Renovation Wave will have a big impact on cities

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Mandatory renovations for city-owned buildings and numerous lobbying wins makes for ambitious proposal.

The Renovation Wave proposal from the European Commission landed on Oct. 14th and cities, for better or worse, will be most impacted. There are some bold changes in the proposal but there are also two big open questions that will likely be the difference between success and failure. The objective is to at least double the annual energy renovation rate of residential and non-residential buildings by 2030  with 35 million building units renovated by 2030.

All levels of publicly-owned buildings to be renovated

The proposal includes an obligation for all publicly-owned buildings to be renovated including those owned by local authorities with minimum performance standards. We don’t yet know how deeply or quickly renovations will need to occur but this a big obligation for our members. There will also be 2030 and 2040 targets for building renovation with a view to total decarbonisation by 2050.

There will be no dedicated Renovation Fund. Instead the focus is on making access easier to Cohesion fundingNext Gen EU and National recovery plans as well as the ability to combine all of these funds into more loans and grants. Getting this right will largely determine if the Renovation Wave works or not. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will also be part of the effort to combine technical and project development assistance and funding.

ELENA 2.0 has room for improvement

The European Commission, together with the EIB, will help Member States to design national or local programmes replicating the ELENA model and setting up standardised one-stop shops that can be deployed at national, regional or local levels. Both of these elements reflect Energy Cities’ lobbying efforts and the experience of our members with the ACE-retrofitting project which can help define and design the concept in more details.

Two years ago Energy Cities President Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner, the Lord Mayor of Heidelberg, Germany raised an issue of contractual issues with Elena at an EIB board meeting and we will continue to be vigilant about its practical application living up to its potential.