New EU project aims to cut 30 per cent of CO2 emissions by 2017


A €2.35m collaborative programme will refurbish buildings in 13 countries across Europe, altogether responsible for over 30 per cent of the region’s CO2 emissions. The EU initiative, which relies on the co-operation of more than 1,000 organisations, is the largest project in the world of its kind.

Green Building Councils from Sweden, Spain, Ireland, and ten other countries are joining forces to reduce the continent’s carbon footprint.

Over 1,000 organisations will be involved in a series of events curated by Build Upon, one of EU Horizon 2020’s many climate change initiatives. This includes an online portal, where more than 500 projects have already been uploaded.

By April 2017, the buildings in question will have been retrofitted with infrastructure that keeps CO2 emissions below set targets. These renovations will rely on skill training programmes and a spreading of sustainability awareness in property development industries. The majority of buildings that will see refurbishment are residential and commercial properties.

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

Unfortunately, the UK is not one of the 13 countries involved in the project. This is mainly due to the incoming EU referendum, which may see the country leaving the EU entirely.

Since 2010, the UK’s conservative government has cut funding for many sustainability initiatives. One of these is the Green Deal, which was a loan scheme for renewable energy retrofits on households, has now been entirely decommissioned. There are still plans to build 8,000 zero-carbon homes in the UK, through deals with international property developers.

“Deep building renovation represents one of the single most critical tools to massively lower Europe’s CO2 emissions, create jobs in the construction sector and improve the quality of the existing built environment for the good of European citizens.” reads the Build Upon manifesto.