With building renovations being crucial for climate mitigation, tackling energy poverty and now economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, long-term renovation strategies (LTRS) are an even more an essential planning tool than ever. They offer opportunities to decarbonise the building sector, improve living and working conditions of EU citizens and support economic recovery through new local jobs.
However, six months after the deadline for their submission to the European Commission on 10 March 2020, more than half of EU Member States have still not yet presented their strategies.
The assessment of available LTRS (as published on the website of the European Commission on 15 September 2020) finds available strategies to be largely non-compliant with provisions of the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), in particular Article 2a. All but one strategy (Spain) are deficient in many areas, such as assessing the wider benefits of building renovation, in presenting the implementation details of the 2017 renovation strategies, and in consulting with the public on the strategy and its implementation.
The analysis shows that Member States need to immediately step up effort to rapidly decarbonise the building stock. Many Member States still do not seem to prioritise action in the building sector, which is central to climate mitigation and to improving living conditions of Europeans, with the urgency that is needed. Second, those Member States that still do not have a fully-fledged LTRS could miss the opportunity to access new funds from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility to help finance its implementation. Third, a delay in LTRS submission hampers and slows down the work of the European Commission, which still lacks a full up-to date picture of progress (and future plans) on building renovations in each EU country.
On a more positive note, the report draws attention to a number of strategies that deserve singling out for overall performance, or that addressed sections of EPBD Article 2a particularly well, which could be used as examples for other Member States to follow. These include Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Spain. Spain in particular is the only country found to be fully compliant, receiving a high score (4 or 5) against most clauses. Generally, the level of detail provided was excellent. Of particular note is the treatment of energy savings and wider benefits, and a detailed exposition of progress with implementing the 2017 strategy.