building retrofit and energy efficiency

Aug 18, 2016 | News

By <a href="" target="_self">George Catchpole</a>

By George Catchpole

Marketing Manager

A major project to reduce emissions from buildings has been launched across Europe today.

building retrofit project Build Upon

Build Upon is a €2.35m (£1.83m) building retrofit programme funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. It will provide support to governments, industry and civil society across 13 European countries to create long-term national plans to green retrofit homes and commercial buildings. Emissions from existing buildings account for 36 per cent of the EU’s total CO2 emissions.

Pan-European building retrofit programme

Build Upon is being led by Green Building Councils from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey. The UK Green Building Council is not directly involved in the project, but will share “learnings” from the project, according to a spokesperson for the World Green Building Council (WGBC), which is supporting the building retrofit initiative.

Under the 2012 Energy Efficiency Directive, EU nations must submit long-term plans on how they will renovate their nation’s homes and commercial buildings to high standards of energy efficiency by 30 April 2017.

Build Upon will bring together a divers range of organisations, including governments and local authorities, constructions companies, product manufacturers, energy providers, banks and other financial institutions, and NGOs to tackle the issue.. According to the WGBC the programme will help set clear national energy saving targets and launch initiatives and events tackling everything from energy efficiency awareness, to construction skills and financial mechanisms such as green mortgages and loans.

“Existing buildings are one of Europe’s biggest challenges when it comes to tackling climate change. We can turn that challenge into a solution, but need nothing short of a renovation revolution,” Terri Wills, ceo of the WGBC, said.

“Build Upon will spark that revolution by gathering an unprecedented number of key players including governments, businesses and NGOs, in a collaborative community where they will work together to transform Europe’s existing buildings into green buildings.”


At the COP21 climate change conference in Paris last December, the WGBC, and its member Green Building Councils committed to achieving the energy efficient, deep refurbishment of the existing building stock by 2050. Planet First was one of more than 60 UK companies that joined the UKGBC to show their ‘collective commitment’ to put the buildings and construction sector on a “below 2°C path” at the talks. The WGBC said BUILD UPON demonstrates how Green Building Councils and their corporate members are now acting upon this commitment.

The Build Upon project will use two key platforms to aid this collaboration:

• The “RenoWiki” – a groundbreaking online portal which allows individuals to upload real-life initiatives on building renovations in Europe in order to share best practice and successful initiatives. To date, there are more than 550 initiatives on the RenoWiki. Examples include Latvia’s ‘Lets Live Warmer’, an award-winning awareness raising campaign that has led to greater uptake of housing insulation, and “RenoValue”, a project aimed at training building valuation professionals to factor energy efficiency into their valuation practices.

• A series of over 80 events in the capital and major cities of the 13 project countries to consult and engage key players in what could be included in their renovation strategies, such as policy measures, finance mechanisms, skills programmes and awareness raising initiatives.

Emilio Miguel Mitre, coordinator of Build Upon and director of International Affairs at GBC España, said: “There are already hundreds of initiatives on building renovation taking place across Europe, yet they often exist independently from one another, with limited means of sharing success and best practice, or lessons learned.

“Now is the time to build upon these relatively strong but scattered foundations by combining our efforts and aligning our resources to achieve a greater collective impact. This huge coordination effort is the central challenge Build Upon is taking on.”

As part of its own commitment to help organisations cut their carbon emissions, The Planet Mark is running the Act On 7 campaign, which offers free downloadable tools and guides to organisations looking to reduce their carbon footprint. To find out more click on the link below.