Accelerating the energy efficiency renovation of residential buildings — a behavioural approach
Improving the energy performance of buildings is an important part of reaching the EU’s climate, energy and air pollution targets, but requires an acceleration in renovation rates. This briefing identifies behavioural factors that influence decisions on renovation investment. It also explores how understanding these factors can inform the design of policies that more effectively encourage the renovation of residential buildings, contributing to achieving climate neutrality.
Decarbonising heating and cooling — a climate imperative
The EU has met its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, compared with 1990 levels. However, meeting targets for 2030 and beyond requires a doubling of the annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions achieved between 2005 and 2020. Heating and cooling account for half of the final EU energy use. With energy used for heating being significant, decarbonising heating is therefore critical. Solutions to save energy and introduce efficient, renewable heating and cooling systems exist and must be rolled out faster. This briefing looks at heating and cooling trends across the EU. It highlights the twin benefits — for climate mitigation and security of supply — of combining energy efficiency and conservation measures with rapidly switching to renewable and waste energy use in heating and cooling.
Building renovation: where circular economy and climate meet
Buildings are important in EU environmental and climate policy for several reasons, including their greenhouse gas emissions and high consumption of material resources. Improved design and building techniques will produce highly efficient new buildings, but more than 85% of today's buildings are likely to still be in use in 2050. This briefing examines potential renovation activities that could improve the sustainability of existing buildings and the implications for embedded greenhouse gas emissions and resource use.
Cooling buildings sustainably in Europe: exploring the links between climate change mitigation and adaptation, and their social impacts
Across Europe, rising temperatures, combined with an ageing population and urbanisation, mean that the population is becoming more vulnerable to heat and that demand for cooling in buildings is rising rapidly. Buildings, as long-lasting structures, can offer protection from heatwaves and high temperatures if appropriately designed, constructed, renovated and maintained. The summer of 2022, with its successive long heatwaves and high energy prices, may have raised the sense of urgency given to the alleviation of heat stress. But there is a gap in knowledge on the extent of overheating in buildings and data and information is scarce regarding the share of EU citizens unable to keep their homes comfortably cool during the summer. This briefing examines key elements of sustainable cooling policy, and its potential impacts on vulnerable groups, by reducing health risks, inequalities and summer energy poverty.
Exploring the social challenges of low-carbon energy policies in Europe
For climate change mitigation policies to be successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions their potential social implications need to be considered and addressed. Together with multiple-level governance coordination and societal participation, these are the key success factors to achieve win-win social-climate policies, minimise the unfair impacts of carbon and energy taxes, and maximise environmental and health benefits.