FIEC calls for a deep and holistic approach for a successful renovation wave

FIEC publishes its position on the Renovation Wave today, with a detailed document that responds to the many aspects covered in the Communication, published last October.

“All the elements are there”, says José-Michaël Chenu, FIEC President of the Technical Commission, speaking about the Renovation Wave, for which the Communication was published in October last year. “We just need to be sure that in the push for the renovation of 35M buildings, to beyond mere energy efficiency improvements, the experts are left to decide with the customer, which materials and processes are selected to make their building efficient, structurally safe, accessible and smart”.

Material and technology neutrality is one of FIEC’s requests to the policy makers, in its position on the Renovation Wave, published today. In a detailed document, which responds to the many aspects covered in the Commission’s Communication, FIEC welcomes the new emphasis on complete or “deep” renovation, in particular the proposal for a deep renovation standard. Nevertheless, the federation recognises the potentially prohibitive cost of such renovation and acknowledges that aggregating renovation projects on the one hand and adopting standardised industrial and digital technologies on the other, should help to make the investment more affordable for the client, faster and less disruptive at the same time. At the same time, it highlights the current shortage of skilled workers, exacerbated by the pandemic. This needs to be addressed with further training and education. In terms of who should lead the Renovation Wave, Chenu remarks “The public sector needs to set the example, by immediately selecting its own buildings for deep renovation, allowing for innovative solutions, including digital technologies, that nevertheless allow for the participation of SMEs”.

One proposal that gets a muted reaction from FIEC is the potential revision of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive (2018/844). This was only recently updated and the federation believes that as there is as yet insufficient evidence of its impact on renovation rates, it is a nonsense to already look at more ambitious targets. FIEC also insists that the industry stakeholders are consulted over the introduction of Mandatory Minimum Energy Performance Standards and the revision of material recovery targets. That said, FIEC supports the emphasis on sustainable methods, that underpin the EU Green Deal, the EU’s flagship policy for the current political term. “This Renovation Wave should not only address the immediate problem of ageing and inefficient and potentially unsafe buildings; it should also support the twin green and digital transitions in construction, securing jobs for existing workers, giving them new skills and supporting the recovery of the industry after the Covid crisis” concludes Chenu.

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