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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
BPIE OPINIONS
EVENTS
[DE] Fahrplan für Deutschland – Integration einer Lebenszyklusperspektive für den Gebäudebereich

3 Dezember 2022, 9:00 – 13:00 | Hotel Aquino, Berlin
Das BPIE Berlin Office lädt Sie am 2. Dezember zur Veranstaltung „Fahrplan für Deutschland – Integration einer Lebenszyklusperspektive für den Gebäudebereich“ ein.

Die EU-Kommission erarbeitet eine Whole-Life-Carbon Roadmap für den Gebäudesektor. Wir präsentieren unsere Ideen für einen solchen Fahrplan in Deutschland und diskutieren mit Akteuren aus der Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft, Politik, und Nicht-Regierungsorganisationen über die Integration der Lebenszyklusperspektive im Gebäudebereich. Welche Maßnahmen sind zu priorisieren, um die Emissionen und den ökologischen Fußabdruck ganzheitlich und langfristig zu verringern? Diskutieren Sie mit!

 

Unsere Agenda ist gefüllt mit Beiträgen von EU-Kommission, EU-Mitgliedsstaaten, UBA und BMWK sowie einer Panel-Diskussion mit Unternehmen, NGOs, und Politik. Die Veranstaltung findet im Rahmen des Projektes „Kreisläufe konstruieren – Innovationschancen für den Gebäudesektor“ statt. 
Wir freuen uns, Sie dabei zu haben!

Für mehr Hintergrund: Bericht zu EU Rahmen sowie Bericht zu rechtlichen Rahmenbedingungen in Deutschland 

Agenda
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BPIE was thankful to participate in Renovate Europe's REDay2022 high level conference and hear political leaders' in the European Commission and Parliament commitment to building renovation as one of the best investments towards achieving Europe’s energy security.
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Dear reader,

Our recently launched European Buildings Climate Tracker leaves no doubt: we must accelerate the renovation of our buildings. And yes, the combined shortage of craftsmen and high prices for construction materials and efficient technologies do not make this task easier. We are now paying the bill for decades of neglect in which energy renovation could have been scaled up. But it does not help to blame inaction in the past, we should rather search for answers to get us out of the crisis we are in. One of the most promising solutions is to scale up our renovation actions to an “industrial level” as we suggest in one of our newest publications. Today, this technique is still in its infancy, but the growing serial renovation market is testimony to the promises this solution holds. To trigger more renovations, we need to set Minimum Energy Performance Standards for our buildings. This can be done in a way which is socially fair and put the renovation of worst buildings first as we argue in our latest contributions to this debate. At the same time, we must ensure to reduce the complete climate impact of buildings; in a new policy briefing we describe how the updated EPBD could support this goal.


The Renovation Wave does not only equal technology innovation but also social innovation for a just transition as we discuss in our #ClimateConversations with the global network SOLIDAR. And a new report from the ComAct project describes the design of financing instruments which fight energy poverty. ComAct was one of the finalists in the European Sustainable Energy Awards earlier this week.

All this and more below for inspired and constructive policy debates,
 
Enjoy the reading,
 
Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: EU BUILDINGS CLIMATE TRACKER
Member States and EU Parliament should aim at transformational EPBD revision, EU Buildings Climate Tracker shows 
Decarbonisation of the building stock is off track and much behind the path to climate neutrality by 2050, according to the EU Buildings Climate tracker, developed by BPIE this year. The Tracker is a response to the challenges of collecting and using data to monitor and assess decarbonisation in the EU building stock and will monitor progress annually.
 
Designed as a high-level index based on 6 indicators, the tracker showcases the progress of the EU building stock towards full decarbonisation by 2050 on a 0-100 scale, starting from the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, until 2019, currently the last year for which indicator data is available.

In 2019, the index has a calculated value of 0.48 on a scale between 0 (reference situation in 2015) and 100 (climate neutrality in 2050), while it should be at 14 points. Four years of potential progress towards climate objectives have been lost. The Tracker also indicates that building decarbonisation is far from progressing at the speed needed. The achieved progress between 2015 and 2019 was a 0.12 point annual improvement, while it should have been at 3.6 points.

To catch up, the annual rate of improvement as of 2019 until 2030 must now be at 5 points per year. This is strong evidence for the urgent need for additional action that should be reflected in a transformational outcome of legislative discussions on the EPBD. In the run up to Council negotiations on the EPBD, Member States should prioritise the foundational role buildings play against the backdrop of climate change and the energy crisis and this should be reflected in the most ambitious possible EPBD revision. 

Considering the strong catch-up needed in terms of decarbonisation of the building stock, there is no time to lose and no possibility to take it slow or be shy in the actions taken. This is the only way to keep the promises of the Paris Agreement alive. 

Read the report
HIGHLIGHTS
[Policy briefing] Reducing carbon emissions over the life of a building: opportunities in the 2022 EPBD recast
Deploying whole-life carbon (WLC) measures in the EPBD recast will be a win-win for energy performance and climate action at the building and industry level. A stepwise approach and a clear timeline that go beyond 2030 needs to be set out in the EPBD recast.

