Building back better: 6 investment criteria to drive a sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine’s built environment

Following the “build back better” principle, BPIE presents in this publication six investment criteria to guide a sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine's heavily damaged built environment. The report calls on multilateral donors and the Ukrainian government to allocate funding to projects that meet ambitious energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate adaptation, and circularity criteria.

The Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine has caused enormous damage on a multitude of levels. A recent assessment from the World Bank shows the massive extent to which the Ukrainian building stock has been affected by the war. For the housing sector alone, the total cost of the damage exceeds an estimated USD 55.9 billion, while more than USD 80.3 billion is needed for reconstruction.

Following the “build back better” principle, this report stresses that reconstruction that should strengthen the entire Ukrainian energy system. Reconstructing the Ukrainian building stock will also support the country’s accession process to the EU, create an environment where people can thrive and attract people to return to home.

The six investment criteria proposed by BPIE are aligned to scenarios representing different levels of damage (minor, moderate and heavy):

1. Investments should be directed towards projects that consider minimum energy efficiency requirements for individual building elements. 

2. Buildings damaged during the war should not be exempted from minimum energy efficiency requirements.

3.  Investments should be directed towards projects that involve technical building systems based on renewable energy solutions.

4. Investments should be directed towards projects that improve the entire energy performance of buildings.

5. Investments should be directed towards projects that support climate change adaptation.

6. Investments should be directed towards projects that address material circularity.

The ‘build back better’ principle, when applied to buildings, is aimed at accelerating the energy transition and the decarbonisation of the building stock after major disaster. Multiple EU Member States, such as Croatia, Italy or Germany, after facing natural disasters, have based their recovery and reconstruction programmes on this principle, and designed strategies that include energy efficiency goals.

Multilateral donors are encouraged to allocate funds to projects that address the entire energy performance of buildings, taking the Nearly Zero -Energy Buildings (NZEB) standard as a benchmark. The Ukrainian government is also encouraged to accelerate implementation of the legal framework for energy efficiency and sustainable construction standards.

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