As part of the EU Green Deal, the European Commission has announced a Renovation Wave initiative to boost the energy efficiency and the renovation of the building stock in Europe.
Buildings are responsible for 40% of the EU’s final energy consumption and account for 36% of CO2 emissions. Two-thirds of existing buildings are likely to remain in use by 2050, therefore it is essential to make them more energy efficient in order to reach the climate goals set out in the EU Green Deal.
What can we expect from this communication?
According to the Roadmap on the EU Renovation Wave published in July 2020, this initiative will focus on “removing those barriers and incentivising investment in making buildings and districts more energy efficient – thereby reducing emissions, lowering consumer bills and improving the quality of life of occupants.” To do so, the communication will also explore the connection among building renovation and the development of renewables, heating and cooling solutions, climate resilience, circularity, e-mobility infrastructure and digitalisation.
The communication, which is currently expected for mid-October 2020, will propose an action plan including legislative and non-legislative measures, which could potentially be considered in the coming years and months to address the building decarbonisation issue.
What could be the impact of this initiative in the deployment of sustainable H&C in cities?
There is a strong link between enhancing energy efficiency in buildings and decarbonising their heat supply and this link is set to remain very strong in the years to come. Buildings are the first consumers of the heating and cooling sector, space heating, in particular, accounts for more than 80% of heating and cooling consumption in colder climates. Hence why, the EU needs a renovation wave which is not just limited to building renovation but introduces and guarantees efficient and decarbonised heat supply.
Particularly, as underlined by the European Council, district heating and cooling (DHC) networks should be included in the scope of the Renovation Wave. DHC plays an essential role in the decarbonisation of European buildings and stands out as one of the most effective and economically viable options to reduce the heating sector’s dependence on fossil fuels and cut down CO2 emissions. Local authorities around Europe are already making use of DHC networks to decarbonise their cities and their voices should be heard.
Both the Green Deal and the most recent road map on the Renovation Wave initiative underline that local authorities will be consulted on this matter in order to collect concrete examples and best practices which could help achieve the objectives of EU Green Deal on a larger scale.
Cities are at the forefront of the energy transition and with this initiative the Commission should recognise the need for them to participate more actively in the definition of EU policies.
During our upcoming webinar “Cities & the Renovation Wave: Impactful District-Level Approaches” on 9 September we will discuss the Renovation Wave in more details including how the this initiative will provide support to cities and regions to decarbonise their building stock. We will hear about local approaches that are already underway in Europe and how they successfully contribute to the energy transition. Should you wish to register click on this link. Click here form more information about the webinar!
Written by Giulia Forgone, Policy Officer at Euroheat & Power
 Renovation Wave Roadmap
 EC An EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling (2016)
Related toolbox article: The Green Deal: 15 links to learn more about Europe’s path to climate neutrality
Related external articles:
The trade-off between urban building stock retrofit, local renewable energy production and the roll-out of 4G district heating networks by Han Vandevyvere and Glenn Reynders of EnergyVille
- There isn’t one renovation wave by Adrian Hiel of Energy Cities