Most estimates suggest that embodied carbon accounts for about 10% of total yearly greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The relative importance is expected to grow as more buildings are constructed and renovated to higher efficiency standards and could account for over 50% of all emissions from the buildings sector in the near future. For the EU building sector this is estimated to be between 12 and 15 Gt CO2 – which will be used up by sometime in the 2030s unless drastic action is taken now.

Against this backdrop, this briefing is a call to action for policymakers to include a clear legislative roadmap for WLC into this revision of the EPBD. Waiting until the next revision in 2027 will not create the momentum that is urgently needed to kick-start the process, representing years of lost time.

Read the policy briefing
[Factsheet] Impact assessment of Minimum Energy Performance Standards in the context of the EPBD revision
 
Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) are under discussion in the frame of the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) as a tool to trigger renovation of buildings in the European Union and reduce GHG emissions, and if designed right, with the potential to massively reduce energy poverty.

However, governments might be massively undermining this potential by seeking to apply weakened MEPS compared to the initial proposals. This would completely negate the significant benefits for Europe’s struggling families.

To inform this discussion, Climact and BPIE modelled the impacts of MEPS schemes on the European building stock, using three main scenarios: the Commission's EPBD revision proposal, the REPower EU MEPS proposal, and a third more ambitious option. The modelling shows that both the Commission proposal and even REPowerEU are insufficient to bring the EU in line with Fit for 55 targets. 
Read the factsheet
[Policy briefing] How to take EPCs to the next level?
Recommendations to integrate new features into EPC schemes 
To strategically support Member States in meeting the requirements set up under the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), 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 endusers (building owners, tenants, utilities, developers, financial institutions and other users).

This briefing, built on the main results of the X-tendo project, provides recommendations on how to take EPC schemes to the next level. The project developed 10 innovative EPC features; five are new indicators that can be added to existing certificates. 
Read the policy briefing
[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 this final X-tendo report 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
[Policy briefing] Innovation in construction
Recommendations for industrialised renovation
Innovation in construction is urgently required to increase the rate and depth of renovations, as progress on the ground has been slow despite a flurry of policy initiatives. Using prefabricated building components produced at an industrial scale (a process known as industrial prefabrication) is one promising solution. Beyond delivering carbon emission savings, industrial prefabrication has the potential to drive innovation in the construction sector. It prepares actors across the value chain to integrate digital solutions and optimise the renovation process.
Nevertheless, the regulatory and incentive framework does not yet enable successful industrialised renovation at scale, and existing policy gaps must be addressed to realise its potential. In our latest policy briefing we present concrete policy levers for four key themes, and details how EU, national and local policymakers can accelerate the uptake of industrially prefabricated renovation solutions.
Read the report
Share your views! How can we quantify and monetise the multiple-benefits of Sustainable Plus Energy Neighbourhoods? 

The syn.ikia H2020 project seeks to quantify the multiple-benefits (or non-energy benefits) of Sustainable Plus Energy Neighbourhoods. For this, it will determine social, economic and environmental benefits that they bring to stakeholders.

Syn.ikia seeks to capture how these benefits can be monetised to support decision-makers through the development of a calculation tool.


‘How do you see multiple benefits generating value for you, your businesses or policies? What do you need to make decisions on innovative investments or policies?’

Your response to this survey (about 10 mins) is valuable to understand the relevant multiple benefits to you (e.g. better access to energy services, reduced GHG emissions, impact on health, etc.) at the neighbourhood level.
  
For any questions regarding the survey, please contact us here.
Take the survey
[Report] Financing schemes to increase renovation rates
Access of energy poor households to financing for building renovation 
Totally contradictory approaches to financing deep renovation of multifamily residential buildings, exist across the ComAct H2020 project's five pilot countries - Bulgaria, Republic of North Macedonia, Hungary, Lithuania and Ukraine, - according its latest analysis

These range from a 100% renovation grant in Bulgaria, to market-based schemes supporting only preparation of project documentation and interest rates for solvent households in Lithuania.
Among the reasons for this are certainly the different legal and institutional frameworks and the varying access of financial resources, but most importantly, the distinct development trajectories that have been followed by the countries in the transition from the communist heritage.


The analysis additionally reveals that 'energy poverty' as a concept is still not widely understood as distinct from social vulnerability. This would require higher advocacy efforts and collaborative engagement with public and private financing institutions to help those households who, burdened with excessive energy costs, experience difficulties to provide resources to secure their share in renovation programmes.
The proposed financing schemes are expected to steer the local dialogues in this direction, building on the new requirements of the proposal for a new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive promoting the common EU definition for energy poverty and the minimum renovation standards. 
Read the report
#BPIEClimateConversations
What is a 'Just Transition' and what should the key priorities be to ensure this transition takes place? 
In this Climate Conversation, BPIE connected with Andrea Casamenti, Policy officer for Just Transition at SOLIDAR, a European and worldwide network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). The aim of the discussion was to dig into the concept of ‘Just Transition’, a concept that is linked to energy transition and climate crisis. In this interview, SOLIDAR not only suggests how to define a ‘Just Tranistion’ but also what the key priorities for Europe should be to ensure this transition takes place.
Read BPIE's Climate Conversation with SOLIDAR
[Report] How to operationalise Energy Efficiency First in the EU?Recommendations to Member States
There is no one-size-fits all recipe for EU Member States to ensure correct and ambitious execution of the Energy Efficiency First (EE1st) principle on the ground. Likewise, implementation is not necessarily about adopting new policies: it is firstly about ensuring that the existing policies and regulations are in line with the EE1st principle.

