and citizens, to open up their toolboxes and begin a renovation revolution.”

Toby Morgan, Senior Manager, Built Environment at Climate Group

Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Increasing renovation rates also improves energy security, saves money, creates jobs, and improves health and wellbeing, said Climate Group. 

However, standing in the way of these benefits are financial barriers, regulatory hurdles, and the differing priorities of landlords and tenants – these challenges and opportunities are key focuses of the Renovation Revolution project.

“Renovating our buildings is a huge opportunity to reduce emissions, save energy and cost, and increase comfort. Technologies are readily available. Many of them, such as building controls, thermostats or hydronic balancing of our heating systems, can be implemented fast and come with very short payback times. Replacing gas boilers with heat pumps or connecting to a district heating network are further big steps to decarbonize our buildings. There is no need to wait. We can start immediately!” says Philippe Duchêne, Vice President and Head of Residential and Commercial Buildings at Danfoss Climate Solutions.

“Renovating Europe’s building stock is an essential part of the puzzle for Europe’s resilient future – to reach climate neutrality, increase energy security, lower energy bills, drive jobs and growth and improve the health and well-being of citizens. We know this, but the current actions still don’t match the ambitions we need to unleash this renovation revolution. Working together with other business climate leaders, Climate Group, and the Renovate Europe campaign we want to increase the ambition AND accelerate the action,” says Julie Kjestrup, Head of Policy and Thought Leadership at VELUX.

“At a time when it’s crystal clear that we have to act decisively on climate change while cutting energy bills and improving energy security, building renovation stands out as a top priority. The good news is it doesn’t need a technological breakthrough. It’s about scaling up good programmes and policies that are already working across Europe, investing more in local production and jobs, and making it easier for people and businesses to access funding,” says Mirella A. Vitale, Senior Vice President, ROCKWOOL Group.

“Renovation Revolution is shining a much-needed light on the environmental, social and financial opportunity for building owners and occupants. Upgrading from legacy conventional lighting to connected LED can reduce energy consumption by up to 80%, dramatically reducing carbon emissions and lowering energy bills, as well as delivering other benefits such as increased productivity and well-being in the workplace. Together, we can create the pull and the push we need to achieve the building renovation rate required to achieve Net Zero,” says Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public and Government Affairs at Signify.

“Approximately 80% of the buildings we have today will exist in 2050. Therefore, we will only be able to fight climate change if we accelerate the renovation of buildings. To make this happen, all players within the built environment value chain - both private and public - need to be involved. Renovation Revolution by Climate Group aims to do just that and CBRE is proud to be supporting this key initiative,” says Ella Etienne-Denoy, Head of ESG Business Development and Innovation, Continental Europe, at CBRE.

“With roughly 75% of all buildings in the EU being energy inefficient, energy renovations are essential to achieve the EU’s climate targets. Turning the building stock into efficient buildings should now be a priority that requires collective action. Renovate Europe, together with the combined expertise of its 51 partners, is pleased to provide its knowledge and support to Renovation Revolution at a time when there is an increasingly urgent need to accelerate energy renovation rates in the EU to meet its net zero targets,” says Adrian Joyce, Renovate Europe Campaign Director.

Click here to visit the Renovation Revolution webpage.