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Dear reader,

I suspect that you are familiar with the challenge/know this feeling of anxiety/ where to focus your attention first? In a polycrisis world which emergency should be a priority? I don’t think it is appropriate to play one crisis against the other, but I know that the global climate and energy policy community is gathering at COP28 in Dubai during the next two weeks. It is a meeting which will take stock of the progress to align our economies with the Paris Agreement objectives. And to no one’s surprise, the result to date does not look good.

Our own
climate tracker for EU buildings states clearly that we are off track, but the optimist in me sees a small silver lining because the decarbonisation gap closed a little compared to last year. Whether this is the beginning of an improvement trend or not we will see with next year’s tracker. And at COP28, I will present the results of the Global Buildings Climate Tracker,  please join me on-site or online

Light can be found even in the darkest situation, and I am impressed to see how our Ukrainian partner Odessa Housing Union is combining efficiency upgrades in residential buildings with providing bomb shelters for the inhabitants. Together with another partner from Ukraine, DiXi Group, we produced suggestions what role energy efficiency should play in the green recovery of the country.

Moving closer to home, we have a range of recent reports which give reason to be optimistic, such as our report about the implementation of one-stop-shops in Wallonia, or the German report on life-cycle solutions for buildings produced with support from many stakeholders, and our report on overcoming market barriers to Positive Energy Neighbourhoods.

And finally, we have three webinars coming up where you can see the BPIE team and its partners live, one on the EU Building Stock Observatory, one on accelerating renovation in South-East Europe and the Western Balkans, and one on the EU Buildings Climate Tracker. Yes, it will be a busy period before the end of the year, and I hope to see many of you in person or online before we take a well-deserved break.
 
Best wishes,


Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
 
EU BUILDINGS CLIMATE TRACKER 2nd edition: 

A CALL FOR FASTER AND BOLDER ACTION
BPIE's EU Buildings Climate Tracker, now in its second edition, confirms that the EU is facing a considerable gap in its progress towards climate neutrality. To achieve its 2050 goals, the EU must rapidly accelerate the rate of building decarbonisation.

The EU Buildings Climate Tracker (EU BCT) monitors the progress of the building stock in the European Union towards the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, in the form of an index. This second edition analyses the progress of the EU building stock towards climate neutrality from 2015 until 2020.

The tracker finds that the EU building stock remains off track to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.


Compared to the previous results, the decarbonisation gap is slightly reducing, but not to the degree necessary to bring the sector on track towards climate neutrality. The tracker’s value for 2020 should be at 18.1 points but is only at 7.8, resulting in a gap of over 10 decarbonisation points. This significant gap means that the effects of policies and support programmes to decarbonise EU buildings must urgently increase in the coming years. 4.7 points of progress in the decarbonisation of the EU building stock are now required every year to get on track by 2030.
Read the second edition of the EU Buildings Climate Tracker
[Webinar] The EU Buildings Climate Tracker: A call for faster and bolder action
12 December 2023 | 14:00 - 16:00 CET 

The EU Buildings Climate Tracker (EU BCT) confirms that the EU is facing a considerable gap in its progress towards climate neutrality. Join this webinar to discover the EU BCT and understand how it works and the consequences of this year’s results: What are 5 indicators used to measure decarbonisation, and what priority measures should the EU take to get back on track?

In this webinar, you will learn:
  • What are the main results of this year’s EU BCT and what do they mean for Europe in terms of reaching its climate objectives?
  • What are the 5 indicators used in the EU BCT?
  • What are the EU BCT results for different sectors, ie: households, service sector, heating and cooling from renewables, where should we urgently pick up momentum?
  • In view of the interinstitutional negotiations on the EPBD (Europe’s Buildings Directive) what should the EU’s regulatory priorities be to get on track to climate neutrality?
Register here
UKRAINE: ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN GREEN RECOVERY
Energy efficiency in green recovery - Best practices and opportunities for Ukraine

 

Ukraine's plans for a sustainable and green recovery need to include energy efficiency standards. The DiXi Group, together with BPIE, brought together their EU expertise and best practices on energy efficiency in buildings to develop an approach for Ukraine's reconstruction and recovery.

For Ukraine, the issue of energy efficiency is cross-cutting in all reconstruction efforts to ensure that this process is sustainable. In the first months of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukrainian civil society developed the principles of green recovery, one of which is the development of a low-carbon, energy-efficient economy.

Ukraine is already adopting a number of EU practice of buildings that consume minimum of energy. Such as the concept of nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEB) were adopted. According to the Plan, in the next five years, the creation of a regulatory and legal framework is expected, and after 2025 – the transition to new requirements for construction and commissioning of facilities.

Read the report
ComAct: How Odessa is turning basements into shelters while saving on energy bills

“Energy poverty is when people do not have the financial ability to maintain a constant, comfortable temperature in their homes” says Yevhen Malnev, from OHU.