Against this background, this report provides a set of recommendations applicable for all Member States to support implementation of EE1st in their national policies.  Adjustments to decision-making, governance structures and the right incentives in investment frameworks need to be introduced across all areas, including in building policies, the power sector, climate action, and governance.

Whatever the governance structure in the country, a clear definition of the main roles according to the jurisdiction levels is essential to enable cooperation, and thereby bring about integrated approaches.
Read the report
BPIE OPINIONS
RECENT EVENTS
EU Buildings Climate Tracker - first edition
How can the EPBD close the rapidly growing decarbonisation gap?
The first edition of the EU Buildings Climate Tracker shows that the buildings sector is not advancing at the required pace to meet the EU's climate objectives for 2030 and 2050, suggesting a need for a transformational outcome of the legislative discussions on the EPBD.

This event brought together policymakers from the EU Council, the Commission, the Parliament and leading policy expert Eurocities, with a view to anticipating bottlenecks and solutions to ensuring an EPBD revision with maximum ambition.

Watch the recording
Activate finance against energy poverty: suitable financial schemes to mitigate energy poverty  
ComAct @ EUSEW22
Organised as part the European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) extended programme, this interactive session targeted all stakeholders working on developing new financial schemes to finance energy transition and also those protecting the rights of vulnerable consumers.

In the H2020 ComAct project, a special focus is set on the energy poverty issue in multi-apartment buildings, which is often not considered in designing new financial schemes and subsidy programs. While co-financing for middle- and high-income owners can be provided through various financial instruments, for low-income owners and those suffering from energy poverty, national schemes should provide a different type of support so that they can be efficiently involved in the programs. 

Watch the recording
Positive energy neighbourhoods for Europe's fair, effective and resilient energy transition 
OpenLAB @ EUSEW22
Led by OpenLAB with contributing speakers from the IEA and the H2020 projects ARV and PRONOBO, this session highlighted the importance of Positive Energy Neighbourhoods (PEN) enabling community driven decarbonisation.
A fast roll-out of Sustainable and Positive Energy Neighbourhoods (PEN) is essential to enable a full decarbonisation of our cities, including both social and technological innovations. For the EU to become energy independent, a reduction of the energy demand of the existing building stock is required. A key priority is thus the redesign and retrofit of existing buildings and neighbourhoods, making them future proof. 
Watch the recording
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Dear reader,

As the weather is heating up, most of us are slowing down and preparing for a much needed break after a busy first half of 2022. However, we cannot give up attention, as the disappointing results of the Energy Council on the 27th of June are showing us. Energy ministers rejected the European Parliament’s higher energy efficiency target of 15% a year instead of 9% in the EED. As confirmed by our new EU Buildings Climate Tracker, this was not the right move:  building decarbonisation since the Paris Agreement entered into force in 2015 has barely moved, and we have calculated that four years of potential progress towards climate neutrality have been lost. It’s not time to slow down, it’s time to speed up.

That said, the EPBD revision remains a crucial opportunity to catch up, if the Member States are willing to make an effort in agreeing futureproof policies which will increase Europe’s energy security, while protecting us from the most severe climate change impacts. What we heard about the ongoing discussions by member states regarding the EPBD is not encouraging. I hope that a group of governments will ensure that we will have an EPBD agreement which is living up to the threats of our times, and not one which equals a race to the bottom. The fact that so many Europeans are now suffering from high energy prices is a direct consequence of the years lost in improving energy efficiency. It is therefore high time to change tack and agree policies which safeguard all Europeans.

This newsletter is full of ideas. Our OpenLab briefing provides concrete recommendations how to scale positive energy neighbourhoods through a citizen-driven approach;  e-SAFE suggests how to implement seismic safety renovations into the EPBD as a way to ensure integrated energy efficiency renovations; ComACT is providing cost-optimal solutions to increase energy efficiency in places where energy poverty is particularly severe.

As this (very dense!) mail shows, there is no lack of solutions. Implementation will be a keyword in the coming months and years. To do so, it’s also necessary to recharge our batteries. With that in mind, we wish you a refreshing summer break.

 
Enjoy the reading,
 
Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: EU BUILDINGS CLIMATE TRACKER 
Urgency to close the buildings decarbonisation gap
BPIE’s newly developed EU Buildings Climate Tracker finds that the EU is facing a growing gap in advancing towards climate neutrality in the sector. This first edition provides evidence for the urgent need for additional action that should be reflected in a transformational outcome of legislative discussions on the EPBD.

BPIE’s newly developed EU Buildings Climate Tracker is a high-level index showcasing the progress of the EU building stock towards full decarbonisation by 2050 on a 0-100 scale, starting from the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, until 2019, currently the last year for which indicator data is available.

