World’s largest retrofit project aims to cut building emissions

The world’s largest collaborative project on building renovation has been launched by Green Building Councils across Europe, bringing together more than 1,000 organisations in a concerted effort to reduce emissions from buildings. 

The €2.35m project, named BUILD UPON, will be supporting governments, industry and civil society to deliver so called ‘national renovation strategies’ – long-term plans on how they will renovate their nation’s homes and commercial buildings to high standards of energy efficiency.  These strategies are required by 30 April 2017 under EU law.

Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, BUILD UPON is led by Green Building Councils from 13 countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey, and is supported by the World Green Building Council’s Europe Regional Network. 

Emissions from existing buildings account for 36 per cent of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. Tackling the issue together will be a diverse range of organisations, including governments and local authorities, constructions companies, product manufacturers, energy providers, banks and other financial institutions, and NGOs. 

They will be aiming to agree strong national strategies with clear energy saving targets, coordinated awareness raising initiatives that engage citizens, skills programmes that train the construction workforce to deliver high quality retrofit, financial mechanisms such as green mortgages and loans, and policies such as strengthened energy performance certificates.

Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council, said: “Existing buildings are one of Europe’s biggest challenges when it comes to tackling climate change. We can turn that challenge into a solution, but need nothing short of a renovation revolution.

“BUILD UPON will spark that revolution by gathering an unprecedented number of key players including governments, businesses and NGOs, in a collaborative community where they will work together to transform Europe’s existing buildings into green buildings.”

The BUILD UPON project will use two key platforms to aid this collaboration:

•The RenoWiki - an online portal which allows individuals to upload real-life initiatives on building renovations in Europe in order to share best practice and successful initiatives. To date, there are more than 550 initiatives on the RenoWiki. 

•A series of over 80 events in the capital and major cities of the 13 project countries to consult and engage key players in what could be included in their renovation strategies, such as policy measures, finance mechanisms, skills programmes and awareness raising initiatives.

The RenoWiki and a full events programme are available at