The Green Building Observatory (OID in French) has launched a European programme in 2021, the European Sustainable Real Estate Initiative (ESREI). This OID sponsored programme brings together real estate stakeholders to discuss ESG issues and the situation regarding ESG regulations across Europe.
In the third part of the 6th IPCC report published in April 2022 and devoted to climate change, scientists once again warned about the climate emergency in which we find ourselves, and its harmful consequences. It is definitely time for action, and the building sector, responsible for 36% of GHG emissions and 40% of energy consumption in Europe, is a key sector for achieving the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050 at European level required by the Green Deal. To meet this ambitious goal, the European Commission has set an intermediate target for 2030, Fit for 55, which aims to reduce GHG emissions at European level by 55% compared to 1990 levels. For the building sector, the target is even raised to 60%.
How to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050? The analysis of decarbonisation strategies of 9 European countries
While the objective at EU level is common, countries have some freedom in the choice of strategic directions to achieve these objectives. As a result, each European country has developed its own strategies and action plans with different GHG emission reduction targets for different time horizons.
It is in this context that the Green Building Observatory (OID), in the framework of the European Sustainable Real Estate Initiative (ESREI), has published a first study on the decarbonisation strategies of different European countries. The aim of this study is to compare the objectives and action plans of 9 European countries, namely France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and to provide an overview of the good practices that these countries have put in place, to inspire stakeholders. As far as possible, the study tried to compare figures at the European level and for the real estate sector and focused on good practices for the real estate sector.
First, the study outlines the different elements to be taken into account in the decarbonisation of the real estate sector, such as the energy mix, the regulations in terms of energy performance, and the European objective in terms of renovation (3% per year). Moreover, its figures out the strategies of the nine countries selected one by one, with their objectives and good practices. Finally, a comparison of the 9 countries is made with a table showing the decarbonisation objectives for the building sector by 2030 and 2050, the share of renewable energy in the energy mix of the countries today and the ambition for 2050, the carbon intensity of electricity in the different countries, and the measures in terms of renovation of buildings and the objectives for new buildings.
Transitioning towards less carbonated energy sources, engaging in the construction of highly energy efficient buildings and supporting renovation to improve the quality of existing building stock: these are the different levers put in place in Europe. However, the study shows that the strategies and objectives are differ from one country to another because the starting points are different, with some countries being more advanced than others on certain points, particularly on the decarbonisation of their energy and electricity mix.
Furthermore, behind the very ambitious objectives set by the countries in our sample, the step to be taken to achieve decarbonisation of the European real estate sector by 2050 is very high, and actions must follow now to succeed in reaching them. Time is running out to be able not to exceed 2 C° in 2050. Ambitious actions must be taken now, especially as we already know the solutions. Indeed, according to the 3rd part of the IPCC report, 61% of GHG emissions can be avoided in the real estate sector by using existing solutions. The imperative is no longer to experiment, but to scale up, with a view to renovating the existing stock and decarbonising our energy and electricity mix. To find out more, read the study here.
ESREI 1st anniversary: a one-time online conference to discover more about dedicated tools and studies for sustainable real estate in Europe
If you are interested to find out more about the initiative, we warmly invite you to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the ESREI programme, which will take the form of an online conference on the 30th of June, between 2:30 and 4:40 pm CET on “Mitigation and adaptation: how the building sector can face the challenge in Europe”. It will be the opportunity to present the progress of the programme in terms of publications with a focus on the R4RE platform, the dedicated mapping tool for climate change adaptation and resilience analysis developed by OID. The results of the two last ESREI’s studies will also exposed, the first about Decarbonisation of the building sector in Europe and the Comparison of EPCs in Europe.
Register for the conference here.
The ESREI programme is now sponsored by Advenis REIM, AEW, Allianz Real Estate, Amundi Asset Management, Aviva Investors France, Axa Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Real Estate, CBRE, Icade, La Française REM and PERIAL Asset Management. Launched mid-2021, the programme will have a minimum duration of 2 years.