Building renovation: Improving living conditions for millions of European citizens and safeguarding energy security

Written by Cosmina Marian, based on the work of Dan Staniaszek, Filippos Anagnostopoulos,  Maarten De Groote and Oliver Rapf  from BPIE

An analysis of the vulnerability to gas-supply disruptions concludes that Central and South-East European (SEE) countries are facing a strategic choice. The Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) found that Slovakia and Hungary face a severe risk, and Bulgaria a substantial one, to be unable to heat their national building stocks.

While exploring the vulnerability of the building sector to gas-supply interruptions in specific countries of the region - through the prism of a newly developed Building stock Vulnerability Indicator (BVI) – concerns around Europe’s energy dependency are renewed. The BVI takes into account the size of gas consumption in the building sector, along with the dependence on imported gas and its import diversity in terms of provenance.

To counter gas dependency, BPIE offers an alternative solution to mitigating supply risks through building renovation. A dedicated renovation programme could, within 20 years, address all gas-using buildings in the region and reduce the building stock gas consumption by as much as 8.2 bcm/a, or 70% of the current consumption.

This solution can prove to be very effective as the building stock in SEE countries consumes 38% of the gas imports. And unlike supply-side solutions, which make the region more dependent on imported gas in the long term, demand-side solutions also bring a raft of other benefits – creating employment, boosting economic growth, cutting fuel poverty and improving the region’s often very poor air quality. It is important to note that such measures will greatly improve the living conditions of millions of citizens.

The analysis goes further by testing the financial viability of an ambitious renovation programme and finds that the savings far outweigh the initial commitment. A collective investment from all SEE countries of up to €81bn (present value) over 20 years would be required to implement this programme. This investment would lead to financial returns in the form of reduced energy bills amounting to €106bn (present value). And this return does not yet include the economic advantages of reducing financial flows to third-party countries and the benefit of stimulating the national economy.

For governments to successfully set into motion this demand-side solution, a set of recommendations are put forward, covering risk assessment and preventive measures, guidance on investment opportunities as well as on developing future EU and MS level strategies.

For a more in-depth look into the findings, see BPIE’s full report at:


Cosmina has been with the Buildings Performance Institute from March 2013. Her main responsibilities relate to supporting the implementation of BPIE’s communication strategy and plan by producing articles, organising high level events, actively looking for partnership opportunities as well as managing and supporting communication activities for several EU-funded projects. She holds a M.A. degree in Political Science from the Université Libre de Bruxelles.



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