In 2019, the number of Ukrainian citizens not being able to maintain comfortable temperatures reached 30%.

By March 2023, in just 3 months, the basements of ten houses were modernised: insulation of pipelines, replacement of lamps with energy-saving ones, installation of individual heat substations with weather regulation, provision of emergency lighting for ten hours and air conditioning – benefiting over 2200 residents.

“Many elderly people are now left on their own in their apartments, and the nearest bomb shelters are usually inaccessible for most of them.” says Yevhen Malnev from Odessa Housing Union. 

“But when a safe shelter was installed in the basements of their homes, it changed people’s mood, gave them a sense of security and faith that they can survive this war too.” 
 

Read the full story
HIGHLIGHTS
Overcoming Financial and Market Barriers to Positive Energy Neighbourhoods

The opportunities offered by Positive Energy Neighbourhoods are far-reaching: the potential to achieve a climate-neutral building stock, improved comfort and public health for citizens, more climate resilient buildings, alleviating energy poverty, and contributing to our energy security. However, to make our renovation goals a reality while democratizing the just transition, Europe must first create the conditions to make the Positive Energy Neighbourhood approach thrive.

More guidance, adequate funding and policy support are critical to making this future-focused model thrive. Currently, the model is threatened by inflation and
higher borrowing costs, dissuading citizens from renovation or making it out of reach. Pilot projects rely heavily on public funding; more substantial private financing is necessary for fully develop and scale up this neighbourhood model.
Read the policy briefing
Regulation of life cycle GHG emissions from buildings - recommendations for Germany

 

The building sector is responsible for around 40 percent of GHG emissions if embodied carbon emissions are included. With the Sustainable Building Guide, which stipulated a life cycle assessment for federal buildings back in 2011, and the ÖKOBAUDAT database, which was set up as a result, Germany recognized the importance of a life cycle perspective earlier than many other countries.

However, other countries have now overtaken Germany. The Netherlands, France, Denmark, Finland and Sweden have introduced a legal framework for disclosing and limiting values ​​for life-cycle GHG emissions. The analysis of the processes and steps taken by these countries suggests that, in addition to the important basics such as availability of data and methods, there are additional building blocks required for the development and implementation of a life cycle perspective in the building sector. This includes a well-moderated process that promotes stakeholder engagement and knowledge sharing, as well as additional supportive policy measures.

Read the report (German only)
Support for the Renovation Wave: A one-stop-shop for Wallonia
Over the past year, CLIMACT, BPIE, IBF International Consulting & VITO looked at the necessary conditions to trigger a Renovation Wave in Wallonia, Belgium. 

To achieve Wallonia’s Long Term Renovation Strategy, which requires all EPC F and G houses (44% of the housing stock) to be renovated by 2035, a series of key measures must be activated. Existing support schemes are fragmented and renovations too shallow. Massifying schemes that provide tailor made support and solutions for all Walloon households is therefore essential.  

Funded by DG REFORM, the final report shares the main recommendations for policy makers to roll out a #OSS & achieve Wallonia’s energy, climate and renovation objectives.   
Read the report (French only)
BPIE AT COP28

#BuildingsPavilion #BuildingOurFuture
The decarbonisation journey of buildings & construction - how far have we come? A global perspective on progress and delays
4 December 2023 | 13:40 – 14:14 GST

This session will present latest data and analysis about the buildings sector’s alignment with the Paris Agreement from the special edition of the Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction. The presentation will include an update on the global Buildings Climate Tracker and will share latest analysis of key indicators which are shedding a light on the mitigation efforts implemented by government and the private sector.
Learn more

Drivers of decarbonisaton: Transformation, trends, and levers in the buildings sector  progress and delays
5 December 2023 | 11:30 – 13:00 GST

Join the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) at the COP28 Buildings Pavilion they introduce the U.S. Commercial Real Estate Market: State of Decarbonization 2023 report in partnership with Arup.

This report is the first to bring together key data on this sector and the mechanisms for reducing buildings’ carbon emissions in one place, and it offers thought-provoking data on disparities in progress pointing to the need for place-based strategies.
Learn more

Building to Paris: Near zero emission and resilient buildings for all
5 December 2023 | 18:30 – 20:00 GST

This event aims to shed light on the decarbonisation and climate adaptation of the building sector as key components of a climate policy able also to deliver future-proof living spaces, and to announce the organization of the first Buildings and Climate Global Forum and disclose its goals.
Learn more

Watch all events LIVE at this link
In this COP 28 side event, international and Ukrainian experts will discuss frameworks, technologies, policies, and practical steps toward a sustainable reconstruction of infrastructure and the built environment after conflicts and disasters. Speakers will discuss how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during reconstruction to avoid unnecessary climate impacts and share experience in planning reconstruction on national and city levels.
Learn more
OPINIONS
EVENTS
[Webinar] Introducing the new EU Building Stock Observatory  approach
30 November 2023 | 14:00 – 15:00 CET

The European Commission has launched a new and improved version of the EU Building Stock Observatory (BSO)!

