Building prosperity: 10 policy priorities to achieve growth and social value through resilient, healthy and affordable zero-emission buildings

The new policy cycle at the end of 2024 offers a pivotal opportunity to consider how the EU can scale up its efforts to ensure buildings contribute to the stability, resilience, well-being and equity of our societies and to a flourishing economy. This short paper provides our 10 recommendations to the new European Commission that should ensure that buildings contribute to Europe's growth and strengthening the social fabric.

Today’s environmental impact of buildings with excessive energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, resource use, and construction and demolition waste generation is unsustainable. The many benefits which buildings provide for our society and our individual well-being come at a high cost, demanding a strategic response. Amidst the multi-polar crisis, we must ask:

Are we taking the right approach? Are our buildings meeting these multifaceted challenges effectively?

Providing answers to these challenges means ensuring that our buildings

  • are affordable and accessible to all while meeting society’s changing needs,
  • are built and renovated by companies which are competitive, innovative, comply with labour regulations and human rights principles and can deliver high quality standards,
  • respect and preserve our planet boundaries,
  • are highly energy performing, fully decarbonised healthy and resilient, providing protection against multiple crises such as climate change, financial shocks, disruption of global trade flows of energy and resources, digital transformation and pandemics.

The European institutional cycle from 2019 to 2024 has brought much progress on these questions already. As we enter a new policy cycle at the end of 2024, we have a pivotal opportunity to consider how we can scale up our efforts to ensure buildings contribute to the stability, resilience, well-being and equity of our societies and to a flourishing economy.

Reflecting these goals, BPIE suggests that

  • all EU institutions give the built environment coordinated attention;
  • the European Commission puts the following priorities on its Strategic Agenda for 2024-2029 and in Mission Letters to incoming Commissioners;
  • the Commission prioritises specific action points in its 2025 Work Plan.

The priorities for political action are:

  1. Successful implementation of the EPBD – design policy with impact and goals.
  2. Boost Europe’s industrial competitiveness and innovation with sustainable construction
  3. Optimise the institutional setup to further improve coordination and better grasp new challenges and opportunities.
  4. Accelerate financial flows towards future-proof buildings.
  5. Improve data availability, transparency and quality through digitalisation.
  6. Enhance energy security and resilience by combining energy efficiency and renewables in a smart energy system.
  7. Future-proof clean, circular, sustainable buildings and construction sector.
  8. Design policies with and for people to strengthen Europe’s social fabric.
  9. Confront reality: adapt the built environment to be climate-resilient.
  10. Elevate the EU’s experience into a “green buildings diplomacy” for enhanced energy security.

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BPIE supports evidence-based policy making by providing data and knowledge through its reports, as well as partnering in several European projects.


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