Ahead of COP26, the World Climate Forum Europe pushes the renovation strategy

High-level policy makers and high-level public and private actors have joined the Global Climate Forum Europe to discuss what is needed to achieve net zero goals and limit global warming to 1.5C.

The forum is one of many ahead of COP26 in October, and the North America and Asia forums will take place in September.

A panel of experts looked at how to create a sustainable built environment and create momentum for a wave of sustainable renovations.

Buildings are responsible for around 40% of the EU’s energy consumption and 36% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy. To achieve a 55% reduction in emissions by 2030, the EU must reduce GHG emissions from buildings by 60%.

To achieve this, the EU has published its Renovation wave strategy in October, which aims to double renovation rates in the next 10 years. The wave of renovations will be crucial in reducing emissions, as only one percent of buildings undergo energy-efficient renovations each year.

Panelist Monica Frassoni, president of the European Alliance for Energy Conservation, said there had been very little improvement over the past 10 years and that 75 to 90 percent of the building stock in the EU will need energy efficient renovations.

Europe invests between $ 101.2 billion and $ 107.1 billion per year and accounts for around 40% of global investments in improving the energy efficiency of buildings, according to a 2020 report by the European Commission.

Despite this, the report estimates that around US $ 327.2 billion in additional investment is needed each year to meet the target of 55% emission reductions by 2030.

Canada also faces a funding gap.

Liberal federal budget includes $ 4.4 billion investment over five years to improve energy efficiency in residential buildings with major renovations like replacing oil furnaces or low-efficiency systems, repairing doors and drafty windows, installing solar panels or upgrading wall insulation.

However, this federal funding would only be available for a maximum of 200,000 households, and the Pembina Institute calculates that 600,000 homes would need to be renovated each year by 2040 to update the entire existing housing stock.

For the EU to meet its target of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030, annual investments of more than US $ 327 billion are needed to modernize the existing building stock. The EU #RenovationWave aims to double renovation rates over the next 10 years.

To renovate all of the existing housing stock, the Pembina Institute estimates that Canada needs to invest about $ 13 billion each year, compared to the current commitment of less than $ 1 billion per year.

Frassoni said we need to see results now and “unless we have enormous pressure from the public, and our very clear legislation and our good resources, it is going to be very difficult”.

Earlier this month, architects, academics, young activists, engineers, builders and climate advocates traveled to Vancouver City Council to advocate for the implementation of higher environmental standards for new homes. The new measures call for the use of electric space heaters and water instead of natural gas, as well as more energy-efficient roofs and windows, among others.

The Council was considering extending the deadline for the new standards to take effect, but after the mix of speakers spoke out against the potential delay of the new environmental standards, it voted to keep the original deadline of January 1, 2022. .

Lack of public awareness of energy-efficient and cost-efficient renovations is another obstacle to a successful wave of renovations, said panelist Jose La Loggia, president of the Europe regional network of Trane Technologies, a manufacturer of heating systems, from ventilation and air conditioning and building management systems.

He said many customers are just looking to replace a heating or cooling system and aren’t aware of other, more efficient options.

“If you were to take 20 people off the streets and ask them, ‘Is an electric car better than a gasoline or diesel car for the climate? Most people say, ‘Yes it is,’ ”La Loggia said.

But he said you wouldn’t get that kind of consensus asking about heating and cooling systems despite the fact that they also give off harmful emissions.

La Loggia said the company encourages its sales staff to have complex discussions with customers to educate them on the energy-efficient technologies they offer.

Last summer, Trane Technologies launched a unique fully electric unit for heating and cooling buildings – an ideal system for buildings with dynamic temperature requirements, such as schools, hotels, hospitals, shopping malls, apartment buildings. offices and theaters. Its energy efficiency is 350% higher than that of a conventional gas boiler in heating mode.

La Loggia said the EU’s renovation targets are not only ambitious, they are “based on real technologies that exist today”.

Natasha Bulowski / Local Journalism Initiative / National Observer of Canada

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