The BSO now includes more reliable data for basic building stock indicators, higher quality data visualisations and a more user-friendly interface, and much more is still to come.

Join the webinar to learn about the new BSO improvements and the wider development effort to make the BSO the central EU hub for reliable data on buildings!
 
Register here
[Webinar] Accelerating building renovation in CEE and the Western Balkans
13 December | 11:00 – 11:30 CET

European policies in line with the EPBD recast aim to accelerate building renovations in Europe. The EPBD negotiations are still ongoing and the next trialogue is on 7 December. The burden of implementation on some member states will be significant to meet the ambitions.
  • How will the EPBD recast speed up building renovations? 
  • Are member states and municipalities ready to deliver?
  • What is at stake in the EPBD recast negotiations and what good practices can help?
  • Are building renovations passports a tool under consideration?
These questions and more will be discussed in a webinar organised by BPIE and B4F in context of their participation in the Renocally project.
 
Register here
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EU BUILDINGS CLIMATE TRACKER 2nd edition: 

A CALL FOR FASTER AND BOLDER ACTION
BPIE's EU Buildings Climate Tracker, now in its second edition, confirms that the EU is facing a considerable gap in its progress towards climate neutrality. To achieve its 2050 goals, the EU must rapidly accelerate the rate of building decarbonisation.
 

The EU Buildings Climate Tracker (EU BCT) monitors the progress of the building stock in the European Union towards the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, in the form of an index. This second edition analyses the progress of the EU building stock towards climate neutrality from 2015 until 2020.

The tracker finds that the EU building stock remains off track to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.


Compared to the previous results, the decarbonisation gap is slightly reducing, but not to the degree necessary to bring the sector on track towards climate neutrality. The tracker’s value for 2020 should be at 18.1 points but is only at 7.8, resulting in a gap of over 10 decarbonisation points. This significant gap means that the effects of policies and support programmes to decarbonise EU buildings must urgently increase in the coming years. 4.7 points of progress in the decarbonisation of the EU building stock are now required every year to get on track by 2030.
The analysis for the CEE countries shows an even more worrying trend: by 2020 the progress to decarbonise the building stock is 21 points off the required decarbonisation path, the largest gap since the beginning of the tracker period in 2015. This requires a significant increase of efforts to implement effective policies in the near future. Based on the current situation, 5.7 points of progress in decarbonisation are required every year in the CEE region to get on track by 2030.
Read the second edition of the EU Buildings Climate Tracker
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Dear reader,

I feel like in the movie Groundhog Day (30 years old this year!). As at the end of every summer, I think of starting my message to you with a reference to the extreme weather events of the season. But I won’t this year, as you surely haven’t missed the many news stories about disasters happening around the globe. As Groundhog Day teaches us, it is the changes we make in the present that will alter course to a better future. But enough of my philosophical meanderings, as we now need to focus on taking action.

It is now crunch time to agree legislation for our buildings which will provide healthier housing, schools and workplaces, lower energy bills, and cleaner, thriving cities. In the remaining months of this year, policymakers in national capitals and in Brussels will agree the next Buildings Directive, the EPBD. It is in their hands whether we will finally see a surge of funds flowing into renovation, or whether it will remain a trickle. We now need political vision, courage and boldness to give better buildings to all Europeans. Effective policy will not kick people out of their homes but will ensure that dedicated financial support will encourage investment to improve living conditions. It should also kick-start the growth of a successful renovation industry.

Europe needs a project with which its citizens can identify. What better project than one where citizens will experience a better living situation every day? Implementing a strong EPBD is the right way to launch the project to upgrade our buildings and homes. In our two latest publications we are making suggestions about what policymakers should agree in the coming months. Let’s make sure they don’t find excuses to ignore them. Because we really need to break the groundhog spiral.

Kind regards, 
 
Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: EPBD TRILOGUES
EPBD Trilogues – Crunch time for future-proof buildings legislation! 
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is entering the last phase of the EU legislative process with the start of trilogue negotiations, aiming at reaching a compromise between the positions of the two co-legislators (Council and Parliament). The trilogues represent a crunch time for EU legislation, and all efforts should be put into finding workable compromises and agreeing clear and strong provisions to future-proof buildings.

Adopting a clear, strong and future-proof EPBD is essential for the EU and Member States to close the gap in building decarbonisation and achieve the 2030 climate targets. It will also deliver massive energy and greenhouse gas savings, protecting Europe against future energy crises and providing citizens with comfortable and clean homes. 
From this assessment of the two co-legislators’ positions, it appears that on many items the Parliament’s approach is closer to delivering a strong vision and framework for the buildings sector. It should therefore be seen as the starting point for the negotiations.  

