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Housing needs green new deal for climate and social crises

Date

17 Jun 2019

Sections

Sustainable Dev.

Brussels, 17 June 2019


Most of Europe's buildings urgently need to be renovated, to create a climate-neutral Europe and comfortable, affordable homes. As leaders discuss the EU's agenda for the next five years, Eurima (the European Insulation Manufacturers Association) is calling for urgent action on buildings. 

“Without the acceleration of building renovations, Europe will not be able to meet its climate objectives or lift millions of households from energy poverty. We need a full transformation of our building stock within three decades to tackle the twin crises of climate emergency and inequality” says Jan te Bos, director-general of Eurima. “This means that EU leaders should prioritize unlocking massive investments for affordable, comfortable and energy-efficient housing.”

Most of us spend up to 90% of our time indoors, and the environmental performance of our buildings is vital for our wellbeing, as well as for the fight against climate change. For the sake of our health and our planet, the EU building stock needs to be nearly zero-energy by 2050. Building renovations are happening at a too slow and incremental a pace to meet this objective.

“The buildings sector can fully decarbonise using solutions that are commercially available today, such as better insulation. But much more action on the ground is needed including dedicated finance and the upskilling of workers” according to te Bos. “Furthermore, millions of EU families are still living in unhealthy houses that they cannot afford to properly heat or cool. By investing in better buildings, EU leaders can show that climate action goes hand in hand with good living and working conditions for all.”

Eurima has developed an action plan “Better buildings for a better future” setting out priorities for  incoming EU policymakers. This means: setting up a dedicated building renovation fund to leverage the additional 130 billion euro needed every year for energy-efficiency investments in buildings, phasing out the worst energy performing buildings, and introducing building renovation passports.

Besides making renovation happen, the association calls for measures to ensure that building activities and renovations are done sustainably. The action plan is launched alongside an Arcadis report on the future of the European built environment.

EU heads of state are expected to agree on the EU’s future strategic agenda during the European Council meeting on 20 and 21 June.

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