The results show that the buildings sector is not on track to achieve climate neutrality in 2050.
In 2019, the index has a calculated value of 0.48 on a scale between 0 (reference situation in 2015) and 100 (climate neutrality in 2050), while it should be at 14 points. The Tracker also indicates that building decarbonisation is far from progressing at the speed needed. The achieved progress between 2015 and 2019 was a 0.12 point annual improvement, while it should have been at 3.6 points.

This means that building decarbonisation is off track and much behind the path to climate neutrality by 2050. While the index should have been at 14 points in 2019, it is barely above 0, thus at almost the same level in 2019 as in 2015. Put differently, four years of potential progress towards climate neutrality by 2050 have been lost.

Besides a tracked progress of building decarbonisation in Europe, this briefing outlines a few recommendations to be considered for the EPBD revision.
 

Read the briefing
FOCUS ON: BPIE BIENNIAL REPORT 

In the past two years, our ambition and commitment to advance change led to achieving major advances in analysing and promoting buildings and energy demand policies, in new research on building sector policies and business models.

Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, and soaring energy prices in Europe, have led to a fundamental rethinking in the area in which we focus our work. These developments, in combination with the ever-starker warnings of the climate science community allow only one conclusion: We need to accelerate positive change and be bold, in both our thinking and our actions.

What underpins our strategic decisions and daily work is the will and desire to ask the hard questions: How can Europe become the climate champion it committed itself to be? And how can the built environment support and encourage a truly sustainable – and affordable – lifestyle for all?

With this biennial report, we are sharing our story and achievements of the years 2020-2021 and intend to provide a window into who we are as an organisation, how we are delivering positive impact and how we are moving towards bigger thinking and bolder action so we can achieve truly climate-neutral buildings.
 

Read the biennial report
HIGHLIGHTS
#BPIEClimateConversations
Housing affordability: Who's responsible? 
BPIE's Climate Conversations series aims to shine light on a diverse range of perspectives on buildings and climate policies, engaging stakeholders from various backgrounds. We seek to identify solutions and blind spots to key challenges related to reducing the climate impact of building and to a jut transition to a climate-neutral society.

In this Climate Conversation, BPIE connected with Barbara Steenbergen, Head of the EU liaison office at IUT, the International Union of Tenants.  The aim of the discussion was to dig into some of the common – and less common – questions on building renovation and social justice from the perspective of those who are not in the driver’s seat when it comes to renovation investments – renters. In this interview, IUT suggests ways how the EED and EPBD can better contribute to housing cost neutrality, how Minimum Energy Performance Standards can be designed in a socially just (and climate ambitious) way, tenure-neutral housing policies and questions of affordability.

 
Read BPIE's Climate Conversation with IUT
Postitve Energy Neighbourhoods
Drivers of Transformational Change
Successful decarbonisation of the building stock calls for an integrated, participatory and neighbourhood-based approach. The aggregation of projects enables industrialised renovation processes, which are achieved at a lower cost and in a shorter timeframe.  A neighbourhood approach empowers local communities to take an active role in their energy use, while accelerating the market uptake of novel technologies and business services at scale.

In order to scale up the rollout of positive energy neighbourhoods, BPIE, under the H2020 project oPENLab, provides four policy recommendations:
  • Endorse Member States to identify appropriate neighbourhoods to implement integrated renovation programmes.
  • Establish a harmonised definition of positive energy neighbourhoods (PENs), which should clarify the boundaries of the built environment, covering aspects related to use of renewables, energy communities, mobility, density and social cohesion.
  • Reinforce existing policies with PEN solutions, including forthcoming national building renovation strategies.
  • Redesign energy efficiency solutions as a dynamic concept.
Read the report
New e-SAFE briefing
How to integrate seismic safety with energy renovations in the EPBD
Amidst the urgency to rapidly upscale deep energy renovations, the European building stock faces another significant challenge. About 50% of European territory is earthquake-prone. In the last 50 years, earthquakes in Europe have caused over 36,000 deaths and around 1.4 million people becoming homeless. In highly seismic countries, such as Greece, Italy, Croatia and Romania, a destructive earthquake would render investments in energy-efficient renovations unsustainable from a social, economic and environmental point of view.

Seismic safety has traditionally been treated separately from energy performance and has not entered into the decarbonisation narrative. The revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive can strategically support the uptake of seismic renovations alongside energy efficiency in the EU.
This means ensuring a robust policy framework that prioritises renovation of worst-performing buildings in terms of both energy performance and seismic safety. This framework should be combined together with reliable and accessible technical and financial solutions.
 
This briefing, presented by the e-SAFE H2020 consortium, suggests practical ways that the EPBD recast can strategically support the uptake of seismic renovations alongside energy efficiency in the EU, in order to ensure concrete implementation of seismic safety measures where it is needed most.  
Read the briefing
New Compendium on GHG Emissions Baselines & Monitoring
Building and Construction Sector

Besides giving an overview of the different sources of GHG emissions from the building and construction sector, this volume on the building and construction sector also provides methodologies for quantifying these emissions to feed into the preparation and reporting of national GHG inventories.

By better understanding the sources of emissions over the whole life cycle of buildings, it thus provides guidance on the most appropriate and effective mitigation strategies and policies for decarbonizing the building and construction sector based on national circumstances.

