Building renovation strategies under the spotlight

Delivering the Energy Efficiency Directive Article 4 – survey-based recommendations
07 Sep 2016

The objective of national building renovation strategies, as required by Article 4 of the Energy Efficiency Directive, is to establish long-term confidence in the market, spur investments and increase the renovation rate in the EU. While initial strategies (published in 2014-15) were a first step, Member States are required to develop a second and updated version by April 2017. Based on qualitative interviews with actors from different sectors, this report finds that more comprehensive action is needed for the EU and its Member States to ensure an effective renovation of the European building stock.
During the summer of 2016, BPIE interviewed 69 stakeholders from 12 EU Member States with a view to gaining a perspective on what has been achieved so far since 2014 in implementing building renovation strategies, and to get an idea of what can be expected for the second version of the strategies. Views were sought on a range of topics, including action on tackling barriers, legislative measures, engagement with stakeholders and introduction of financing schemes and other support measures.
The findings revealed a sharp divergence of opinion between governmental actors (governments and energy agencies), who generally felt that the implementation of the existing strategy and the preparation for the next one was going well, and non-governmental actors – industry, NGOs, and research institutes, who generally held a much more sceptical view. On questions regarding “implementation of the current strategy”, the scores for governmental actors were in average 3.79 out of 5 (i.e. the best score), compared to just 2.72 for other respondents. Similarly, on “preparation for the strategy update”, the scores were in average 3.70 compared to 2.64. It is clear that this mismatch in perspective leads to serious shortcomings in the strategy development and implementation processes, and needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency if the scope for a cost-effective renovation of Europe’s building stock is to be realised.
Accordingly, governments and those involved in the strategy development process are encouraged to consider the following recommendations:

  1. While there is no official requirement for Member States to respond to the Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) findings on their national renovation strategy, governments should deeply reflect on the assessment and also take into account the overall learning process that has been witnessed throughout the EU-28 in this important, yet under-prioritised policy area.
  2. With little time left until the submission deadline for the second version of the strategies, due in April 2017, now is the time to influence the strategy development process, and take on board the lessons from the first round.
  3. Stakeholders have a lot to offer, and seem willing to support governments to ensure that strategies are effective. Where there are currently no stakeholder forums, governments should establish these as a matter of urgency.
  4. Governments should identify comprehensive solutions to issues holding back the renovation market as a priority area for legislation and regulation or take other appropriate action.
  5. Whilst there has been some progress on financing schemes, they lack a clear framework and do not give the long-term market confidence signals that investors require.
  6. In parallel with finance, integrated support measures such as one-stop-shop programmes and quality frameworks need to be developed in order to increase the quality and quantity of renovations.
Geographic Coverage