Renovating the existing EU building stock to produce near zero energy buildings is ‘mission critical’ to achieving climate neutrality. There are no off-the-shelf approaches that achieve this objective and can be applied across the EU. An outcome-driven process of place-based innovation is required.
Innovation is especially important in developing new financing and delivery models. Public funds are limited, and huge amounts of private capital must be leveraged. New approaches are required that aggregate individual projects to create scale and that provide a secure stream of earnings to pay back the upfront investment. Promising new approaches are already being trialled.
The EU has already accepted the role of mission-based innovation in tackling the big challenges that face society. The European Commission is currently reviewing a proposal to adopt a specific mission aimed at creating 100 climate neutral cities across the EU by 2030. This proposal should be adopted and progressed with urgency since it is ideally positioned to provide the umbrella governance needed to deliver deep building renovation at the scale required.
The mission process must be designed so that it can drive forward deep building renovation. It must provide deployment support where actionable solutions are available and initiate innovation programmes where new approaches are required. It must also be able to make recommendations to the European Commission and member state governments where promising solutions require changes to the legal or regulatory framework.