World's largest retrofit project launched to slash building emissions

The world's largest collaborative project on existing buildings has been launched across Europe as nations attempt to implement 'renovation strategies' in an effort to lower emissions in existing buildings across the continent.

A panoramic view of Valencia, Spain - one of the countries that will see existing buildings renovated and retrofitted to improve energy efficiency

A panoramic view of Valencia, Spain - one of the countries that will see existing buildings renovated and retrofitted to improve energy efficiency

As part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Green Building Councils from 13 countries including Spain, Sweden and Ireland are banding together to renovate existing buildings which currently account for more than one third of the EU’s total CO2 emissions.

The €2.35m Build Upon programme will bring together governments, industry business and civil society to introduce 80 events across Europe that will create long-term plans to renovate households and commercial buildings to high energy efficiency standards.

Green revolution

World Green Building Council chief executive Terri Wills said: “Existing buildings are one of Europe’s biggest challenges when it comes to tackling climate change. We can turn that challenge into a solution, but need nothing short of a renovation revolution.

“Build Upon will spark that revolution by gathering an unprecedented number of key players including governments, businesses and NGOs, in a collaborative community where they will work together to transform Europe’s existing buildings into green buildings.”

More than 1,000 organisations are able to attend the range of events, as well as having access to a ‘groundbreaking’ online portal that promotes successful renovating initiatives and best practices. To date the RenoWiki portal has had 550 initiatives uploaded.

Build Upon will require each country to create a ‘national renovation strategy’ highlighting energy saving targets, skills programmes, workforce training and the steps it will take to retrofit and renovate existing buildings. These strategies must be implemented by 30 April 2017 under EU law.

Brexit building blocks

With the referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU now looming, the UK is not one of the 13 countries included in the Build Upon project.

Last year, the UK Government pulled the plug on its Green Deal – a loan scheme for energy efficiency improvements on households – due to ‘low take-up and concerns about industry standards’.

While more than 80% of the British public have actively called for a replacement of this deal, it has been left to the private sector to promote growth in the sector. Earlier this year a £1.1bn deal between UK solar developers WElink Energy and British Solar Renewables (BSR) and the China National Building Materials Group (CNBM) that will see up to 8,000 zero-carbon homes built in the UK, was agreed.

The UK Government has established a new online platform aimed at stimulating innovation and informing construction companies of best practice when it comes to developing greener buildings, after it was revealed that average total carbon emissions were 3.8 times higher than the design estimate.

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Matt Mace


Tags

| Energy Efficiency | Green buildings

Topics

Energy efficiency & low-carbon | Green policy
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