(Source: European Committee of Regions)
he upgrade of the energy performance of buildings is crucial to achieve the climate objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 Over 80 young local and regional Young Elected Politicians (YEPs) from 21 European countries participated in an info session on the implementation of the Renovation Wave at the local level organized by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) on 23 June. During the event the young politicians engaged with representatives of the CoR Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE), the Covenant of Mayors Initiative, the European Investment Bank, the European Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) and the European City Facility Initiative, who provided them with key information on tools and financial support opportunities to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
The path towards a decarbonised and clean energy system in Europe starts at the local and regional level. Buildings are one of the largest sources of energy consumption, and local and regional authorities play a key role in driving energy efficiency in this sector. For this reason, this first 2021 YEPs info session on the European Green Deal focused on the Renovation Wave, the new strategy of the EU to renovate the entire building stock and make it compatible with the climate goals. The session was organized in three main debates:
– the first one on the objectives of the Renovation Wave and the CoR’s work on the European Green Deal,
– the second one presented the Covenant of Mayors initiative and its support to local and regional authorities,
– and the third one focused on the financial tools at disposal to implement the renovation of buildings at local level.
Rafał Trzaskowski (PL/EPP), President of the capital city of Warsaw, Climate Pact Ambassador, member of the Political Board of the Covenant of Mayors and rapporteur of the CoR opinion on the European Climate Pact shared Warsaw’s experience in implementing the Renovation Wave.
“Local and regional authorities play an essential role in making the green transition happen. It is us who implement 90% of climate adaptation measures and 70% of climate mitigation policies, so if the renovation wave does not happen at local and regional level, it will not happen at all. It is us who also have the highest level of people’s trust. Therefore, we should lead by example in the renovation of public buildings like local administration buildings, hospitals, social housing and schools. But to be able to do so we need more tools and resources and a greater decentralization of the decision making processes” , said Mr Trzaskowski.
Frédéric Boyer , Head of the European Office of the Covenant of Mayors, presented the Covenant of Mayors’ initiative and stressed the need to consider local and regional authorities when drafting energy and climate EU legislation to ensure the success of its implementation. He encouraged the YEPs to join the Covenant and to be the drivers of the green transition in their cities and regions by starting to renovate public buildings.
Marcin Idczak , from the European Investment Bank, Céline Tougeron, project coordinator at the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) and Francisco Gonçalves, coordinator of the European City Facility Initiative of Energy Cities, presented different programs and mechanisms to finance projects to upgrade and renovate buildings. Examples included the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA), the Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS) or the LIFE Clean Energy Transition sub-programme.