European green building councils launch world’s largest retrofit project

Green Building Councils across Europe have launched a collaborative project on building renovation in order to tackle existing building efficiency.

The BUILD UPON project is thought to be the world’s largest collaborative project on building renovation, bringing together over 1000 organisations in an an effort to reduce emissions from existing buildings, which account for 36 per cent of the EU’s total CO2 emissions.

The €2.35 million (AU$3.49m) project aims to tackle existing buildings through helping create “national renovation strategies” for governments, which are long-term plans on retrofitting homes and commercial buildings to high energy efficiency standards required by law in the EU from 30 April 2017.

It expects to engage governments and local authorities, constructions companies, product manufacturers, energy providers, banks and NGOs, with the goal of agreeing to:

  • strong national strategies with clear energy saving targets
  • coordinated awareness raising initiatives that engage citizens
  • skills programs that train the construction workforce to deliver high quality retrofit
  • financial mechanisms such as green mortgages and loans
  • policies such as strengthened energy performance certificates

The project is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, and led by Green Building Councils of 13 European countries, and supported by the World Green Building Council.

“Existing buildings are one of Europe’s biggest challenges when it comes to tackling climate change,” World Green Building Council chief executive Terri Wills said. “We can turn that challenge into a solution, but need nothing short of a renovation revolution.

“BUILD UPON will spark that revolution by gathering an unprecedented number of key players including governments, businesses and NGOs, in a collaborative community where they will work together to transform Europe’s existing buildings into green buildings.”

The project will use two key platforms to aid collaboration:

  • The “RenoWiki” – an online portal that allows individuals to upload real-life initiatives on building renovations in Europe in order to share best practice and successful initiatives, which currently has more than 550 initiatives listed
  • A series of over 80 events in cities of the 13 project countries – to consult and engage key players in what could be included in renovation strategies, such as policy measures, finance mechanisms, skills programs and awareness raising initiatives

Emilio Miguel Mitre, coordinator of BUILD UPON and director of international affairs at GBC España, said: “There are already hundreds of initiatives on building renovation taking place across Europe, yet they often exist independently from one another, with limited means of sharing success and best practice, or lessons learned.

“Now is the time to build upon these relatively strong but scattered foundations by combining our efforts and aligning our resources to achieve a greater collective impact. This huge coordination effort is the central challenge BUILD UPON is taking on.”

See BUILD UPON for further information.


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