The Countdown Has Begun!

Wednesday 01st May 2013

As of today the clock is ticking on what might just be the greatest challenge the European built environment community has ever undertaken. There is now exactly one year for EU governments to establish long-term national renovation strategies, which somehow have to result in reducing energy use across the entire existing building stock by a massive 80% by 2050 against 2010 levels.

The challenge is set by the rather dull sounding ‘Article 4 of Directive 2012/27/EU’, though as the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU outlined at our recent event in Brussels, this Article is “about future proofing our economy, but more than that, it’s about future proofing our society…” Not so dull then, but rather fundamental to the European agenda.

The Europe Regional Network’s recent Brussels event brought key stakeholders to Brussels to start a crucial conversation about how this challenge will be met by the deadline of 30 April 2014. This was the first time Member States had discussed their plans for their strategies, and you can read the full event summary here.

The day focused on two central themes. Firstly, the need for strong policy-making platforms to form between governments, industry and construction experts and other stakeholders, to design and deliver national renovation strategies. Secondly, the importance of ensuring active and open inter-state dialogue on experiences and emerging best practice between such national policy-making platforms.

There was a lot of discussion about the need to ensure that the ‘unusual suspects’ participate in these platforms, and one notable set of key stakeholders were absent from the Brussels conference room: financiers. As Paul King, CEO of UK-GBC and Chair of our Network emphasised, it's crucial we now aim beyond a patchwork of solutions across the region, and we build what people have called 'investment grade' policy that finance can get behind. This is going to require industry-wide concerted action across the region, and we need to start by understanding how to involve the financial sector and finance ministries in meaningful dialogue.

What is in place by 30 April 2014 must be the solid foundation for a vision of how we build ‘Europe 2050’. As these strategies are revised every three years thereafter, the Green Building Council community and other key stakeholders must grasp the opportunity to ensure this is a vision of a truly sustainable built environment.

James Drinkwater, Senior Policy Advisor, World GBC (Europe Regional Network) jdrinkwater@worldgbc.org

As of today the clock is ticking on what might just be the greatest challenge the European built environment community has ever undertaken. There is now exactly one year for EU governments to establish long-term national renovation strategies, which somehow have to result in reducing energy use across the entire existing building stock by a massive 80% by 2050 against 2010 levels.

The challenge is set by the rather dull sounding ‘Article 4 of Directive 2012/27/EU’, though as the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU outlined at our recent event in Brussels, this Article is “about future proofing our economy, but more than that, it’s about future proofing our society…” Not so dull then, but rather fundamental to the European agenda.

The Europe Regional Network’s recent Brussels event brought key stakeholders to Brussels to start a crucial conversation about how this challenge will be met by the deadline of 30 April 2014. This was the first time Member States had discussed their plans for their strategies, and you can read the full event summary here.

The day focused on two central themes. Firstly, the need for strong policy-making platforms to form between governments, industry and construction experts and other stakeholders, to design and deliver national renovation strategies. Secondly, the importance of ensuring active and open inter-state dialogue on experiences and emerging best practice between such national policy-making platforms.

There was a lot of discussion about the need to ensure that the ‘unusual suspects’ participate in these platforms, and one notable set of key stakeholders were absent from the Brussels conference room: financiers. As Paul King, CEO of UK-GBC and Chair of our Network emphasised, it's crucial we now aim beyond a patchwork of solutions across the region, and we build what people have called 'investment grade' policy that finance can get behind. This is going to require industry-wide concerted action across the region, and we need to start by understanding how to involve the financial sector and finance ministries in meaningful dialogue.

What is in place by 30 April 2014 must be the solid foundation for a vision of how we build ‘Europe 2050’. As these strategies are revised every three years thereafter, the Green Building Council community and other key stakeholders must grasp the opportunity to ensure this is a vision of a truly sustainable built environment.

James Drinkwater, Senior Policy Advisor, World GBC (Europe Regional Network) jdrinkwater@worldgbc.org