The Renovation wave should kick-start a just healthy building transition in Europe
(EurActiv, 14 Dec 2020) On 14 October, the European Commission published the Renovation Wave Strategy setting ambitious targets to reach within 10 years. The strategy aims at doubling the current annual renovation rate (to 2%), achieving 18% decrease in total energy demand and 69% decrease in CO2 emission, wile 35 million buildings should undergo deep energy renovation. This transformation of the EU building stock is a one-time opportunity to prompt the much-needed transition to healthy buildings in Europe at the same time.
We must build buildings for people
Buildings should serve the health, comfort, and wellbeing of occupants. We spend +90% of our lives indoor, thus indoor environment quality (IEQ) has a major impact on our health and life. Unfortunately, these basic principles are often ignored when constructing buildings or developing EU policies targeting energy renovation.
REHVA experts – scientists and practitioners in the field of building services engineering – have been advocating healthy indoor climate along energy efficiency for decades. We seal our buildings for energy performance so we must pay particular attention on indoor air quality. Defining minimum IEQ criteria to be reached during deep energy renovation should be widely acknowledged and practiced in policies and plans for deep energy renovation.
Well-designed and operated buildings provide clean air, comfort, and protect our health. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the importance of ventilation in mitigating virus spread. Pandemics have always transformed society in human history. This crisis is changing how we value indoor air quality and how decision makers assess the costs of not providing healthy and safe indoor environments. The lessons learned from this pandemic should inform the Renovation wave policies and their implementation.