United States

Advancing the transatlantic economic recovery with building renovation and clean energy solutions

The COVID-19 crisis has driven many economies around the globe into recession, leading policymakers to draw up unprecedented spending plans to cushion the impact and enable recoveries. The European Union launched Next Generation EU[1] to build a more sustainable, resilient and fairer Europe. Europe´s growth strategy, the European Green Deal, will be at the heart of the recovery efforts. In October 2020, the European Commission has published its Renovation Wave Strategy to improve the energy performance of buildings. The Commission aims to at least double renovation rates in the next ten years and make sure renovations lead to higher energy and resource efficiency. This will enhance the quality of life for people living in and using the buildings, reduce Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions, foster digitalisation and improve the reuse and recycling of materials. By 2030, 35 million buildings could be renovated and up to 160,000 additional green jobs created in the construction sector.

Within the broader topic of green recovery, this EU-US cooperation action will focus on reducing the energy consumption of the building stock – an area crucial importance in general (as pointed out, for instance, by the International Energy Agency´s World Energy Outlook 2020 “ Special Report on Sustainable Recovery”) and for the US in particular. US building emissions including heating, cooking and electricity use – make up over a third of total CO2 emissions. Per capita, building-related emissions are by far the highest in the G20. The EU and the US have both committed to a net-zero climate goal by 2050. Reducing the carbon footprint of buildings is an essential element to achieve this target.

Building renovation is already a priority concern of sub-federal Government entities. All members of the US Climate Alliance, a bipartisan Governors´ effort to uphold US ambition on climate action, have climate policies in place (see for instance this summary of state-level policies) – sustainable buildings feature in many of them. The America´s pledge, a broad initiative of states, cities and business, includes retrofitting and electrifying buildings among its 10 top opportunity priorities. The recently announced Infrastructure bill includes an amount of 213 billion USD for retrofitting homes and commercial properties, and an additional 100 billion USD for upgrading public schools.

Hosted by BPIE (Buildings Performance Institute Europe), the US-EU exchange aims to advance the transatlantic economic recovery through the strengthening of transatlantic collaboration and exchange on climate mitigation policy and green recovery policies, in the context of renewing and strengthening the relationship between the US and the EU. Key activities will include:

Webinar series of renovation stimulus and green technologyJuly 2021- January 2022

Background: The US-EU exchange is organised within the framework of the  Strategic Partnerships for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA)

The 2015 Paris Agreement, complemented by the 2018 Katowice climate package, provides the essential framework governing global action to deal with climate change and steering the worldwide transition towards climate-neutrality and climate-resilience.  The EU set out in 2017 to redouble its climate diplomacy efforts and policy collaborations with major emitters outside Europe in order to promote the implementation of the Paris Agreement. This resulted in the establishment of the SPIPA programme in order to mobilise the European know-how to support peer-to-peer learning.  

By fostering exchanges and collaboration among national and sub-national administrations, business communities, academia and civil society stakeholders, the SPIPA programme encourages and assists EU and non-European major economies in making their best efforts towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, harnessing international economic and political relations to move more quickly together towards its full implementation.  SPIPA builds on existing European climate policy dialogues and cooperation with Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and USA. 

Disclaimer: This event has been organised with the financial support of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument. The opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

[1] Europe’s moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation (COM(2020) 456, Brussels 27.5.2020)