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Transforming our buildings: Europe’s path to sustainability

(EurActiv, 23 Feb 2024) The cities of Amsterdam, Stockholm and Nantes offer good examples of how meaningful progress towards decarbonising the building sector can be achieved, while advancing the EU’s broader climate objectives, writes Irene García.

Irene García leads “Built Environment Lead” at the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance.

As resistance mounts against the European Union’s ambitious climate agenda, the recent communication from the European Commission regarding the EU’s 2040 climate target brings hope. It commits to nearly eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, propelling the EU closer to its goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

With the building sector accounting for 36% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions and 42% of the energy consumed, it is crucial for the Commission to prioritise this sector in its 2040 climate action plan and accelerate efforts by 2030.

Central to this approach is the continued focus on implementing the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. This directive mandates that all new buildings in the EU must be zero-emission by 2030, with all new public buildings achieving this status by 2027. The directive also establishes minimum EU-level efficiency standards, which will drive an increase in the renovation rate of underperforming buildings.

These measures are essential for achieving meaningful progress towards decarbonisation in the building sector and advancing the EU’s broader climate objectives. They also help us respond to the prolonged high temperatures that are increasingly common, with extreme heat becoming the norm across the globe.

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EurActiv, 23 Feb 2024: Transforming our buildings: Europe’s path to sustainability