With the pending Winter Package, including an Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation strategy, the European Commission has a chance to show that the EU has reached a crossroads, write Oliver Rapf and Julia Reinaud. The Commission can now choose between continuing on the bumpy road of fragmented and shallow renovations or getting on the ‘renovation autobahn’, where rapid and deep renovation unleashes the real potential of the construction sector.
Oliver Rapf is executive director of the Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) and Julia Reinaud is i24c’s research director. They write that there is a dire need for renovation of Europe’s building stock which provides an immediate reason to ramp up innovation and spur job creation in the construction sector.
By doing this and getting on to the ‘renovation autobahn’, ground-breaking programmes and products can be tested and valorised, making European industries globally competitive, and enabling them to grow and hire staff here in Europe. And of course, in doing so, we should not forget that the higher quality of building stock will also deliver well-being benefits to its citizens.
We know this is possible and successful from first-hand local experience. The Dutch Energiesprong – an innovative renovation programme – has proven that it is feasible to upscale an industrialised production process through a holistic approach.
The project advances industrialisation by aggregating demand and streamlining replicable processes, innovative instruments (e.g. financial models) and products (e.g. modular building components). The Energiesprong programme has reduced the cost of a holistic net zero renovation of a terraced house from € 130,000, at the first pilot-project in 2010, to €65,000 nowadays.
A price drop of 50%, with a target to further cut costs by more than a third. Imagine what Europe-wide industrialisation could achieve.
Despite some promising cases, the progress of deep energy renovation has, however, been isolated and too sluggish. Across Europe, we need to move from demonstration into a high volume market. And the time to take action is now.