Zero Carbon Buildings 2050

Zero Carbon

A first-ever long-term roadmap of policies to deliver essential carbon reductions in the residential building sector by 2050.

The building sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. Buildings consume 40% of all energy in the EU and emit 36% of the union's CO2. In its long-term strategy for 2050, the European Commission recognises the need for a near-complete decarbonisation of the building sector to meet its climate goals. But, according to the report, current policies will cut only a third of the emissions from buildings.

The report is released ahead of the upcoming Renovation Wave—an EU initiative to boost building renovation to be presented this autumn—and as European states discuss national recovery plans in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The report identifies building decarbonisation and renovation as opportunities for employment, healthier houses and lower energy bills for citizens in times when it is most needed.

"Now, more than ever, citizens require and deserve a healthy and safe place to call home. Investing in energy efficiency and zero carbon buildings can deliver quality homes with lower energy bills. More action is needed if we are to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest", says Ciarán Cuffe, Member of the European Parliament.

To advance building decarbonisation, the report calls for further and binding policies at the EU level in three areas:

• reducing energy demand through renovation of the building stock
• shifting to zero-carbon fuels for heating
• reducing embedded carbon in construction and renovation materials

"This report underlines that a comprehensive policy package would stimulate investments in deep efficiency and zero carbon innovation in the buildings sector," says Oliver Rapf, Executive Director of the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE). "Smart policy making should use the many intervention points of real estate transactions, and should ensure that our buildings meet the needs of its users and support citizen-focused and livable cities. The European recovery initiative is a unique opportunity for better buildings," he continues.


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