With this in mind, this briefing provides an overview of where institutions stand at the start of the negotiations (and compared to the Commission proposal) on expected impacts of key selected provisions: standard for new buildings, minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings, and the information and enabling framework. It highlights important provisions that need to be preserved, but also describes points of attention which need to be improved.
Read the report
Minimum standards, maximum impact: How to design fair and effective minimum energy performance standards
A policy instrument that effectively accelerates deep energy renovation while being fair to all citizens is urgently needed. Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) can effectively accelerate deep energy renovation, spur innovation and construction, create demand for renovation services, and provide certainty to market players across the value chain.

The new instrument, introduced in the European Commission’s recast EPBD proposal, has been met with resistance by in a number of EU Member States. However, what some decisionmakers don’t–but should – know, is that well-designed MEPS are entirely possible, and that they can be a game changer for the economy and citizens.  

Getting MEPS right means using a differentiated approach that carefully follows a series of design principles.  
To ensure that climate targets are reached, MEPS should apply to all building typologies, with an initial focus on worst-performing buildings. In absolute figures, the floor area of the worst-performing residential buildings is more than twice that of the worst-performing non-residential buildings. Because of this energy saving potential, MEPS should be applied to both residential and non-residential buildings. 

The figure below gives an overview of the final energy consumption of the worst-performing 15% residential buildings in floor area in each member state, illustrating the high amount of energy used for space heating and hot water per square metre per year.
Read the report
HIGHLIGHTS
The Demo-BLog website is live - Check it out!  

Demo-BLog kicked off earlier this year with the aim of demonstrating five digital building logbooks (DBLs) in Europe. The four-year Horizon Europe project will establish DBLs as a central tool to gather all related data to drive net-zero carbon building design, construction, management and renovation.   
Check Demo-BLog’s brand new website and discover the first video of the project to understand all about data transparency in the building sector!  

Follow any updates on the project on Twitter and LinkedIn

Demo-BLog: unlocking the potential of digital building logbooks to achieve climate neutrality in Europe’s building stock.
Adaptation of the building sector to climate change: 10 principles for effective action
UN Secretary-General calls latest IPCC WG1 Climate Report a ‘Code Red for Humanity’, stressing ‘irrefutable’ evidence of human influence, and that “climate impacts will undoubtedly worsen”.
Data collected over the recent decades shows that the climate is currently changing at an unprecedented pace due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe.
Evidence of observed changes in extremes such as heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones, and, in particular, their attribution to human influence, has strengthened since 2007, as shown in the latest IPCC report.

Climate change will have especially severe consequences all over the world for a built environment designed for steady conditions and for the communities that inhabit them. Understanding these consequences will require the use of projected climate data from RCP models on different spatial scales and several time horizons.

Therefore, the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction is proposing “10 Principles for Effective Action” to policymakers and practitioners to join forces and spread climate change adaptation actions in the building sector and willing to track annual progress.  

To support these 10 Principles please contact the GlobalABC Adaptation Working Group at globalabc.adaptationwg@o-immobilierdurable.fr  

Download the 10 principles
OPINIONS
EVENTS
[WEBINAR] Advancing Sustainable Plus Energy Neighbourhoods in Europe: drivers, barriers & policy recommendations 

September 26, 14:00 – 15:00 CET | Online

Sustainable Plus Energy Neighbourhoods (SPENs) have strong potential to decarbonising the building stock, while providing additional benefits for residents both at building and neighbourhood level, enhancing wellbeing and a sense of community. 

Victoria Taranu, BPIE, will give an overview of existing gaps and barriers in the development and market uptake of SPENs, and share policy recommendations for Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and Norway, based on recent policy factsheets produced within the H2020 syn.ikia project.  

Register now
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Dear reader,

While we are waiting for the final negotiation phase of the new Buildings Directive to start, we are putting our eyes on delivering effective policies. In this newsletter, we are presenting our suggestion on how to ensure that a building can be considered ready for the installation of a heat pump. And we are summarizing a list of actions to support positive energy buildings and neighborhoods which we developed in the syn.ikia project for a number of European countries. Also, we are sharing with you the significant progress of projects where we work with local partners to advance renovation and the fight against energy poverty. Finally, don’t miss our recommendations for upcoming events. 

Kind regards, 
Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON
Introducing the Heat Pump Readiness Indicator: How to make Energy Performance Certificates fit for heat pumps
Heat pumps may have a crucial role in the decarbonisation of the building stock in the EU, the uptake of renewable heating and the reduction of our dependency on fossil fuel imports for heating. Heat pumps can support EU decarbonisation efforts to phase out fossil fuels and promote low-temperature district heating systems.

To realise their full potential, it is important to understand if residential EU buildings are fit for heat pump installation and deployment. Energy performance certificates (EPCs) have an important role in conveying this information, especially to building owners.

