Launched on December 11, the wide-ranging European Green Deal positions climate action at the heart of every sector of Europe’s future economic growth with the energy efficient renovation of buildings highlighted as a key area for action.
Knauf Insulation’s EU Public Affairs Manager, Katarzyna Wardal, said: “The Green Deal is a hugely significant chapter in the history of the European Union with an ambitious strategy of actions designed to decarbonise all sectors from transport and energy to agriculture and buildings by 2050.
Buildings responsible for 36% of Europe’s carbon
“In the European Union, buildings are responsible for 36% of carbon emissions and consume 40% of energy, so we are delighted to see building renovation play a key role in this roadmap. This is an area where Knauf Insulation can contribute high-quality energy saving solutions and provide expert insight to make a significant difference.”
In the Green Deal, the Commission states that the current annual rate of building stock renovation ranges from 0.4% to 1.2% in Member States, but to achieve EU climate objectives, “these figures need to double at least”.
“The EU and Member States should engage in a ‘renovation wave’ of public and private buildings,” the Commission says, highlighting how renovation can lower energy bills, boost the construction sector, create new jobs and help the 50 million Europeans who struggle to keep their homes warm.
Delivering real energy savings
Katarzyna Wardal, said: “We can help. We have campaigned for many years to remove regulatory barriers offering practical solutions to boost renovation. Through our industry associations we have worked with stakeholders to implement the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive; helped Member States navigate the complexities of national renovation strategies and found innovative ways to unlock finance for renovation.”
Knauf Insulation also launched Experience Centers in Slovenia and Belgium to share sustainable building expertise to ensure real performance is maximised during building renovation.
In addition, Knauf Energy Solutions was launched this year to scale up renovation initiatives across Europe by delivering quantifiable metered results at scale.
A Commission report published earlier this month called for organising renovations towards carbon neutral level that can achieve significant energy savings rather than ‘light renovation’ that dominates notably Eastern European countries.
“The European Green Deal is an opportunity to really make a difference for generations to come, but it is vital that quality work is carried out to maximise all the benefits of renovation rather than locking in ineffectual changes. It is also critical that investment flows to the countries that need it most, particularly in the south and east of Europe,” Katarzyna said.
Lifting barriers that inhibit energy efficiency investments
To drive up the renovation market the Green Deal pledges to enforce energy performance of buildings legislation; bring together stakeholders on an ‘open platform’ to tackle renovation barriers and support innovative finance schemes that “could target housing associations or energy service companies that could roll out renovation”.
Other action points include: achieving more effective economies of scale by organising renovation efforts into larger blocks; lifting regulatory barriers that “inhibit energy efficiency investments in rented and multi-ownership buildings”; a focus on social housing and households that have difficulty paying energy bills as well as an emphasis on renovating schools and hospitals.
Green roofs to tackle air pollution, climate change effects and biodiversity loss in cities
• The Green Deal also calls for a zero pollution action plan for air, water and soil to be adopted in 2021 with provisions to achieve cleaner air in Europe as well as a new strategy to green European cities and increase urban biodiversity. “Our Urbanscape Green Solutions teams can play an important role,” said Knauf Insulation’s EU Public Affairs Manager, Katarzyna Wardal. “Green roofs are excellent absorbers of airborne pollutants and can also help cool down urban areas and nurture biodiversity in the form of providing thriving habitats for insect pollinators.”