Europe’s Buildings under the Microscope

Overview, by country, of the energy behavior of European buildings

Considering the lack of comprehensible data on buildings at European level, the European Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) examined the building stock of Europe (both 27 Member States and of Switzerland and Norway) at the level of characteristic buildings, structural legislation, and other regulatory measures. The data collected enabled the identification of the energy and carbon dioxide savings potential of Europe’s buildings, and the design of a variety of scenarios for their systematic renovation by 2050.

Significant benefits can be derived from maximising the energy savings potential of the European building sector, such as strengthening the ailing European economy and increasing energy security. As the percentages of new constructions are extremely low, around 1%, the biggest challenge for exploiting these energy saving possibilities is the systematic renovation of the existing building stock.

An important obstacle to achieving the above goal is, clearly, the limited knowledge in relation to the characteristics of the existing buildings. In a major data collection effort, the European Building Performance Institute collected and analysed data from all European Member States, as well as Norway and Switzerland, in order to provide a vital and up-to-date picture of the European building stock and potential to save energy and carbon dioxide. The data were used to create scenarios for the systematic renovation of European buildings. The aim of the project is to reduce the policy-making process to a more realistic basis, providing statistics for a “fact-finding” discussion on how to achieve energy savings in European buildings, while also increasing the environmental, economic, and social benefits.

This report is an extremely valuable tool for Member States in the procedures that follow the implementation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, as recast in 2010 (EPBD, recast) and the Directive. for Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), which aim to increase the energy efficiency of national building stocks. It also provides guidance for European policy-making, presenting the current situation and the real possibilities for achieving the European objectives, and in particular clarifying:

  • the role of buildings, as part of the plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 2050,
  • the policies by type of building (public / commercial use / residential etc),
  • the knowledge about the optimal degree of interventions, with criteria of financial viability,
  • knowledge about the correct definition of Near Zero Energy Buildings (nZEBs).

Finally, the exhibition is an essential tool for the construction sector, but also for other stakeholders, to emphasise the importance of the energy efficiency of buildings and to increase renovation rates.

The report was issued in October 2011, as part of the European Renovation Day, an initiative of the European Alliance of Companies for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings (EuroACE) with the aim of increasing the rates of radical renovation by 2050. It also provides the detailed basis for the “Renovate Europe” campaign, which started that day and continues at the level of member states, whose National Contacting Partner for Greece has been selected the Institute of Zero Consumption Buildings – INZEB.

This is the introductory text published by the BPIE and concerns the exhibition entitled “Buildings of Europe under the Microscope“.

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