Read the compendium
Optimal cost-effective technical solution scenarios 
New report from ComAct outlines the measures for increasing the enegry efficiency of then multi-appartment buildings in its pilot countries 

This report briefly presents information about the current state and analyses all feasible measures leading to the increased energy efficiency of ten multi-apartment buildings in the five ComAct pilot countries, that are Hungary, Lithuania, Republic of North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Ukraine. 

The buildings are different by age, size, climate and type. For all of them, the renovation measures are divided in two large groups, that are reduction of energy consumption and introduction of renewables.  

The first part of this document contains a description of the methodology and approach to savings calculation for every proposed measure. The second part contains information for the ten buildings in five pilot countries, as well as overview tables with savings, required for the development of scenarios. 

This document will be used by community staff, energy managers in utility companies, and it should be easily understandable for non-engineering people.  

Read the report
The ComAct guidance giving evidence-based information on energy poverty is now available in six languages
The guidebook published by the H2020 project ComAct provides evidence-based information on the nature of energy poverty in urban multi-family apartment buildings in three post-socialist regions in the Eastern part of Europe: Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, and the Balkan region. In addition to English, the guidebook is now available in all the languages of the focus countries of ComAct: Macedonian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Hungarian and Lithuanian.
The results are primarily based on a household survey conducted in the autumn of 2021 with 1,025 respondents in the five ComAct pilot sites: Burgas in Bulgaria, Budapest in Hungary, Karposh (Skopje) and Kavadarci in North Macedonia, Odessa in Ukraine, and Kaišiadorys and Tauragė in Lithuania. The survey research is complemented by scientific literature and national and local data on the survey sites.
Check all the language versions
X-tendo publishes new guidelines to test innovative EPC features against relevant criteria

The new report published by the H2020 project X-tendo describes how the project applied four cross-cutting criteria to develop its 10 innovative features. The four criteria are: quality and reliability, user friendliness, economic feasibility and consistency with internal standards. This criteria was assessed and evaluated for all 10 features during the phases of development and testing. 

This paper presents the workflow and gives final guidelines based on the X-tendo experience for future work and replicability. The report starts with the conditions set by the developers before starting with the development of actual features. It then presents the results and main conclusions from the testing activities in the project and proposes a final workflow to support the feature’s development through a cross-cutting-criteria approach. 

Read the report
Bausteine einer Lebenszyklusperspektive für mehr Klimaschutz und Ressourcenschonung im Gebäudesektor
Der deutsche Rechtsrahmen und gute Beispiele aus der Praxis 
The second report from our German project “Kreisläufe Konstruieren – Innovationschancen für den Gebäudesektor“ provides a compilation of strategies, laws, initiatives and examples of good practice for a life-cycle perspective on the building sector. It demonstrates that sustainable construction and the decarbonisation of the building sector have developed a noticeable dynamic in Germany in recent years – but that binding rules are still largely lacking. Better interlinking of European and national processes can bring greater clarity to the existing incentive and regulatory system and thus simplify the implementation of climate protection and resource conservation and make it more widely accessible. 
Read the report in German
BPIE IN THE NEWS
EVENTS
19  September 2022 
Activate finance against energy poverty: suitanle financial schemes to mitigate energy poverty - European Sustainable Energy Week 2022

The H2020 project ComAct is organising a session on 19 September 2022, from 10:30 until 12:00, as part of the European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) extended programme to exchange knowledge and findings related to different ways to finance energy transition by increasing energy efficiency. This webinar is the 3rd in the series of the three Knowledge Transfer Thematic Webinars at EU level of the H2020 ComAct project, which aims to raise discussion on the needs and challenges of energy-poor households and on the inclusive policy required to secure an accessible and affordable energy transition.

A special focus is set on the energy poverty issue in multi-apartment buildings, which is often not considered in designing new financial schemes and subsidy programs. While co-financing for middle- and high-income owners can be provided through various financial instruments, for low-income owners and those suffering from energy poverty, national schemes should provide a different type of support so that they can be efficiently involved in the programs. This interactive session targets all stakeholders working on developing new financial schemes to finance energy transition and also those protecting the rights of vulnerable consumers.

Register for the session
31 May - 1 June 2022 | Enefirst final conference
Energy Efficiency First Summit - How to impelemtn the Energy Efficiency First principle and boost Europe's Energy Security? 
Organised by Enefirst and sEEnergies, this conference illustrated how implementing the Energy Efficiency First principle can help make the most out of energy efficiency and other demand-side resources to achieve a sustainable and resilient energy system in the EU.
 
Slides and recording available now!
9 June 2022 | ComAct webinar
The multiple benefits of energy efficiency for vulnerable households
Energy poverty is a widespread problem across Europe, as between 50 and 125 million people are unable to afford proper indoor thermal comfort and it is going to increase if we do not act immediately. This webinar is the 2nd in the series of the three Knowledge Transfer Thematic Webinars at EU level of the H2020 ComAct project and it was a side event of New European Bauhaus Forum.

There is a need to rethink regulations targeting equality and concentrate on equity, which enables a justice system from which everyone can benefit. At the moment, there is inequality between energy-poor households and large real-estate investors, who evaluate benefits differently than private persons lacking financial means. This webinar thus aimed to raise discussion on the needs and challenges of energy-poor households and on the inclusive policy required to secure an accessible and affordable energy transition.

