REDay2016: Energy Renovation is the “people’s policy”

Renovate Europe held its sixth edition of Renovate Europe Day (REDay2016) on 13th October in Brussels, attended by over 100 participants and under the patronage of the Slovak Presidency of the EU, with a focus on how achieving an NZEB building stock by 2050 can boost EU jobs, growth and SMEs and increase benefits to EU citizens and businesses.

Ahead of the upcoming legislative proposals and on the back of the Paris agreement which relies on a significant scale-up of energy renovation in the EU, Renovate Europe Day highlighted how energy renovation is a topic which has a direct and tangible impact on EU citizens.

“Energy renovation is often dismissed as a technical topic, but it actually goes straight to the heart of every EU citizen. These are people’s homes, people’s hospitals, people’s schools we are talking about”, explained Adrian Joyce, Director of the Renovate Europe Campaign, “and these are people’s jobs and people’s SMEs that we are aiming to boost. We need a long-term vision of an NZEB building stock by 2050 in order to deliver on people’s expectations and improve their wellbeing”.

Legislation is the main driver for the renovation market, which needs a clear long-term vision to trigger investment.  The revisions of the EPBD and EED offer the opportunity to enshrine a long-term vision in legislation, and to emphasize the need to prioritise the reduction of energy demand over decarbonisation, to ensure citizens reap the benefits. “Citizens will enjoy the benefits of a living in a highly energy efficient home because it will also be a healthy, comfortable home.  A decarbonised leaky building will not deliver those benefits,” explained Adrian Joyce.

The motivation to achieve an NZEB building stock was clearly demonstrated at REDay2016 by first-hand contributions from four innovative models, already stimulating increased employment on the ground. Belgium’s RenoWATT set up a one-stop model including technical and financial support, motivated by the potential to maintain and/or create up to 16 000 jobs over the next 30 years if 60% of Wallonia’s buildings were to be renovated. Other examples included UK’s RetrofitWorks, based on a cooperative structure; an ESCO model in Croatia which undertook the deep renovation of an old hospital without disturbance to the patients; and France’s Picardie Pass Rénovation, whose tailored independent advice and financing solutions for owners has mobilised almost 650 local companies.

The European Parliament also showed its enthusiasm for applying EU legislation on a practical level in its own buildings (see Vice-President MEP Ulrike Lunacek’s video). The EP has called for achieving an NZEB building stock by 2050 in its recent Gierek and Pieper Reports.

The morning conference of REDay2016 was followed by visits of two renovation projects in the framework of the Bâtiment Exemplaires programme run by Bruxelles Environnement. Find out more about BatEx here.

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Download the PPT presentations and more information about the event

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