About 40 % of Europe's energy demand is generated by the need to heat, light and cool buildings. As nearly half of all European residential buildings were constructed before 1970, retrofitting existing homes to increase energy efficiency is just as important as building new zero-energy homes. Several EU projects are testing new ways to make renovations faster, better, cheaper and more energy efficient.
The Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) (Directive 2012/27/EU) and the revised Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD) (Directive 2018/844) both contain provisions for increasing Europe's renovation rate.
The greatest challenge to reducing energy use in buildings lies in increasing the rate, quality and effectiveness of building renovation, since the current rate is merely 1.2 % per year. Effective renovation approaches need to be widely demonstrated and then replicated to ensure that the renovation rate rises to between 2 % and 3 % each year.
Research conducted at all levels
- This CORDIS Results Pack focuses on seven EU-funded projects working with public and private actors. One initiative, EmBuild, collaborated with public authorities to establish effective long-term strategies that mobilise investment in energy efficiency renovations of their building stock.
- The HERON project has developed a decision support tool that quantifies behavioural barriers to help policymakers improve model scenarios for future energy demand and increase the adoption rate of energy efficiency measures.
- Meanwhile, NewTREND created an integrated approach to reduce disparities between the estimated and actual energy performance of building renovations, while exploiting the potential synergies of working at neighbourhood level. The REFURB project worked at the regional level to remove the obstacles currently preventing householders from progressing with energy refurbishments to create a zero-energy home.
- Thanks to RentalCal, investors and building owners have a tool to support them in deciding whether to invest in energy-efficient refurbishments in the private rental market. The TRANSITION ZERO project sought to establish the correct market conditions to enable net zero-energy whole-house refurbishments on an industrial scale in France and the United Kingdom, building on the Energiesprong approach pioneered in the Netherlands.
- Finally, under URBAN LEARNING, eight European cities worked together to improve their governance structures and integrate energy aspects into their urban design and planning processes.
All these projects demonstrate innovative tools and processes that can positively contribute to more cost-effective, higher quality, and faster deep renovations of buildings involving less disturbance to the residents. They also show that reducing the energy consumption of Europe’s building stock requires closer cooperation of governments, local authorities, the construction sector as well as home owners.