Open Letter to Housing Ministers of the EU Member States

Subject:               Only Deep Energy Renovation will help the most Vulnerable

Dear Minister,

At your meeting on the 8th of March in Nice, you will be debating the topic of energy renovation of housing in the context of combining affordable housing and sustainability. We write to recall that the truly sustainable answer which will benefit all citizens, especially the growing number of vulnerable households, is to cut our energy demand through deep energy renovation.

The steady rise in energy prices, and the great uncertainty since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, brings into sharp focus the need to find reliable solutions to our problem of dependency on foreign energy imports.  You already know that buildings in the EU account for the largest share of final energy consumption, at a high of 40% of energy demand.  This is largely due to the poor energy performance of the building stock, a significant proportion of which is occupied by the less well-off in society.

Housing represents about 75% of the built area (in m²) of the building stock in the EU, and thus represents an important part of the solution.  Unfortunately, the renovation cycle for housing is stubbornly long, with most households only engaging in renovation activities once every 30 years.  This means that there is only one renovation cycle left before we reach 2050, the year by which you have committed to achieve carbon neutrality and a highly energy efficient and decarbonised building stock.

It is therefore imperative to ensure that renovation programmes are not only upscaled and rolled out to the full housing stock in the EU, but that the programmes are designed and implemented to always ensure deep energy renovations which deliver on the multiple benefits of energy efficiency.  In short, quantity and quality both matter.

Through deep renovation and thanks to technologies readily available, it is possible to reduce the energy demand of existing housing in the EU by 80% or more.

More specifically, we call on you to take action to accelerate deep energy renovation in housing by:

  • Front-loading and prioritising the investments and reforms related to building renovation in the National Recovery Plans (see Study), to set a path that will benefit all, and in particular low-income households and vulnerable consumers;
  • Securing ambitious housing-related elements in the Fit-for-55 package and, in particular, Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) that are designed to rapidly deliver deep energy renovation to future-proof our housing.

A transformation of the housing stock in the EU is urgently needed to achieve climate neutrality, improve living conditions and protect consumers against variations in unit prices for energy, thereby making affordable, comfortable, healthy housing a viable option for all.

Yours sincerely,

Adrian Joyce

Campaign Director