 
Recording available now!
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Dear reader,

The EU is continuously evolving its energy policy to respond to Russia’s aggression. The recently published RePowerEU plan defines three strategic cornerstones for this response, and saving energy is one of them. The strategy is detailed in the so-called EU Save Energy Plan which delivers many targeted initiatives in particular to save energy in buildings. But at the same time, the plan lists measures which need to be introduced in the ongoing political negotiation about two key Directives, the EED and the EPBD. So it is up to the European Parliament and the member states to bring life to the suggested measures in the coming months. Delivering the savings in the buildings sector requires action on the ground. A Renovation Compact between local construction companies, local policymakers and local citizen initiatives could launch well-anchored renovation actions which are implemented according to local circumstances.

As we stress in our latest briefing the saving potential is obvious; effectively reducing energy demand reduction is the first and most efficient way to achieving energy independence from Russian (and other) fossil fuels, enabling integration and use of renewable energy sources, and to securing grid stability. The study, based on 8 sample countries in Europe, shows that improving insulation alone can save 44% on gas and reduce final energy demand by 45%. 

We know that this is achievable, in particular if citizens are inspired to take action. Towards that end, we expect the New European Bauhaus Festival next week will provide some excitement. It will feature a number of projects that are pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and social justice: e-SAFE, which focuses on renovation in seismic zones, ComACT, which aims to create a platform to support vulnerable citizens in CEE countries, and Syn.ikia, which is piloting Plus Energy Neighbourhoods, transforming social housing into a veritable energy hub. These are ambitious projects, so make sure to stop by and chat with the project partners and learn about potential opportunities to get involved, and let yourself be inspired. You will find more about them in this edition of our newsletter.

Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: PUTTING A STOP TO ENERGY WASTE  
Putting a stop to energy waste:
How building insulation can reduce fossil fuel imports and boost EU energy security
The cost of missed opportunities to improve the energy performance of the EU building stock is all too apparent. This study shows how improving insulation of residential buildings can reduce energy demand and drastically cut oil and gas imports for heating. Diversifying gas imports should not be considered the only way to quickly get rid of Russian gas. Reducing demand to allow a steady increase of renewable energy supply as an alternative to fossil fuel imports is the solution the EU should pursue.

It shows the benefits of improving insulation in terms of reducing the energy demand and drastically cutting Russian oil and gas imports in those countries. Improving insulation in the selected countries can achieve up to 44% gas savings and reduce final energy demand by 45%. 
 
With the current high and volatile energy prices, building renovation projects have become an even more attractive and strategic investment.

REPowerEU and the EU Save Plan must therefore treat lowering energy demand as an essential prerequisite to achieve energy independence and a just energy transition. Read our recommendations for REPowerEU and the EU Save Plan here.
 
Download the policy briefing
HIGHLIGHTS
#BPIEClimateConversations
How can we turn the energy transition into an opportunity for adequate and affordable housing?
BPIE's Climate Conversations series aims to shine light on a diverse range of perspectives on buildings and climate policies, engaging stakeholders from various backgrounds. We seek to identify solutions and blind spots to key challenges related to reducing the climate impact of building and to a jut transition to a climate-neutral society.

In this Climate Conversation, BPIE connected with Clotilde Clark-Foulquier, Project Manager at FEANTSA, to discus question of social justice around the building sector, and whether or not a 'just transition' for all is truly possible. FEANTSA explains their concerns about 'renvoictions', their views on whether or not MEPS are appropriate for all buildings, what the EPBD revision must include to ensure a socially just buildings transition, and their vision of housing as a right. 

 
Read BPIE's Climate Conversation with FEANTSA
TRANSFORM YOUR BUILDING WITH E-SAFE!
Apply to receive free renovation advice to achieve an eco-friendly, earthquake-safe building.

 
e-SAFE provides your building with affordable and low-disruptive renovation solutions to make it energy efficient and earthquake-proof. 

e-SAFE can put you on the path to securing an energy-efficient and earthquake-safe building. Apply now to receive free renovation plans tailor-made for your building.
Benefits will include:
  • A survey and 3D models of your building
  • An energy audit, energy analysis, and structural simulations of your building;
  • A detailed e-SAFE based renovation project through a co-design process with residents, covering architectural, energy-efficient and anti-seismic renovation solutions tailor-made for your building;
  • Suggestions of viable financial support schemes to effectively implement energy and anti-seismic renovations;
  • Visibility at the local and European level;
  • Peace of mind! e-SAFE will equip you with knowledge on how to best renovate your building including the required measures, processes, and cost estimations, so you can take the next steps towards renovating your building with full confidence that you are making the right decision for your building.
Applications are open until the 15th July, 2022.
 
Apply to receive FREE renovation plans for your building
The e-SAFE decision support system has launched!
The e-SAFE partner Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, with the support of the University of Catania and the University of Bologna, has completed hte first release of e-DSS, a Decision Support System aimed to assist designers in the preliminary design stage of building renovation based on the e-SAFE technologies (click here for more information). 

