Building renovation must be top of the EU budget priority list for 2014-2020

CEE Bankwatch Network works across the central and eastern European regions to monitor the activities of international financial institutions and propose constructive environmental and social alternatives to the policies and projects they support. In the 55 issue of the CEE Bankwatch quarterly newsletter from March 2013, Dan Staniaszek, senior energy efficiency expert at BPIE, wrote an article about the importance of buildings renovation.

Beginning its article with the assertion that “the renovation of buildings to high energy performance standards has the potential to be the most cost effective investment any European nation can make, given the benefits in terms of job creation, quality of life, economic stimulus and energy security that such investments deliver”, Mr Staniaszek explains thus why BPIE decided to focus on the topic in its recent report A guide to developing strategies for building energy renovation. This report is a guide to delivering the article 4 requirements of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) on long term strategies for mobilising investment in renovation of national building stocks.

Mr Staniaszek, and BPIE advocate then for the “maximum possible allocation of EU funds to the energy renovation of buildings under the recently agreed multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020.

The multiple benefits arising from energy savings measures accrue to the building owner and investor but also to the owner (savings on the energy bills, improved comfort, increased property value) and society at large (energy imports reduction, jobs creation…). According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, saving energy in buildings is also the cheapest way of reducing carbon emissions.

Developing the renovation strategies required in the EED, adopted last October 2012 means mobilizing funds to invest in these buildings renovation. This is where the EU funding via the MFF could play a key role, by allocating MFF resources to building renovation. BPIE also advocates for “assigning high priority for programmes that stimulate building owners – from private households and small businesses to public bodies and commercial real estate firms – to renovate their properties to very high energy performance levels”, as public funding alone cannot provide all the investment required to improve Europe’s building stock.

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