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Renovation wave

Renovating the EU building stock will improve energy efficiency while driving the clean energy transition.

Renovating both public and private buildings is an essential action and has been singled out in the European Green Deal as a key initiative to drive energy efficiency in the sector and deliver on objectives.

Given the labour-intensive nature of the construction sector, which is largely dominated by local businesses, building renovations can also play a crucial role in European economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. To kick-start the recovery, the Commission’s recovery plan further supports renovations for EU buildings.

A renovation wave for Europe

To pursue this dual ambition of energy gains and economic growth, in 2020 the Commission published the strategy "A Renovation Wave for Europe – Greening our buildings, creating jobs, improving lives" to boost renovation in the EU.

It aims to double annual energy renovation rates in the next 10 years. As well as reducing emissions, these renovations will enhance quality of life for people living in and using the buildings, and should create many additional green jobs in the construction sector.

The Renovation Wave identifies 3 focus areas:

  • Tackling energy poverty and worst-performing buildings
  • Public buildings and social infrastructure
  • Decarbonising heating and cooling

The Renovation wave strategy and action plan were published in 2020, accompanied by a document, which presents available EU funding budget solutions that could support the renovation wave in different ways

  • through direct investments
  • by leveraging private investments
  • for research and innovation
  • to address market barriers and available technical assistance

The Renovation Wave initiative builds on the national long-term building renovation strategy, other aspects of the Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings, and building-related aspects of each EU country’s national energy and climate plans (NECPs).

Tackling energy poverty

With nearly 34 million Europeans unable to afford to heat their homes properly, renovation also tackles energy poverty. It can address the health and well-being of vulnerable people while reducing their energy bills – as outlined in the Commission recommendation on energy poverty, also part of the renovation wave strategy.

The New European Bauhaus

In October 2020, the Commission also launched the New European Bauhaus initiative which provides a forum where Europeans can come together to share ideas on climate-friendly architecture. The initiative comprises 3 phases

  • co-design
  • delivery
  • dissemination

More about the initiative’s ambitions, timeline and initial structure.

EU building projects

The Commission supports many projects on building renovation, as well as research and innovation in this field, with its Horizon Europe research programmes, such as

  • the BUILD UP initiative, a portal for sharing knowledge on how to make buildings more energy-efficient
  • the BUILD UP Skills initiative, which aims to increase the number of qualified building professionals across Europe who can carry out building renovations that offer high energy performance as well as construct new near zero-energy buildings
  • the 4RinEU project, which aims to provide new tools and strategies to encourage large-scale renovation of existing buildings and promoting the use of renewable energies (see “Home improvements for the planet)

For more EU-funded energy efficiency projects, visit the Horizon 2020 energy efficiency data hub.


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