Based on the geo-localisation of the pilot, its geometric features and some information added by the user, the e-DSS guides the designer to the choice of the most suitable e-SAFE renovation solution. It also allows an assessment – with a reasonable degree of approximation – of the energy performance of the building before and after the proposed renovation action, the environmental benefits, the expected costs and time for the building renovation and the expected time of Return of the Investment (ROI), based on the savings in the annual operating costs.

By now, the tool is only available for internal use to e-SAFE experts, and it will be used in the design of the pilot projects. Further developments will be included in the second release, expected in March 2023.

On May 16th, the e-DSS will be shown to 10 early adopters, who will test it and provide feedback on its user-friendliness and usefulness, from the perspective of future users.

Stay updated by following the further development of this tool through our website, the e-SAFE newsletter and social media!

NEW TRAINING VIDEOS
Curious about the concepts and business models AmBIENCe Project has developed? Watch the training videos part of the AmBIENCe Academy!
 
The AmBIENCe consortium has published its Academy, a series of videos explaining concepts such as Active Buildings Energy Performance Modelling or the AEPC Model.

Divided in 11 videos, the AmBIENCe Academy is now available for everyone that wishes to learn more about AmBIENCe results. Access to the training videos is free, but registration is mandatory.
 
Register here and enroll in the Ambience Academy
BPIE IN THE NEWS
EVENTS: BPIE AT THE NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS 
9 - 12  June 2022 
A seismic shift for retrofit: Ground breaking innovation driving large-scale retrofitting in earthquake zones 

Is it safe to retrofit old homes and buildings with energy efficiency solutions in areas of seismic activity? This question is at the heart of e-SAFE, a project working at the boundary where climate change adaptation blurs with building safety and risk management.  

The project has been working on three new systems for post-1950 concrete-framed buildings that renovators and retrofitters can use to improve a building’s energy efficiency. They are easily adapted for specific climatic conditions and seismicity levels.  

In the town of Catania, Sicily, Italy, the project has adopted a co-productive approach. A whole community of stakeholders was consulted during the co-design and implementation stages. Now e-SAFE has created customisable, prefabricated panels made from timber and locally sourced insulating bio-materials (such as hemp, cork, wood fibre, cellulose, or sheep wool). In earthquake-prone areas, these panels can be combined with novel structural systems that improve both the seismic and energy performance of buildings in sustainable ways. 

Register for NEB festival & learn more
9 June 2022 | 10:00 - 11:30 
ComAct webinar: The multiple benefits of energy efficiency for vulnerable households
Energy poverty is a widespread problem across Europe, as between 50 and 125 million people are unable to afford proper indoor thermal comfort and it is going to increase if we do not act immediately. This webinar is the 2nd in the series of the three Knowledge Transfer Thematic Webinars at EU level of the H2020 ComAct project and it is a side event of New European Bauhaus Forum. It aims to raise discussion on the needs and challenges of energy-poor households and on the inclusive policy required to secure an accessible and affordable energy transition.

There is a need to rethink regulations targeting equality and concentrate on equity, which enables a justice system from which everyone can benefit. At the moment, there is inequality between energy-poor households and large real-estate investors, who evaluate benefits differently than private persons lacking financial means.

The new order of European legislation regulating energy efficiency of buildings has thus a high risk of neglecting the most vulnerable social class, therefore we are calling on our stakeholders to join our discussion and develop solutions together on how energy poverty could be mitigated.
Agenda and registration link
11 June 2022 
Syn.ikia workshop: Living in a Plus Energy Neighbourhood

Duration: 1h30. Timeslot to be defined.
Description: This interactive workshop will familiarise attendees with Plus Energy Neighbourhoods and give them the floor: they will be invited to answers these questions:
  • What’s your idea of a Plus Energy Neighbourhood?
  • How would you use the energy, if you'd be living in a Plus Energy Neighbourhood?
  • How would you share this energy? 
X-TENDO AND U-CERT FINAL CONFERENCE
6 July 2022 | Brussels and livestreaming
the road to enhanced and future-proof energy performance certificates
 
Funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, X-tendo and U-CERT are closing three years of commitments and achievements in the field of next generation building performance assessment and certification. Part of the Next Gen EPCs cluster with other 9 projects and, together with QualDeEPC, they were the first to start in 2019 on this topic.

The two teams, their guest speakers and colleagues from the Next Gen EPCs cluster, are coming together on 6 July for what will be THE 2022 event on Energy Performance Certificates. The programme will tell the story of these H2020 research and innovation projects, highlighting main results and preparing the floor for the exploitation of the outputs, both at EU and national levels. While X-tendo has by design a modular structure covering 10 features (smart readiness indicator, comfort, outdoor air pollution, real energy consumption, district heating, EPC databases, building logbook, tailored recommendations, financing options, one stop shops), U-CERT project has a specific recipe still allowing flexibility (convergence of calculation methodologies with the EPB standards, user-centred approach with a nudging effect, indoor environmental quality, smart readiness indicator, measured building performance and operational rating).
 
