Brussels, 17 September 2020

Yesterday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen held her first State of the Union speech at the European Parliament. Von der Leyen announced the Commissions aim to increase the emission reduction target to 55% compared to 1990 levels by 2030 and revealed that 37% of the NextGenerationEU fund will be invested in European Green Deal objectives. She confirmed to kickstart the Renovation Wave aiming to turn the construction sector “from carbon source into a carbon sink” as become less wasteful and more sustainable. The EU chief announced the creation of “a new European Bauhaus” which will be facilitating the co-creation between engineers, designers, architects, and other involved professions.

“REHVA welcomes the ambitious 55% emission reduction target and that building renovation remains at the core of the Next Generation EU strategy,” said REHVA Managing Director Anita Derjanecz.  “However, we must see the concrete plans behind the high-level political commitment. The publication of the Renovation Plan - promised by Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson - seems to be delayed. REHVA fully supports the significant boost of building renovation, but renovation must be done at a high-quality resulting in real performance increase in-use. Energy renovation must improve indoor climate quality and create healthy indoor environments for citizens. The current pandemic makes the urgent need for good air quality in buildings just more explicit. We need buildings that are energy efficient and healthy at the same time, so they can help also mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 or similar viruses. The renovation wave is a great opportunity to achieve this. I hope that schools, which has been a neglected building type, will be targeted at first, as Ms Simson announced earlier. Policy makers should define clear and mandatory IEQ criteria to meet when implementing renovation projects. REHVA has the knowledge and promotes different tools to achieve this.”

The Renovation wave plan is supposed to be published later in October and will be at the agenda of  REHVA’s online Brussel Summit conference that will be held on 5 November. Just the day before von der Leyen’s state of the Union address, REHVA co-signed a joint open letter with 8 industry associations and NGOs addressed to the President and other high-level EU officials calling for an ambitious renovation wave without delay.  

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