The European Green Deal published by the European Commission in December 2019 addresses construction as one of the key topics for the green transition. The Deal aims to make Europe the first carbon neutral continent and the communication will be followed up by a number of other proposals, by as early as March,  these will include the new Circular Economy Action Plan. The construction sector will play a pivotal role in achieving Mrs von der Leyen’s pledges, which will be delivered via “50 actions for 2050”. In particular, renovation has been highlighted


The text focused on construction is the following:


"The construction, use and renovation of buildings require significant amounts of energy and mineral resources (e.g. sand, gravel, cement). Buildings also account for 40% of energy consumed. Today the annual renovation rate of the building stock varies from 0.4 to 1.2% in the Member States. This rate will need at least to double to reach the EU’s energy efficiency and climate objectives. In parallel, 50 million consumers struggle to keep their homes adequately warm.

To address the twin challenge of energy efficiency and affordability, the EU and the Member States should engage in a ‘renovation wave’ of public and private buildings. While increasing renovation rates is a challenge, renovation lowers energy bills, and can reduce energy poverty. It can also boost the construction sector and is an opportunity to support SMEs and local jobs.

The Commission will rigorously enforce the legislation related to the energy performance of buildings. This will start with an assessment in 2020 of Member States’ national long-term renovation strategies16. The Commission will also launch work on the possibility of including emissions from buildings in European emissions trading, as part of broader efforts to ensure that the relative prices of different energy sources provide the right signals for energy efficiency. In addition, the Commission will review the Construction Products Regulation. It should ensure that the design of new and renovated buildings at all stages is in line with the needs of the circular economy, and lead to increased digitalisation and climate-proofing of the building stock.

In parallel, the Commission proposes to work with stakeholders on a new initiative on renovation in 2020. This will include an open platform bringing together the buildings and construction sector, architects and engineers and local authorities to address the barriers to renovation. This initiative will also include innovative financing schemes under InvestEU. These could target housing associations or energy service companies that could roll out renovation including through energy performance contracting. An essential aim would be to organise renovation efforts into larger blocks to benefit from better financing conditions and economies of scale. The Commission will also work to lift national regulatory barriers that inhibit energy efficiency investments in rented and multi-ownership buildings. Particular attention will be paid to the renovation of social housing, to help households who struggle to pay their energy bills. Focus should also be put on renovating schools and hospitals, as the money saved through building efficiency will be money available to support education and public health."