- Renovation plans should help tackle energy poverty
- Calls for a better promotion and integration of renewable energy in buildings
- Up to two million jobs could be created in the sector
Ahead of the upcoming Renovation Wave announced by the European Commission, MEPs outline proposals to achieve an energy-efficient and climate-neutral building stock by 2050.
The Renovation Wave currently being prepared should also aim to end energy poverty and ensure healthy and safe living conditions for all among its core objectives, say MEPs in a report adopted on Monday in the Industry, Research and Energy committee.
Improving the energy efficiency of buildings would also help alleviate the estimated 50 million households in the European Union experiencing energy poverty, by reducing energy bills. Building and renovation policies should, however, be inclusive and contribute to EU climate goals, but also integrate local value chains and should not lead to an unbearable rental cost burden for tenants, say MEPs.
They also advocate for renewable energies to be fully integrated into the sector, and stress the importance of decarbonised district heating and cooling for more connected communities.
Member states should also propose scrapping schemes to replace old and inefficient heating systems, and establish a roadmap to phase out fossil fuel heating and cooling technologies as part of their national energy and climate plans (NECPs).
The use of natural and low carbon building materials, such as certified wood, should be incentivised, as construction offers an opportunity to store carbon in bio-based building products.
MEPs call on the EU co-legislators to ensure the necessary funding within the EU Economic Recovery Plan. The Commission should revise energy efficiency targets upward, as required by the Energy Efficiency Directive, and propose minimum annual renovation rates for buildings as well as measures creating financial triggers and investment stability.
The Commission should also consider directing revenues from the Emissions Trading System (ETS) into energy efficiency actions such as for building renovations, and to earmark a portion of the auctioning revenue at EU level.
"Increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and the renovation rate in Europe is a win-win. It can provide jobs, healthier buildings as well as contribute to climate neutrality in the context of COVID19 recovery", said lead MEP Ciaran Cuffe (Greens/EFA, IE). "In our report, we have highlighted the need to stimulate local and regional economies engaged in renovation programmes, to generate local jobs and offer opportunities for upskilling, strengthen our communities, fight social hardship through inclusion and dedicated instruments, and to contribute to achieving our climate goals. I am proud to have authored this report and stand with my colleagues in what will be a strong European Parliament position ahead of the upcoming Renovation Wave strategy", he said.
The report was adopted with 57 votes to 8 and 11 abstentions. It will be put to a vote during the September plenary session.
The building sector is the single largest energy consumer in the EU, and 97% of the EU building stock is not energy efficient. Increasing renovation rates could create up to two million jobs in the construction sector according to a study, and would be an important part of both the recovery strategy after the COVID-19 crisis and the European Green Deal.