Green Building Councils launch €2.35m European retrofit BUILD UPON project

Green Building Councils launch €2.35m European retrofit BUILD UPON project

Green Building Councils across Europe are today launching an ambitious €2.35 million project to support governments in designing and implementing the national renovation strategies many have so far struggled to deliver in accordance with EU law.

80 key organisations from across 24 countries are meeting at Arup HQ in London on 20 of March for the launch of BUILD UPON, an innovative two year project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. The project aims to drive the design and implementation of a long-term framework for scaling-up deep energy efficient renovation in 13 countries.

Beginning by mapping out a network of over 1,000 key stakeholders and the current landscape of retrofit initiatives, Green Building Councils will then be working with governments and major cities to mobilise a year-long stakeholder dialogue process, facilitating replication of retrofit best practice across the region by identified experts. The project’s results will feed into countries’ v2.0 renovations strategies.

EU countries were required to deliver long-term renovation strategies to Brussels in accordance with the Energy Efficiency Directive by 30 April 2014, a deadline which most missed, with many of the strategies now in place falling short of the requirements of the Directive. Countries now have until 30 April 2017 to strengthen and resubmit their strategies to Brussels. With the European Commission’s ‘Energy Union’ placing a renewed focus on full implementation of EU energy efficiency in buildings law, the next two years will be crucial for countries to put in place an ambitious and feasible framework for deep renovation.

Emilio Miguel Mitre, BUILD UPON’s Coordinator and Director of International Affairs at GBC España, said: “Governments across Europe have an extremely difficult task in having to define a strategy to scale-up energy efficient renovation, and provide the finance and instruments to help achieve this scale. A crucial ingredient missing in each country at the moment is wide-spread buy-in to a common strategy. This is not just the responsibility of governments to deliver, but the responsibility of the public sector, private sector and civil society alike. That strategy and buy-in is precisely what BUILD UPON aims to deliver, building upon the work of the Europe Regional Network of GBCs.”

Comment from Industry Leaders

“Industry needs long-term regulatory certainly to invest in innovative building technologies and new management systems to realise ever greener buildings. As the existing building stock is our biggest challenge, effective national renovation strategies are crucial for this long-term vision. As industry we look forward to working with governments to develop ambitious but practical strategies.”

Thomas Reynaert, President, United Technologies International Operations, Europe

“Up-scaling renovation will not happen in Europe unless building professionals, owners, service and solution providers, product manufacturers and financing bodies work more and better together: this is definitely something renovation strategies can help to achieve, with the support of the governments in each and every EU country”.

Pascal Eveillard, Director for Public Affairs and Sustainable Habitat, Saint-Gobain

“Building renovation is an untapped fuel to power jobs and growth in Europe but buildings don't renovate themselves. It is urgent to establish ambitious and robust action plans for building renovation to unlock this huge potential and the Green Building Councils are uniquely placed to help make this happen.”

Barry Lynham, Group Director Strategy and Communications, Knauf Insulation

“Arup strongly believes in the need for national strategies to tackle the major challenges that face European nations. In the UK, Arup is investing its own resources in the design of a programme to halve the energy consumption of every home in the UK in 25 years. Its outcomes will be to improve energy security, reduce demand on the health service, stimulate the economy, increase employment, increase tax revenues, reduce domestic energy bills, reduce GHG emissions, and eliminate the scourge of fuel poverty.”

Chris Jofeh, Global Buildings Retrofit Leader, Arup


Notes to Editors

Download the BUILD UPON Project Summary here.

Visit the Europe Regional Network website.

Introducing our Network

Green Building Councils are not-for-profit, member-based organisations that are driving the transformation of buildings, communities and users’ behaviour towards sustainability. The World Green Building Council is a coalition of over 100 national Green Building Councils and 27,000 members around the world, making it the largest international organisation influencing the green building marketplace. Our Europe Regional Network consists of over 30 national Green Building Councils and works in collaboration with more than 5,000 member companies across Europe, which represent the full breadth of stakeholders in the buildings industry. A crucial part of green building is bringing the whole value chain in our industry together to provide better solutions, and this is exactly what we are doing through our members.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 649727.