Commissioned by BEUC, this study:
  1. Defines an approach to measure the “heat pump readiness” of buildings, tested on 30 target buildings across the EU.
  2. Assesses how a break in heating supply may affect indoor temperature and comfort period in target buildings.
  3. Proposes the heat pump readiness indicator (HPRI) and ways to include it in national EPCs, including a list of policy recommendations.
  4. Assumes an air-water heat-pump as the reference heat pump, with a space heating capacity of 15 W per m2 of the building floor area (defined for an outside temperature of 0°C) and supplying hot water at a temperature of 45°C.
While the heat pump readiness indicator is a potential tool to safeguard delivery of a consumer-friendly Renovation Wave, there are various barriers to its deployment. This report provides a broad range of policy recommendations to realise its full potential, from assessment and communication, consistency between the HPRI and EPC calculation methodologies, to technical specifications for different building types.
Read the report
HIGHLIGHTS
Policy recommendations for sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods and buildings 
What are the drivers, potential business models and policy support measures driving the uptake of Sustainable Plus Energy Neighbourhoods?

Sustainable plus energy neighbourhoods have real potential to contribute to decarbonising the building stock, while providing additional benefits for residents both at the building and neighbourhood level. 

The factsheets, published as part of the H2020 project syn.ikia, provide an overview of existing gaps and barriers in the development and market uptake of SPENs, and provides policy
recommendations for 4 countries: Austria, Spain, Norway and the Netherlands. 
Read the factsheets
Conceptualising iBRoad2EPC: can EPCs be upgraded to include building renovation passport elements?
Can EPCs be upgraded to include building renovation passport (BRP) elements? This is the key question that H2020 project iBroad2EPC seeks to address. 

This report investigates the market maturity and potential of six countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain) to combine existing Energy Performance Certificates with future Building Renovation Passports (BRPs). 

The Energy Performance Certificate is one of the EU’s main established instruments that can facilitate the long-term decarbonisation of the building stock by informing, motivating, and inciting building owners to undertake energy renovation. To date, few countries have explored full potential of EPCs.
Building Renovation Passports (BRPs) on the other hand offer an individualised, step-wise renovation journey over time. By joining the two instruments together, EPCs can become a powerful tool to trigger deep and staged energy renovation, paving the way for future implementation of comprehensive BRPs.
Read the report
More about iBRoad2EPC
[e-SAFE project] GREEN AND SEISMIC SAFE SCHOOL FOR TIMIȘOARA
Co-designing a seismic safe and energy efficient renovation plan with students
Since last December, Liceul Sportiv Banatul students and teachers, together with the POLITEHNICA University of Timișoara, met weekly with the e-SAFE consortium, an EU-funded research project, in order to co-design actionable renovation plans for their school through a participatory process.

Students learned extensively of the health, safety and environmental benefits of building renovation, and collectively created a stepwise renovation plan, prioritizing deep energy renovations, as well as structural earthquake safety renovations that would safeguard the school from potential seismic threats. The plan, representing significant energy and financial savings, was unveiled during a public event on March 30, bringing together representatives from Liceul Sportiv Banatul, the City of Timișoara, the Romanian Association of Building Services Engineers, the West Regional Development Agency, the POLITEHNICA University of Timișoara, the University of Cantania, and BPIE.

Our youth deserve to be educated in buildings which are safe, comfortable and suitable for the educational process. Renovation is the keyword. It needs to start happening much more, much faster.’ says Dr. Eng. Ioan Silviu DOBOSI, President of the Romanian Association of Building Services Engineers and representative of POLITEHNICA University of Timișoara.
Learn more about seismic renovation
New projects
  • Renocally, a new project funded by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) has just launched. The two-year project will build capacity for municipalities and policymakers in Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia to decarbonize the countries’ building stock in a cost-efficient, people-centric way, taking into account legislative changes at EU level. Learn more
  • Demo-BLog, a new EU-funded project under the Horizon 2020 framework, kicked off last month in Delft, Netherlands. The 4-year project aims to unlock the potential of Digital Building Logbooks (DBLs) to accelerate decarbonization of the European building stock through further developing and demonstrating the tool and fostering its market deployment. Learn more.
  • INDICATE brings together governments, industry and academia to tackle one of the most common barriers to enacting policies which will ensure climate neutral construction: a lack of reliable and comprehensive emissions data for buildings. Learn more.
EVENTS
Energy crisis in CEE/SE region: how to make sure homeowners are better prepared for next winter
14 June 2023, 1:00PM CEST | Online

The unprecedented crisis of 2022 made countries in Europe, and in particular in the Central, Eastern and Southern European (CEE/SE) region even more vulnerable to energy poverty. According to a recent analysis by European Environmental Bureau on gas and electricity saving measures adopted by EU states, governments of CEE countries have achieved less energy demand reduction than Western European countries.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the question of energy and independence of Russian gas has amplified the need to reduce gas demand by incentivizing faster energy efficiency improvements and encouraging behavioural changes among consumers. 

