EU Council first draft of conclusions regarding the Renovation Wave

EU Renovation Wave

The Renovation Wave is part of the EU Green Deal and focuses on a refurbished and improved building stock in the EU, which will help pave the way for a decarbonized and clean energy system, as the building sector is one of the largest energy consumers in Europe, responsible for more than one third of the EU’s emissions.

In practice, the Renovation Wave has an important role in facilitating access to EU funding for energy efficient building renovation.

The renovation wave will address current low decarbonization and renovation rates of around 1% across the EU and tackle the underlying barriers for improving the energy efficiency of the EU building stock. Currently, roughly 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient, yet almost 80% of today’s buildings will still be in use in 2050.

EU Council conclusions

The EU Council’s Renovation Wave conclusions focus on both the present – by acting towards repairing the economy in a time of crisis – and the future – by creating the green homes of tomorrow.

We’ve prepared a concise summary for the 34 conclusion points provided in the first draft, as follows:

  1. Recognize the crucial role that building renovations should play in the short term in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and in the long term in the decarbonization of the European building stock and the Green Deal’s roadmap for a just and inclusive energy transition.
  2. Note that building renovations can play in reducing the energy expenditure of low-income households and in improving the quality of life of Europeans
  3. Promote deep energy renovations and use a circular approach to the use of materials and sustainable construction practices, in order to maximize the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings sector as a whole
  4. Take into account climate neutrality, economic recovery, social inclusion, resource efficiency and circularity, as well as health, environmental standards, climate adaptation and digitalization, together with recognizing the importance of integrating these elements at neighborhood, community, district and city level.
  5. Emphasize the energy efficiency first principle, which should be implemented as a horizontal guiding principle across all sectors
  6. Create synergies between the sectors of the economy concerned (such as construction and banking), European, national, regional and local funding schemes, and administrative procedures.
  7. Mobilize investments and prioritize building renovations in the Resilience and Recovery Plans under the Renovate flagship area.
  8. Continue to extend and combine the available financing options for building renovations, such as green subsidies, tax and green loan incentives, green bonds, energy saving obligation schemes, on-bill finance, energy service companies (ESCOs) and energy performance contracts, and performance contracts relating to other resources.
  9. Help align action, provide technical assistance and streamline and simplify procedures at European, national, regional and local level in order to quickly mobilize the necessary funds, address possible barriers and implement renovation projects on the ground.
  10. Deploy targeted communication to potential beneficiaries in order to break through the initial decision-making barrier.
  11. Support renovations which not only focus on energy performance, driving energy efficiency and renewable solutions, but introduce life-cycle thinking and circularity, incorporate high environmental, architectural quality, health and safety standards, including as regards factors such as the water-energy nexus, fire safety and protection against seismic activities
  12. Support greater circularity and standardization in the industrial renovation processes, building design and site practices used in renovations
  13. Focus on the replacement of fossil-fuel based heating and cooling technologies and the integration of energy efficient solutions based on the use of renewable energy or waste heat
  14. Support for deployment of locally produced renewable energy and waste heat
  15. Support for neighborhood, district and city level approaches to renovation, which have more significant impact on renovations at a lower price
  16. Support for development of the New European Bauhaus project for promoting innovative, inclusive, affordable and sustainable architectural design and materials solutions which use natural materials
  17. Focus on rapid, transformative action in several sectors of the economy in order to unlock the unique funding and investment opportunities and unleash the growth potential offered by the renovation wave in the long term.
  18. Support industrial sectors that are involved in the transformation thanks to their role in developing technologies for the future and in providing access to the necessary equipment and materials
  19. Focus on long-term policy planning tools, in particular national energy and climate plans, resource efficiency and circular economy plans, and long-term renovation strategies.
  20. Support the implementation of national targets for energy efficiency and to leave sufficient room for maneuver for Member States to take into account their national specificities and to define the most cost-efficient policy pathways for the renovation and decarbonization of their building stock
  21. Support the revision of state aid rules for amplifying the incentivizing effect of public funding schemes and their potential to reach small-scale renovation projects
  22. Focus on improving the quality and availability of data on buildings and their energy use.
  23. Adapt standards to the specific conditions and priorities of individual Member States with regard to climatic conditions, resource availability, building stock, heating and cooling, and ownership structure.
  24. Support eco-design, environmental and energy labelling measures in promoting renewable energy and resources, and energy-efficient heating and cooling appliances.
  25. Support for coordination of national measures in order to accelerate renovation and the development of technologies, and promote cooperation and sharing of best practices between Member States.
  26. Promote a circular approach across the key industrial ecosystems that are likely to act as important agents for change in the renovation wave
  27. Focus on digitalization, in particular in buildings diagnostics, automated collection of data, use of renewables and of integrated energy-efficiency, demand response and flexibility systems, and use of other resource-efficiency, mobility, climate proofing, environmental-performance and accessibility solutions.
  28. Prioritize the renovation of highly visible public buildings (such as schools, hospitals, universities, social housing and other social infrastructure) and the worst performing privately-owned buildings.
  29. Support setting of high standards of renovation for public buildings
  30. Facilitate well-prepared and easy-to-apply energy efficient and green public procurement rules to the success of the renovation wave and to ensuring support for renewable-energy and energy-efficiency projects.
  31. Support for a comprehensive framework for low-income households
  32. Focus on the role renovations can play in alleviating energy poverty in the long term and ensuring a fair and just transition for the poorest building occupants
  33. Support for providing the workforce with the reskilling and upskilling opportunities that allow people to adjust and be redirected to where they are most needed, in line with the new European Skills Agenda
  34. Support and facilitate cooperation between Member States in sharing best practices and provide technical assistance; advise and support Member States in planning and implementing ambitious measures for renovation in the context of their recovery and resilience plans, develop a communication campaign in cooperation with other institutions and working in close partnership with the Committee of the Regions to raise awareness and stimulate action on the renovation wave.



Renovation is a major opportunity for economic growth as it provides jobs and boosts the construction sector, which is largely dominated by local businesses, while strengthening Europe’s industrial competitiveness. Furthermore, building renovation is therefore central to the post-COVID 19 economic recovery.

The EU Council first draft of conclusions displays key areas of support towards the European Commission’s plans regarding the Renovation Wave and represents a statement of intent to increase targets and regulation and a strong reinforcement of the Green initiative.