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Paris Agreement ambition threatened by lack of building renovation plans, warns business coalition

Europe’s built environment must improve its efficiency and emissions performance or climate targets established within the Paris Agreement will not be met, a coalition of 300 businesses has warned.

The Build Upon coalition has called for European nations to establish renovation strategies to drastically improve the energy performance of existing buildings.

It wants clear and transparent targets, milestones and measures to be established, and follows work conducted under an EU Horizon 2020-funded project of the same name.

That project saw 13 Green Building Councils from across Europe collaborate to help national governments put strategies in place to boost building energy performance, and those recommendations have flowed into a series of publications from the World Green Building Council (WGBC).

Those recommendations include more concentrated efforts to engage the general public, an improvement of skills in the construction sector, innovative financial products to incentivise energy efficiency improvements such as green mortgages, and increased regulations such as that seen in the UK’s Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) policy.

James Drinkwater, European regional director of the WGBC, said that the organisation had been “leading this charge” to get national governments up to speed with the need to “transform buildings across Europe”.

“Europe is at a cross roads in terms of its energy policy, with decision-makers unwilling to commit to a clear vision for one of Europe’s most pressing climate challenges – its buildings. But this intervention is proof that a large number of businesses and organisations are committed to ambitious plans on building renovation,” he said.