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Green, healthy buildings as economic stimulus

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Photo by Victoire Joncheray on Unsplash

EU policy recommendations on starting a paradigm shift

We welcome the EU’s intention to ‘Rebuild Europe’ by accelerating green building renovation to support economic recovery, to support our health, to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy security.


A recent survey of hundreds of central bank and national finance department officials found that retrofitting buildings was one of the top ways to stimulate growth and cut carbon emissions. A review of 35 building retrofit programs found an average of 19 jobs created per €1m investment.


Pre-pandemic, an estimated 7.5 million jobs were involved in the renovation of buildings. A tripling of building renovation rates could create an additional 2 – 4 million jobs in the construction sector with additional jobs created amongst product manufacturers.


However, energy efficiency investment in buildings and industry has stagnated and is certainly not growing at levels required to reach the Paris Agreement goals.


For the last six years, DWS has been advising the EU as a founding member of the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group. EEFIG is convened by the EU Commission and the UN Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), bringing together 200 finance and efficiency experts. DWS (this author), is leading the Steering Committee’s focus on the covid-19 recovery package with EEFIG's rapporteur Peter Sweatman.


Public investment of €90bn/year could support deep retrofits of €243bn/year. We recommend:


  • Healthy buildings
  • Start to create mandatory building performance standards
  • A digital agenda for energy efficiency.