Businesses launch ‘Renovation Revolution’ campaign to spur decarbonisation of EU buildings

Genoa, Itlay

The Climate Group, in partnership with CBRE, Danfoss, ROCKWOOL, Signify, and VELUX, has today (15 February) launched the Renovation Revolution initiative.

The new programme will combine companies, sub-national governments and environmental sector NGOs to research and spur ways to help increase renovation rates across the European Union (EU).

“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,” the Climate Group’s senior manager, built environment, Toby Morgan said.

“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.”

The Climate Group states that the EU will need to prioritise the renovation of millions of buildings annually to reach its climate goals.

The EU has notably enshrined a net-zero goal into law, aiming to reach that target by 2050. Currently, EU energy-related renovation rates sit at 1% each year, but the IEA says that a 2.5% annual rate is needed by 2030 to put the bloc on track for net-zero.

Existing solutions

A recent McKinsey report highlights that professionals in the built environment sector can reduce more than 50% in industry emissions by 2030 using existing technologies.

Considering the typical 30-to-130-year lifetime of a building, the report suggests that 80% of the building stock expected to exist in 2050 has already been constructed, necessitating action to avoid future energy-intensive upgrades and to employ low-emissions materials to prevent irreversible embodied emissions and enhance the energy efficiency of existing buildings.

The McKinsey report identifies 22 levers that, if implemented at scale in the next five to ten years, have the potential to reduce emissions from the built environment by up to 75%.

Separate research, endorsed by the World Economic Forum, has found that reusing components, recycling materials and boosting material efficiency will be crucial to the building sector’s net-zero transition.

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