This webinar will be an opportunity to look back at the past winter and discuss current risks and possible solutions to protect vulnerable groups from higher bills in the coming winter.

Register now
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Dear reader,

2023 will be a year in which we are expecting a number of policy landmark decisions for the buildings and construction sector in Europe. These decisions must ensure that our buildings will become increasingly more efficient, energy bills will be affordable and the climate impact of the sector will decrease. In early February, the European Parliament Committee ITRE managed to reach a compromise on the EPBD so that the final negotiations between all three institutions can start soon.

But while the achieved agreement strengthened the original proposal, it includes many options for member states to reduce renovation efforts and to keep fossil fuels in our heating systems. This is in stark contrast to the renovation benefits which we are highlighting in our latest analysis on insulating our buildings. 

The task of transforming our buildings has two sides: while we rightly focus on reducing their climate impact, extreme weather events are reminding us that climate change is here. Our efforts to make our buildings more resilient to the impacts of climate change must increase, as I argue in my latest opinion piece.

Innovation in how we design, plan, build and renovate is essential. In our latest publication from our Berlin office, we are presenting a roadmap for the country to tackle the full life cycle emissions of buildings and construction, designed in a co-creation process with many stakeholders in Germany. And our new project on digital building logbooks will develop innovative ways how to use data for the benefit of improving our buildings, just as our market report on Energy Performance Certificates highlights how renovation guidance could be improved with this well-established instrument. And if you are a innovation practitioner, check out the call for energy-positive neighborhood innovations of the OpenLab project.

Finally, the horrible impacts of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria give our project e-SAFE a sad urgency; in our interview we talk about how citizens should be involved to increase seismic safety in combination with energy renovation.

Enjoy the reading.

Kind regards,
 
Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: HOW TO STAY WARM AND SAVE ENERGY
Insulation opportunities in European homes
This study shows that improving the insulation of all existing residential buildings in the EU would significantly contribute to securing the bloc’s energy independence, and achieving climate neutrality by 2050. Full renovation of EU residential buildings would result in a 44% reduction of energy demand for heating in buildings, or 777 TWh savings.

Investing in building renovation can considerably reduce the use of fossil fuels for heating in buildings, potentially reaching 46% in gas savings, 44% in heating oil savings and 48% in coal savings and can therefore contribute to addressing Europe’s climate ambitions and energy security concerns.
To fully benefit from the savings potential (777 TWh), the entire residential building stock must therefore be renovated by 2050. This means the current renovation rate of 1% must be at least doubled by 2030, reach 3% by 2035, and 4% by 2040.
The final negotiations of the EPBD in the coming months present an opportunity that Europe cannot afford to miss. 
The EPBD should define deep renovation as the standard and agree renovation requirements which deliver on this standard, are fair and backed by attractive financial support for all who need it.

Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) should be designed on a differentiated basis according to ownership structure, and focus on worst-performing buildings across all segments first. Even in a step-by-step approach, all renovations and especially the first step should pull the building out of the category of worst-performing buildings. 
Public funds including emergency relief, recovery funds and subsidy schemes should all be designed towards supporting deep renovations of buildings, fully phasing out fossil fuels.
Read the report
HIGHLIGHTS
A life cycle roadmap for buildings in Germany
Germany has taken important steps to reduce life cycle GHG emissions in buildings by linking financial support for new buildings to limit values on GHG emissions. However, to further reduce whole life carbon emissions, additional action must be taken.
BPIE developed a roadmap with clear milestones until 2045 to reduce whole life carbon emissions in the German building sector. Priority policy areas for successful implementation include:  
  • Setting legally binding limits for life cycle GHG emissions 
  • Ensuring financial support for circular construction  introducing digital tools to increase data transparency and support decision-making 
  • Extending producer responsibility for building products
  • Removing existing barriers to circular and sustainable construction.   
     
Read the report (DE)
Unlocking the potential of digital building logbooks to achieve climate neutrality
Demo-BLog, a new EU-funded project under the Horizon 2020 framework, kicked off last month in Delft, Netherlands. The 4-year project aims to unlock the potential of digital building logbooks (DBLs) to accelerate decarbonization of the European building stock through further developing and demonstrating the tool, and fostering its market deployment.
What is a Digital Building Logbook?

A Digital Building Logbook is an all-in-one information tool meant to encourage data transparency and availability and simplify decision-making for stakeholders across the building value chain.
This includes property owners, tenants, investors, financial institutions and public administrations. 

To date,  a lack of a common repository for all relevant building data has amounted to additional costs and inefficiencies, stifled innovation, increased risk and low investor confidence. Built environment stakeholders have widely divergent data needs and the information flow is complex. 
Digital building logbooks have the potential to help overcome these issues and accelerate Europe’s transition to a climate-neutral building stock, in line with the renovation wave and 2050 climate target.