Register here
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Dear reader,

Europe is implementing changes to its energy policy at a scale and speed unseen before. Many of the decisions will and should lead to change how we use energy in the buildings and construction sector. Energy efficiency first should not only be a buzz word in this respect but a guiding principle for policy implementation. In our new paper we describe how the RePowerEU Energy Savings Plan could be designed, we expect the European Commission to publish it in the second half of May. And at the end of May, the Enefirst Summit will discuss the links between energy efficiency and security. Don’t miss the paper on the topic which is already out.

Another exciting project result is the RenOnBill tool, designed to be used by financial institutions and utilities to analyse the benefits and risk of renovation investments, including information how an on-bill pay back scheme could be run for renovation projects. RenOnBill also published a policy briefing to suggest how on bill payments could be supported in the future EPBD.

The X-tendo project just completed a test round for new features in Energy Performance Certificates; the latest report presents the results for 9 countries.

Another issue needing urgent attention is the growth of energy poverty in Europe. The ComAct project just released strategies to fight energy poverty in five countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the AmBIENce conference which will present concepts and business models for performance guarantees of Active Buildings.
Kind regards,


Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: REPowerEU ENERGY SAVINGS PLAN
Time to switch to action: Why saving energy in buildings must be a priotity in the REPowerEU Action Plan 
As follow up document to the earlier REPowerEU Communication, the Commission is expected to issue the REPowerEU Action Plan, which would include a specific energy savings action plan. The EU has a historic choice to make: to put us on a pathway compatible with the 1.5°C climate scenario and secure true energy independence, or simply cushion the crisis today with quick fixes that will condemn us to a future where we have no choice anymore and where climate change is a daily emergency.  
 
Our new briefing argues why energy in buildings must be a priority in the REPowerEU Action Plan by listing measures that can deliver energy savings in the next 18 months while putting the EU on a path compatible with its climate targets. The briefing also suggests delivery approaches to operationalise the implementation of the measures as decisions should be taken quickly, and actions implemented without delay.
The key question is: What exactly must we do, and how do we do it?
 The briefing proposes how to take action now by providing practical steps to be taken with more a short-term and long-term view:

Policies and measures to save energy now while accelerating progress towards EU climate ambition
  • behavioural measures and ‘quick fixes’
  • fast rollout of renovation programmes
  • fast switch to renewable heating options
How to deliver long-lasting energy savings quickly: recommendations for fast implementation
  • showing leadership with an innovative organisational machinery
  • telling the story, promoting the new vision
  • making financing easily available
  • preparing the supply chain to deliver
Read the briefing
HIGHLIGHTS
ENEFIRST: Energy efficiency first for system decarbonisation 
Cutting dependence from Russian gas is an immediate necessity. Meanwhile, permanently moving away from fossil fuels and gas is a key EU objective, strategically adopted in 2019 as part of the EU Green Deal. This major transition is already initiated in gas-abundant countries – like the Netherlands – that decided to stop relying on gas for heating as they recognise the risks linked to fossil fuel supply and its incompatibility with the climate targets.

To achieve the needed decarbonisation of buildings, decision makers must approach the problem from the perspective of not only removing fossil gas from the system, but of thinking about creating a more integrated energy system overall. Starting with end-use efficiency and demand response measures allows for the needed demand reduction and flexibility possibilities that facilitate greater electrification and reveal where the use of alternative gases may be needed.

This policy briefing, authored by Enefirst’s partner RAP, gives guidance on how the Energy Efficiency First principle can facilitate the development of an energy system that is aligned with net-zero climate goals.
Read the briefing
The RenOnBill tool is out! Download it now to better evaluate energy efficiency interventions
 
The evaluation of energy efficiency interventions is affected by numerous parameters and variables and most of them are uncertain. On the other hand, most of the analyses do not include the estimation of the risk connected with the energy efficiency investments. This approach has led to perceiving energy investments by financial institutions as high-risk and thus limited their commitment.

The newly released RenOnBill tool tackles these issues by providing a simple and effective instrument directed mainly to both financial institutions and energy utilities. By providing the users with a detailed amount of information for the development of sophisticated investment strategies and design of on-bill programs, the tool has the potential to facilitate large investments in energy efficiency interventions and thus upscaling the renovation rate that can thus help the EU reach its decarbonization goals.
 
Download the tool
New national roadmaps from RenOnBill guides Member States to replicate on-bill schemes
On-bill schemes represent a key innovative way of leveraging private finance for energy renovation of residential buildings and the H2020 project RenOnBill aims to make their uptake in the EU easier and faster. In this aim, RenOnBill developed a roadmap to disseminate knowledge about the replication potential of on-bill schemes for the European market. The roadmap insights have been derived by the implementation of the project in four focus countries: Spain, Italy, Lithuania, and Germany, where project partners established national stakeholder platforms to inform the replication process of on-bill schemes at national level.

This roadmap, available in English, German, and Spanish (Lithuanian and Italian forthcoming), aims to support policy makers, energy regulators and other representatives from the energy and financial sector to understand the replication potential of on-bill schemes and to influence decision-making with a view to innovative financing instruments for energy renovations in the residential building sector.  It will be a useful resource for energy utilities, financial institutions, policy makers, energy regulators, academia, and anyone interested in boosting the renovation rate of residential buildings in Europe with the help of innovative instruments to leverage private finance.  
 
Read the roadmap
EPBD in support of the uptake of on-bill schemes in the EU