Šefčovič Underlines Importance of Renovation Strategies at Madrid Summit

On the occasion of the BUILD UPON Leaders’ Summit in Madrid on 20 September, Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič gave the following address, highlighting the leadership of the BUILD UPON community and the importance of national renovation strategies. The full video is available below.


Dear Minister Pavlova, representatives of governments, international organisations, businesses, trade association and civil society representatives, researchers, ladies and gentlemen.

Although I was not able to join you in person, it was important for me to send you this message and thank you for your leadership – as I see BUILD UPON is a true community of leaders.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Smartening the use of energy in existing buildings is a clear priority for the Energy Union, enshrined in our ‘efficiency first’ principle. It represents perhaps the single biggest opportunity we have for strengthening the literal ‘building blocks’ of society: our homes, schools and workplaces – with significant co-benefits for investors, for reducing our dependence on imported gas, and helping us reach our climate goals.

But in order to achieve the ambitions of the historic Paris Agreement and our own Energy Union, we need coordinated action across sectors and across countries. We need it at a scale and speed we have not known before. It is therefore wonderful to see such diverse groups coming together at your Summit, to take on one of Europe’s greatest energy and societal challenges – the renovation of our buildings.

Back at the Paris Summit, I met with representatives of cities, businesses, non-profit organisations, and citizens groups. They showed vision, will, and skill to foster change – evidenced by alliances such as the Global Alliance for Building and Construction. We must build upon this spirit of support from non-state actors. We can do so by aligning the many thousands of European initiatives supporting the growth of the renovation market. There are many ways actors can show their support, such as: raising awareness, building skills and capacity, providing finance, organising across sector and of course – bringing new innovations to the market.

This integrated approach is the only way to overcome the complexity of this challenge and fully capture its rewards. The national renovation strategies that European countries have put in place across our region are a key instrument – to help coordinate action and set a long-term vision.

They represent a huge opportunity for alignment – not just of public sector policies on renovation, but of the many activities of non-state actors to overcome key market barriers. They can also show the world that Europe is serious about leading the transition to low energy buildings – by articulating a powerful narrative of how they will meet our climate targets and improve the lives of millions of citizens along the way.

As you all know – we will soon release our Energy Efficiency Package. Given that the Energy Efficiency Directive is quite recent, we will focus on futureproofing certain key provisions for the 2030 time horizon.

The evaluation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive shows that the existing legislation is working well and will likely deliver the expected impact by 2020. However, large cost-effective saving potential remains for 2030.

The “Smart Finance for Smart Buildings” initiative will bring practical solutions to use this potential: by encouraging better use of public funds, helping project developers bring good project ideas to maturity, and making the energy efficiency market more trusted and attractive for project promoters, financers and investors. By addressing the key drivers for both investment demand and finance supply, the forthcoming “energy efficiency package” will enable the market to mature, industrialise and increase in size.

Later, in our revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, we are analysing different options to help buildings shift to efficient, decarbonised energy systems based on renewable energy sources and the use of waste heat. We are thinking about measures to increase flexibility in district heating and cooling and the introduction of a provision to empower consumers to generate, sell, store and consume their own electricity. We are also reflecting on how to mainstream renewable energy in the heat and cooling supply and increase distributed generation of green electricity.

Let me once again thank the Summit Partners and Green Building Councils who have brought together this community of leaders – and to stakeholders across the region involved in the BUILD UPON project. You are playing an important role in creating a collaborative space for action.

We are therefore counting on your leadership to create a renovation revolution across the region that puts the building users and their needs at its heart.

A famous proverb says that “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” What we are trying to do now is to go fast and far. This obliges us to think independently but to work collectively.

On that note, I wish you an excellent evening and a productive second day of the Summit tomorrow.

Thank you.

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