Inicio > News > Time to Act: recognising Spain’s key role in enabling renovation in Europe.

Time to Act: recognising Spain’s key role in enabling renovation in Europe.

On 3 October, Renovate Europe Day, named ‘Time to Act: Spain as a driving force on building renovation’ will take place in Madrid. It’s the first time the event is being held in a national capital other than Brussels. The decision reflects the organisers’ desire to capitalise on synergy opportunities with the Spanish presidency of the EU at a crucial time for the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), now in its final trilogue. It’s also a response to the growing importance of Member States in making groundbreaking EU legislation a reality.

Time to Act: recognising Spain’s key role in enabling renovation in Europe.

This extremely important day is the flagship event of Renovate Europe, a campaign of the  European Alliance of Companies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EuroACE). Launched in 2011 and supported by 47 partners, including URSA, Renovate Europe is the only EU-wide campaign focusing exclusively on renovating EU building stock. It aims to reduce the energy demand from building stock in the EU by 80% by 2050.

EU building sector crucial for energy and environmental goals

According to EuroACE, buildings are responsible for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions and absorb 40% of energy supply, figures that must be dramatically reduced if the EU is to meet its target of cutting emissions by 55% for 2030, net zero by 2050.

More energy efficient buildings will improve quality of life for EU citizens who, on average, spend 90% of their time indoors (Source EuroACE). They will, the EU says, ‘alleviate energy poverty while bringing additional benefits, such as health and better indoor comfort levels and green jobs to the economy and society’. Currently, over 100 million people in the EU live in energy poverty.

If these targets seem daunting and impossible to meet, bear in mind that, since performance rules were introduced, buildings today consume half the energy a typical building consumed in the 1980s.

Spain is key for the EPBD

Since the EPBD was first introduced, certain countries in the EU have been highly critical of the measure. In late 2022, according to an article on the Euroactiv website, ‘a coalition of EU countries led by Italy and Poland pushed to significantly soften rules on mandatory renovations – the so-called Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS)’.

Italy, in particular, has a large number of ‘old and historical buildings that are bound to be subject to enforced renovations, as well as its small and narrow urban structures that are more difficult to insulate’.

Earlier this year, Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Matteo Salvini harshly criticised the law. Since then, a provisional agreement intended to smooth its progress struck in the European Parliament has looked in serious danger of collapsing. But, as President of the EU, Spain has the potential to be a real driver on building renovation by securing an ambitious EPBD. Hence the title ‘Time to Act’.

Capitalising on the October Madrid IEA Summit

Renovate Europe Day will take place the day after the International Energy Agency Climate and Energy Summit in Madrid to benefit from the profile of this important event focused on the urgency of accelerating the global clean energy transition. It also happens just weeks before COP28 which brings together energy and climate ministers and industry, finance and civil society leaders worldwide to try and build a coalition to accelerate momentum towards reaching the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C.

An efficient building stock will increase Europe’s energy independence which, given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impact on energy markets, is vital. Reducing energy consumption in the building sector worldwide is also a major priority.

According to the International Energy Agency (IAE) building operations worldwide account for 30% of global final energy consumption and 26% of global energy-related emission: 8% is direct emissions in buildings and 18% indirect emissions from the production of the electricity and heat used in buildings. Although direct emissions decreased in 2022, energy use was up by roughly 1%.

EuroACE committed to promoting better energy performance in EU buildings

This year is the 25th anniversary of EuroACE, formed by European companies involved in manufacturing, distributing and installing energy saving goods, equipment and services. EuroACE promotes efficient energy use in buildings by interacting with EU institutions and other stakeholders to incorporate energy in all relevant EU policies. It’s committed to helping EU institutions and member states deliver better performing buildings with the goal of achieving nearly zero energy performance building stock by 2050. URSA is one of EuroAce’s 15 member companies and a driving force in the organisation.

Renovate Europe Day 2023: a roadmap to action

The event on 3 October, organised with the support of Renovate España and Ecodes, promises to be packed with policy insights and practical content.

Caroline Simpson, Renovate Europe Campaign Manager, says ‘The day aims to bring stakeholders together to demonstrate wide cross-sectoral support for ambitious renovation policies and programmes. It’s also the opportunity for the renovation stakeholder community in Spain to come together, activate their common voice, offer their input and demonstrate their willingness and readiness to support the development of future renovation policies and programmes.’

A policy conference in the morning will offer the opportunity to dig deeper into policy discussions around the Buildings Directive currently in trilogue debates under the Spanish Presidency. It will be followed later in the morning by discussions involving key stakeholders from the Spanish government and the Spanish MEP, members of the European Commission, representatives from industry, civil society and finance.

Orcasitas: a remarkable citizen-led renovation success story

The afternoon will be devoted to a site visit to Orcasitas in Madrid, a remarkable renovation success story driven by citizens and supported by The Community of Madrid. This will offer practical hands-on experience and interaction with residents at the frontline of a renovation project. Orcasitas is a citizen-led deep renovation in the Orcasitas neighbourhood comprised of 107 tower blocks. Of these, 40 have been renovated, 26 are under renovation and the rest are to be completed by 2026. Its story has been covered by El Diario and Telemadrid.

URSA supports Renovate Europe Day

As an active member of EuroACE and the Renovate Europe campaign, URSA wholeheartedly supports Renovate Europe Day. We are completely in agreement with Caroline Simpson, who says that ‘Being vocal about the multiple benefits of renovation and bringing positive messaging, stories and examples of successful renovation projects to government decision-makers is vital to encourage them in their ambition.’

We continue to lend our voice to the call for ambitious renovation in Spain and throughout Europe and encourage our peers in the building sector to do the same. When we join together, our voices have more power and impact.

Sanaâ Nadir
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Sanaâ Nadir

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