Renovation Summit by Housing Europe: Making the future of housing greener, sustainable and affordable

The Renovation Summit was a two-day event introduced by Housing Europe – the European Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing. It is a network of 46 national and regional federations in 25 countries, including 19 EU member states.

This online event took place on the 10th and 11th of May 2021. Both days, two sessions took place, focusing on different housing and renovation-related topics, such as the EU Renovation Wave Strategy, public drivers of energy transition, financing and policies as well as relevant examples from partner organizations and the public.

The Renovation Summit brought together relevant stakeholders to discuss and promote new approaches towards the EU’s decarbonization project, to preserve social fairness and affordability in housing. The aim was to promote people-centered measures, a low-carbon culture throughout the supply chain of renovation, and an eventual search for financial resources from all levels, especially from the EU, and all kinds of institutions to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Housing Europe was not the only relevant actor present during the summit, as there managed to invite several personalities from the branches of the EU’s framework of institutions, such as Elisa Ferreira, the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, or Kadri Simson, the European Commissioner for Energy, Ciaran Cuffe, an MEP from the European Parliament, and the Rapporteur of the recent EP resolution on “Maximising the energy efficiency potential of the EU building stock” and various other representatives of the DG’s, such as DG REFORM, ECFIN or ENERGY or the European Investment Bank. All the representatives highlighted the need for an effective implementation of the Renovation Wave Strategy as well as the EU policies, which should make the application of policies towards housing easier, like the RRF structure or the European Green Deal initiative.

A great deal of concern was given to the state of social housing in Europe, which requires expansion and renovation, best done in accordance with the principles of affordability, sustainability, and innovation. Likewise, a few sessions placed importance upon the idea that housing and renovation should not be inaccessible, for example in less developed regions of Europe, where specific challenges have to be addressed, as many people live in relatively lesser conditions due to the abundance of badly isolated and low-quality multi-apartment buildings, which tend to trap people in the cycle of energy poverty.

Similarly, both Stefan Moser (DG ENERGY) and Ciaran Cuffe (Member of the European Parliament, talked about how the EU’s strategy towards renovation must be more comprehensive and understand that multi-apartment buildings contrast significantly with social housing in the West due to organizational differences and must be given a specific attention and approach.

Likewise, sessions such as Neighborhood renovation for people, presented various measures on tackling energy efficiency and poverty related issues. One of the examples was the fight for multi- apartment building renovation in Estonia, presented by Anu Sarnet from EKYL, which showcased how Estonia ambitiously plans to renovate all of their badly built and energy inefficient building blocks from the 70s by 2050, in close co-operation with homeowner associations and homeowners, which is very reminiscent of REELIH project’s goals and ideas.

Moreover, the EU will introduce new legislation, which will try to underline the priorities of the Energy Efficiency Directive, with a focus on a bottom-up approach towards achieving climate obligations, whether by 2030 or 2050. Considerable attention will also be paid to whole neighborhood enhancement, as per the New European Bauhaus initiative of the Commission.

In conclusion, the Renovation Summit achieved what it set out to do, to gather relevant stakeholders from a multi-faceted network of representatives that come from all levels of housing, from the tenants to the EU’s structures. It was a very comprehensive event as it provided much needed insight into how a successful implementation of the Renovation Wave and the recovery in Europe should work, in times of dire distress and an intensifying degree of energy poverty.

Find more information about the Renovation Summit and the initiative Our homes, our deal here.

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