Demo-BLog aims to establish DBLs as a central tool to drive net-zero carbon building design, construction, management and renovation.  

Be on the lookout for updates on the project and join the conversation on Digital Building Logbooks and centralized data repositories by following the hashtag: #DBLs on social media.
Learn more
How to make citizens want to renovate? Co-design process in e-SAFE pilot in Timișoara, Romania
Interview with Verena Pavone, Urban Planner at UNICT & e-SAFE partner
You will be leading e-SAFE efforts on the ground in Timișoara and Bucharest to co-design an energy efficient, seismic-safe renovation project together with building owners and occupants over a period of several months. This is a huge task! Can you tell us a bit about what the process will look like, and explain your role in all of this? 
 
Vera: The word "co-design" refers to a participatory, co-creative, and open design process where the building’s end users share their ideas, needs, and aspirations with the technical experts so that together they can identify the best solutions framed within a common background. It will be a mutual learning process that involves all the people who have a stake in the building. This kind of process requires a long time to be effective. As a result, the activities will be scheduled over a period of three months and arranged to address all issues related to the building's deep renovation (thermal systems, structure, architectural issues, etc.) in a way that is understandable to everyone.

As an expert in participatory processes, I am responsible to ensure high quality and democratic governance of the process, to build confidence and trust in decision making, to generate a greater understanding of issues, concerns, priorities, and solutions among stakeholders, to increase mutual learning through the sharing of information, data, and experiences, to reach agreements in a collaborative manner and of course, to create enthusiasm in being part of it. Yes, it is a huge task, but it is fun!
Read the full interview
Be part of something BIG – Open Call for Innovators
The oPEN Lab Open Call intends to involve European innovators interested in enhancing their innovation capacity and exploiting their innovative solutions in PENs. Within the framework of the oPEN Lab H2020 project, the cities of Genk, Tartu and Pamplona commit to making interventions and test combinations of different close-to-market ready solutions. This setting provides a chance to study the performance of technologies as a unique operating system based on eight main challenges identified by the three oPEN Living Labs.
Learn more
BPIE OPINIONS
EVENTS
'Tackling the energy crisis through data sharing’ – WSED 2023
3 March 2022, 9:00 – 11:30 | Wels, Austria

Taking place 28 February to 3 March 2023 in Wels, Austria, the World Sustainable Energy Days show the critical role of the energy transition in securing our clean energy future and concrete policies, technologies and markets to get us there.

BuiltHub will host its own workshop during the Energy Efficiency Conference, on 3 March 2023 from 9:00-11:30. The session will focus on how to help data sharing communities accelerate the transformation of the European building stock.

Agenda
Registration
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Dear reader,
 
As 2022 is drawing to a close, I am looking back on a year which brought (un)expected (?) developments of which one could imagine that they are changing our priorities in energy and climate change policymaking. But I have to confess that I am disappointed and my optimism is sobered.

At the end of 2022, agreement on more ambitious policies still seems to be hampered by the same old arguments. Whether we look at the struggle for a higher energy saving target in the Energy Efficiency Directive (to which many member states oppose), whether we look at the watered-down compromise position of the national governments on the Buildings Directive and the opposition of the European People’s Party to renovation standards, or whether we look at the near-failure of COP27, it seems that the urgency to accelerate our efforts in securing a resilient and efficient energy system, and to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is still not understood by all.
 
While I may sound pessimistic, I am not. We at BPIE are making every effort to advance policy thinking, and to present evidence and ideas why and how we can have better policies for the benefit of all. And this is what this final newsletter of the year is about. It gives you a selected summary of the many papers, reports, ideas and events we created this year. I am proud of the hard-working and persistent team which is behind all this, and I am grateful to the many partners and funders which allow us to make these contributions. Whatever the future will throw at us, we will continue suggesting constructive ideas and actions which provide the right answers to the crises and challenges of our time, so that our buildings will be the cornerstone of a climate-neutral and fair Europe.
 
I would like to thank you, dear reader, for the interest you are showing in our work, otherwise you would not be reading these sentences. I am looking forward to continue our exchange and collaboration in 2023.

Warm regards,

Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
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Dear reader,

Another climate conference, COP27 is behind us, and the push for an urgent acceleration in decarbonisation is still missing. However, at least the buildings sector seems willing to tackle the challenge in the context of the COPs with the launch of a Buildings Breakthrough. This initiative will now have to win many supporters so that a real commitment can be secured at the upcoming COP28 in 2023. That faster action is needed was confirmed in the annual Status Report of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction which was launched in early November. The Global Climate Buildings Tracker in the report shows a growing gap between the actual decarbonisation progress of the sector and the path on which it should be.

