Our Campaign Director Adrian Joyce sits down with Sam Morgan from FORESIGHT for an insightful conversation in the latest Policy Dispatch podcast episode.

During the talk, which took place in Šamorín (Slovakia) in the auspices of the last C4E Forum, Adrian and Sam dig deep into multiple debates that are currently surrounding the buildings policy discussion.

First of all, they touch upon which are the main barriers that energy efficiency and renovation policies have to face. Agreeing with the two elements brought forward by the C4E audience during the opening plenary, Adrian Joyce highlights “political will” and “finance” as the two main challenges. Increased pressure by the civil society and business sector is presented as essential to combat the first of these challenges, while the need to encourage more private financing is defined as the way to tackle the second.

Following the conversation, also some concern is voiced regarding the gradual closing of the window of opportunity to act on buildings and its subsequent urgency to act now. A strong Fit for 55 Package, ended with an ambitious Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), is deemed fundamental to mobilise the multiple stakeholders during the implementation phase.

Unfortunately, Mr. Joyce also shows some slight concern on this actually happening considering the high-levels of politicisation and electioneering that a file such as the EPBD is currently suffering.

When asked about the success of the European Union’s answer to the COVID-19 crisis and the invasion of Ukraine with initiatives such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the REPowerEU. Our Campaign Director pinpoints the former, with its National Recovery and Resilience Plans, as the most promising tool  for energy renovation. Nonetheless, he also puts emphasis on the fact that such plans have retarded the plans for the implementation of the Multi-annual Financial Framework 2021-2027.

He also makes mention that although it is true that there has never been as much money available for energy renovation as there is now, the need of innovative financial instruments from the side of the private sector (via tools like the Mortgage Portfolio Standards) will be key to untapped the great amount of equity in buildings in order to make the Renovation Wave possible.

When faced with the question of “is it maybe true that subsidy schemes cannot be fully replicated between different Member States because of their different climatic conditions?” Mr. Joyce prefers to put emphasis on the fact that actually many common criteria can be applied to all of them that will make them successful programmes, such as: not basing them on the annual budget cycles, not designing them for single measures, and ensure a measurable improvement in energy performance backed up by real performance data.

The episode comes to a close by a quick fact-checking on several points. The first is the believe that there is not enough money for renovation and that it should not be a big priority, to which Adrian makes reference to the previously discussed numbers when it comes to the money available and elevates the need to improve our buildings for many reasons (energy consumption, climate and well-being). Next, for the concern that people will have to sell their homes because of not being able to afford renovations, Mr. Joyce highlights the fact that it is already planned that all programmes will be tailored to the different situations of each citizens and that they are structured in accordance to the property market dynamics therefore making this assumption incorrect. And finally, against the thought that heritage buildings will have to be torn down, he discusses the multiple exemptions that are already contemplated for such buildings as well as the possibility to improve the energy performance of many of them while keeping their cultural and historic value.

Listen to the full episode here.