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Bringing buildings on track to reach zero-carbon by 2050


A net-zero economy by 2050 in the EU requires bold action across all sectors, and in none more than buildings. The building sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.

In its long-term strategy for 2050, the European Commission recognises the need for a near-complete decarbonisation of the building sector to meet its climate goals. At the same time, citizens have a lot to gain from decarbonisation of buildings, including health, employment, lower household energy bills, and system cost savings.

Now, more than ever, citizens require and deserve a healthy and safe place to call home. Investing in energy efficiency and zero-carbon buildings can deliver quality homes with lower energy bills. More action is needed if we are to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest.
Ciarán Cuffe, MEP and rapporteur of the own-initiative report of the European Parliament's ITRE Committee
Ecf Buildings Graphs V10 09

A new report released today by the ECF, prepared by CE Delft, shows that despite the necessity, benefits and urgency to decarbonise Europe’s buildings, the sector is not currently on a trajectory to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Current policies focusing on incentives and information are not enough for reaching this target.

Focusing on three areas where the emissions reduction potential is the greatest, namely the energy performance of the existing building envelope, energy carriers, and building materials, the report recommends a first-ever long-term roadmap of policies to deliver essential carbon reductions in the residential building sector.

This report underlines that a comprehensive policy package would stimulate investments in deep efficiency and zero-carbon innovation in the buildings sector. Smart policymaking should use the many intervention points of real estate transactions and should ensure that our buildings meet the needs of its users and support citizen-focused and livable cities.
Oliver Rapf, Executive Director, Buildings Performance Institute Europe
  • About the Net-Zero 2050 initiative

    The Net-Zero 2050 is a new initiative of the European Climate Foundation with contributions from a consortium of experts and organisations funded by the ECF.

    The objective of Net-Zero 2050 is to start building a vision and evidence base for the transition to net-zero emission societies in Europe and beyond, by midcentury at the latest. The Paris Agreement commits us to make this transition, and long-term strategic planning shows that many of the decisions and actions needed to get us on track must be taken without delay. Reports in the series seek to enhance understanding of the implications and opportunities of moving to climate neutrality across the power, industry, buildings, transport, agriculture, Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sectors; to shed light on some of the near-term choices and actions needed to reach this goal, and to provide a basis for discussion and engagement with stakeholders and policy-makers.

    With acknowledgement of the source, reproduction of all or part of the publication is authorised, except for commercial purposes.

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