Closer to home, we've included a roundup of outputs from the X-tendo H2020 project, which closed this fall. The project took important strides towards advancing the EU wide energy performance certificate framework, developing and testing ten new features for energy performance certificates in the EU. And in Berlin we will present a roadmap for Germany to reduce the whole life carbon impact of buildings in an event on 2 December. Registrations are still open, the event will be held in German language.

Finally, the discussion about the best design and implementation strategy for Minimum Energy Performance Standards continues, as the documentation of the recent Renovate Europe Day summarises nicely. I am sure we will hear more about this topic in the coming weeks and months.

Warm regards
Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: GLOBAL STATUS REPORT FOR BUILDINGS AND CONSTRUCTION 2022
The global buildings and construction sector remains off track to achieve decarbonisation by 2050
Despite a substantial increase in investment and success at a global level, the 2022 edition of the UN Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction shows that the building sector’s total energy consumption and CO2 emissions increased in 2021 above pre-pandemic levels. Operational energy-related CO2 emissions were up 5 per cent over 2020, and 2 per cent over the pre-pandemic peak in 2019.
 
BPIE’s Global Buildings Climate Tracker (GBCT) indicates that the buildings and construction sector remains off track to achieve decarbonisation by 2050.

The GBCT shows a negative rebound since 2020 in the decarbonisation of the buildings sector, with increased energy intensity and higher emissions. The gap between the actual climate performance of the sector and the necessary decarbonization pathway is widening. The lack of structural or systemic decarbonisation improvement in the building sector leaves its emissions reductions vulnerable to external factors.

The report highlights that immediate action must be taken to ensure that embodied carbon in buildings does not undermine the carbon reductions achieved from energy efficiency. Materials used in the construction of buildings (i.e. concrete, steel, aluminium, glass and bricks) are estimated to represent around 9% of overall energy-related CO2 emissions, and globally, approximately 100 billion tonnes of waste is caused by construction, renovation and demolition, with about 35% sent to landfills. Raw material use is also predicted to double by 2060 – with steel, concrete and cement already major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, and in fast-growing developing economies, construction materials are set to dominate resource consumption, with associated GHG emissions expected to double by 2060.


A whole-life cycle approach to construction is essential to maximise sustainability. In the EU with new building standards of zero energy buildings entering into force from 2025, accounting for embodied carbon will become increasingly important in the coming years.

Read the 2022 Global Status Report
Read the press release
HIGHLIGHTS
[Policy briefing] How to make Energy Performance Certificates catalysts for energy renovation & realise their full potential?
To strategically support Member States in meeting the requirements set up under the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) – currently under negotiation – it is crucial to realise the full potential of energy performance certificates (EPCs) as effective information tools. This means making EPCs a catalyst for energy renovations and transforming them into a reliable asset benefiting policymakers, public authorities and end-users.

Building on the main results from the X-tendo project, this briefing is targeted at policymakers at EU and Member State level, public authorities and institutions responsible for the design, implementation and management of EPCs. X-tendo partners developed and tested 10 innovative features, that can bring EPCs to the next level: (1) smart readiness, (2) comfort, (3) outdoor air pollution, (4) real energy consumption, (5) potential of district energy connection. A further group of five features is related to the better use and handling of EPC data: (6) quality assurance through EPC databases, (7) digital building logbooks, (8) enhanced recommendations for building owners, (9) advice on financing options, and (10) new and more effective one-stop-shops. 

The recommendations proposed by X-tendo emphasise that better coverage of the building stock with EPCs is a precondition for their improvement, but at the same time Member States need to ensure that they are affordable and accessible. 
Read the policy recommendations
Access the toolbox
[Report] X-tendo next generation EPCs
The go-to resource to implement and replicate X-tendo innovative features
This report presents the implementation guidelines and replicability potential of ten innovative features proposed within X-tendo: smart readiness, comfort, outdoor air pollution, real energy consumption, district energy, EPC databases, building logbook, enhanced recommendations, financing options, and one-stop-shops.

The outcome of the study is a critical presentation of the barriers and drivers for each feature’s wide uptake, their impact if implemented by member states and the necessary next steps in order to implement the innovative features in certification schemes around Europe. The developed features were tested in nine countries: Austria (AT), UK-Scotland (UK), Italy (IT), Denmark (DK), Estonia (EE), Romania (RO), Portugal (PT), Poland (PL) and Greece (GR).

The experts who tested these features provided deeper insights, appropriate directions and policy perspectives which provided in turn a realistic estimation for its implementation and replicability across different Member States.
Read the report
[Blog] Testing innnovative EPC features in nine EU countries
This series of blog posts summarises the results of testing ten innovative EPC features in nine EU countries.

Depending on the feature, the X-tendo partners performed different types of tests: In-building tests apply the feature materials on concrete buildings, user tests consist of understanding the user perception related to the developed materials and ideas, system tests intend to understand the application of feature ideas and materials in related systems like EPC database systems. 
 
Read the blog posts
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