Renovation Wave, by Niccolò Fattirolli
On the 14th of October, the European Commission finally published the awaited Renovation Wave strategy, an initiative meant double EU buildings’ renovation rates in the next ten years while ensuring that these renovations will bring better energy performances and more efficiency.
The goal of this measure is twofold: on one hand, the Renovation Wave is designed to revive the European economy favouring significant investments and creating jobs. On the other hand, it will incentivize the decarbonization of our buildings, which is of the utmost importance to meet the overall “-55% GHG emissions” target set for 2030 (to give an idea of the scale, in the next ten years the buildings-related greenhouse gas emissions have to be reduced by some 60%).To achieve all that, a diverse set of actions is laid down.The main priorities are three: decarbonise heating and cooling, solve energy poverty (an issue that is still very much present in the EU) and the worst-performing buildings, and renovate the public buildings.Worth highlighting, is also the fact that several regulations and standards related to building performances will be strengthened, from an update of the Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and the implementation of the Smart Readiness Indicators (SRI) to the revision of several CEP directives in 2021. The Renewable Energy Directive will be revised to strengthen existing renewable heating and cooling targets and introduce a requirement to use minimum levels of renewables in buildings, while the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive will be amended to include a set mandatory minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings, update the EPC framework, and more.
Therefore, the strategy does not just focus on buildings renovation but goes one step ahead, fostering digitalization -for which the SRI will be a valuable tool- and recognizing the value of buildings’ Demand Side Flexibility, even if it mainly focuses just on the implicit DSF.
The Renovation Wave presents a great chance to modernize our buildings, exploit their flexibility potential and improve the engagement of the tenants putting them “at the centre of the energy transition”, which is a crucial goal of European regulations: hence, we must now seize this opportunity and make the best of it.