EPSU and 44 civil society actors call on EU to deliver on Renovation Wave commitment to tackle energy poverty


(22 November 2021) Over 45 NGOs, trade unions and social justice groups have sent an open letter to the EU Commission today, urging them to start tackling energy poverty by delivering on its commitment to deep renovate over 35 million homes.

Last year, the European Commission committed to tackle energy poverty by including 35 million home renovations in their 2020 Renovation Wave strategy. Today, over 45 civil society actors from trade unions to NGO urge the EU to deliver on their commitment and play a pivotal part in improving the lives and living conditions of millions of Europeans.

The energy price crisis makes delivering on long-term strategies for eradicating energy poverty even more pressing. Damage control to shield vulnerable households from skyrocketing energy prices this winter is crucial, but this alone won’t solve the energy crisis or eradicate energy poverty. What’s needed are long-term solutions to tackle one of the most significant causes of energy poverty: inadequate and unsafe housing that’s bad for people’s health and wealth. 75% of the EU’s building stock is deemed inefficient and leads to an estimated annual public health burden of more than €140 billion

The upcoming Buildings Directive revision is a crucial opportunity to implement the commitments made in the Renovation Wave. Studies point out that deep renovations can reduce household energy bills by more than € 400 per year. And it’s not just people who’d benefit, efficient housing will drastically cut carbon emissions, reduce heating demand by 60%, and gas consumption to the equivalent of 25 of the world’s largest LNG gas carriers each year.

Furthermore, jobs in the construction sector are too often characterized by low wages, zero-hour contracts, informal work and poor working conditions. In parallel to the EPBD revision, the Commission should take measures to ensure that new jobs created by the renovation wave will be quality jobs with decent living conditions to reduce inequalities.

The Right to Energy coalition, which unites NGOs, trade unions and social justice groups across Europe, have sent an open letter to the EU, urging them to deliver on their commitments to end energy poverty and cut carbon emissions now. 

We call on world leaders to deliver:

  1. Tackle unsafe and inefficient housing as a priority in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)
  2. Introduce mandatory Minimum Energy Performance Standards across the residential sector with strong social safeguards
  3. Ensure the allocation of substantial EU funds for renovations, prioritising low-income households, those facing energy poverty and those living in unfit housing
  4. Provide technical assistance to Member States to develop and design effective low-income renovation programmes
  5. Support the establishment of one-stop-shops, which streamline assistance for both renovations and renewable installations; with specific schemes for low income & vulnerable households
  6. Outline stronger protections for tenants to ensure housing affordability and overcome landlord-tenant split-incentive 
  7. Ensure an ambitious deep renovation standard to support low-income households in the transition to Zero Energy Buildings 

 See the full letter here