Social housing providers across Europe are working on the new frontiers in our sector, envisioning the future-proofed neighbourhoods which can cater for elderly, youth, integration of services, different lifestyles e.g., working from home, sharing economy, circular economy and of course with the decentralised zero energy neighbourhoods (ZEN) with an adapted energy system fitted to these changes.
Given that buildings represent 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe it is unsurprising that they are at the centre of European countries’ commitments to the Paris Goals - to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. However, by European Commission accounts retrofitting that significantly lowers the energy consumption of a building is residual (0,2% of the total building stock every year in Europe are subject to a renovation reducing energy consumption by at least 60%).
Social Housing Associations have been at the forefront of decarbonisation. Despite leading the way, to carry out the deep refurbishments that are required, business-as-usual will not suffice. For example, the EU Building Performance Directive mandates that EU countries demonstrate how they plan to decarbonise their building stock, set minimum energy performance requirements, and ensure all new buildings follow the NZEB principle.
Through COVID-recovery plans, as well as other programmes, housing associations throughout Europe are being given the opportunity to finance investments in deep energy renovations. These new regulations and funding channels present an opportunity but also a clear challenge to a sector still grasping with capacity and skills gaps. Aware of the problems, Housing Federations have stepped up to support their members to build capacity and/or upskill to carry out deep decarbonisation projects.
To find out exactly how this is taking place throughout the continent, Housing Europe interviewed a number of its members. We found several initiatives being developed with and for their own associations, including awareness raising initiatives, training programmes, renovation solutions catalogue, communities of practice, mass renovation strategies, joint goal-setting, joint procurement initiatives, decision-making support tools and financial incentives. Some members have even gone a step further and have outlined the decarbonisation roadmap for their associations.
Read the full analysis below and contact our Innovation and Project Manager, João Gonçalves for any questions you might have.