REC Newsletter - November 2023

Welcome to Renovate Europe‘s newsletter highlighting our key actions over the past months!

We were delighted to organise in November a programme for EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson and her Cabinet to visit two renovation projects in Belgium and witness EU policy in action. As the negotiations of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive come to an end, it is worth highlighting the impact EU policy can have on accelerating industrial and innovative approaches to energy renovation, but also the impact it can have on local communities. Read more.

This year, for the first time since 2011, Renovate Europe Day 2023 took place outside of Brussels, and travelled to Madrid for the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council. This conference was a key moment for us to assess progress on energy renovation, especially in the Spanish context, gather inspiration from successful initiatives, and emphasise the paramount importance of an ambitious Buildings Directive for citizens, civil society, industry and the climate. See you next year in Budapest, Hungary! Read more.

Renovate Europe supported Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) in a remarkable renovation videos project across six EU countries. Take a look at these renovation stories on BPIE’s YouTube channel.

Two new partners have joined the Renovate Europe Campaign in 2023! They are BASF and EPPA. Read what they had to say in the newsletter.

Read the full Newsletter here.

European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, visits renovation projects in Belgium

Renovate Europe was delighted to organise a programme for EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson and her Cabinet to visit two renovation projects in Belgium on the 10th of November 2023 and witness EU policy in action. As the negotiations of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive come to an end, it is worth highlighting the impact EU policy can have on accelerating industrial and innovative approaches to energy renovation, but also the impact it can have on local communities.

First Stop: BuildUp Factory, Aarschot

In the morning, we explored the innovative modular approach to energy renovation at the BuildUp Factory. Commissioner Simson witnessed first-hand how this fast-growing startup is reshaping energy renovations with speed and efficiency. Their offsite construction solutions exemplify how European industry can minimise disruptions and maximise energy savings. Digitalisation plays a key part in their process.

In Lille, BuildUp led on the energy renovation of school buildings during the summer break, thus not disturbing the students and teachers in any way. Click here to watch the video.

Second Stop: Gansbeek Residential Area

Our journey continued to Bilzen, where the transformation of the Gansbeek Residential Area showcased a 60% reduction in energy bills for social housing residents. It was work undertaken by Knauf Insulation’s division Knauf Energy Solutions, in partnership with Daikin and Fluvius, for the Wonen in Limburg housing company.

The visit highlighted that energy renovation not only saves energy costs but also substantially improves living comfort.

These visits underscore the vital role of energy efficient buildings for EU citizens, industry, the local economy, and the climate. With the EPBD recast negotiations concluding, we must ensure it provides a long-term, stable framework to guide our industries’ investments in new factories, new solutions and more skilled workers.

We extend our profound thanks to Commissioner Simson for her insightful visit and support. Together, we will continue to advocate for a more sustainable, energy efficient, and competitive Europe.

#AccelerateRenovation #PrioritisePeople

Take a look at photos from the visit

Renovate Europe Day 2023 in Madrid, Spain

Mark your calendar and join us on the 3rd of October in Madrid where the Renovate Europe Day conference will take place this year.

This high-level conference will be the moment to take stock of progress in the Spanish context, take inspiration from good examples on the ground and better understand why an ambitious Buildings Directive is crucial for energy security, climate action, citizens and the industrial competitiveness of Europe.

  • Date: Tuesday 3rd October 2023
  • Location: Commission Representation in Madrid (Paseo de la Castellana, 46)
  • Co-organisers: Renovate España (Green Building Council España GBCe, Confederación Nacional de la Construcción CNC), Ecodes and Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe
  • Translation: English/ Spanish translation will be provided throughout

Op-ed: Forget politics, renovate our homes – ahora mismo! (Euractiv)

"The European Union is nearing an agreement on upgrading the leakiest, most inefficient buildings. This is an apolitical issue that must be kept out of the damaging clutches of politicisation," writes Adrian Joyce.

REC Newsletter - Spring 2023

Welcome to Renovate Europe‘s newsletter!

Here are the highlights of the last months.

Last Tuesday 6th of June, the trilogue negotiations between the Council of the European Union, European Commission and European Parliament concerning the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive started. The EPBD is the crucial final piece of legislation in the Fit-for-55 Package, and represents THE opportunity to translate the political discourse on slashing energy imports into tangible action – the outcome of these trilogues cannot be underestimated!

In parallel, the Campaign has put its focus on the high potential that the Multi-annual Financial Framework can have to support renovations. For it, together with E3G, we prepared the 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy Support for Energy Efficiency and Building Renovation study in which we take a look on how EU member states are planning to use this funding and we highlight key actions to maximise impact.

Finally, we will pay attention to the first C4E Forum organised by Renovate Europe. The fourth edition of the Forum took place between 23-26 May in Šamorín, Slovakia. The event brought together up to 250 participants representing all sectors and from all across Central and Eastern Europe for three fruitful days of networking and knowledge-sharing.

Read the full Newsletter here.

Policy Dispatch - Campaign Director Adrian Joyce

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.