EU Buildings Climate Tracker: A call for faster and bolder action

The 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.

Key findings

The tracker corresponds to an index composed of a set of five indicators monitoringCO2 emissions, final energy consumption, renewable energy share, investments in renovation, and domestic energy expenditures.  When looking at the progress between 2015 and 2020, the results for most of the indicators show a gap between the current status and the values required to be on track towards climate neutrality.

  • In 2020, CO2 emissions from energy use in buildings reached 422 Mt CO2, more than 18% higher than the required goal value. The reduction of CO2 emissions from the EU building stock is clearly off track.
  • The share of renewable energies for heating and cooling was around 30% lower than required, which calls for a clearer roadmap to decarbonise the heating and cooling sector.
  • Accumulated investments in renovation in 2020 were 40% lower than required.
  • Energy expenditures per household were close to achieving the targeted values in 2020, but the subsequent increase in energy prices may negatively impact this indicator. The consequences of not reducing household energy expenditures can be significant, especially in regions with high energy poverty levels like the CEE region, where household energy expenditure was already 6.3% higher than the required value in 2020.

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