After more than a year of preparations, the BUILD UPON project is launching a series of 80 European events that aim to bring together more than 1,000 organizations in a concerted effort to reduce emissions from buildings.

Emissions from existing buildings account for 36 percent of the European Union’s (EU’s) total CO2 emissions.

BUILD UPON looks to overcome this challenge by 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 April 30, 2017 under EU law.

The €2.35 million project, funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, 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.

It will see a diverse range of organizations come together to collaborate on how to tackle this issue, including governments and local authorities, construction companies, product manufacturers, energy providers, banks and other financial institutions, and non-governmental organizations(NGOs).

They will be aiming to agree on strong national strategies with clear energy saving targets, coordinated awareness raising initiatives that engage citizens, skills programs that train the construction workforce to deliver high quality retrofits, 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” — a groundbreaking 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. Examples include Latvia’s ‘Lets Live Warmer,’ an award-winning awareness raising campaign that has led to greater uptake of housing insulation, and “RenoValue,” a project aimed at training building valuation professionals to factor energy efficiency into their valuation practices.

• 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 programs, and awareness raising initiatives.

Emilio Miguel Mitre, coordinator of BUILD UPON and director of international affairs at GBC España, said, “There are already hundreds of initiatives on building renovation taking place across Europe, yet they often exist independently from one another, with limited means of sharing success and best practice, or lessons learned.

“Now is the time to build upon these relatively strong but scattered foundations by combining our efforts and aligning our resources to achieve a greater collective impact. This huge coordination effort is the central challenge BUILD UPON is taking on.”

Content for the European Spotlight is provided courtesy of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Magazine, London. For more information, visit

Publication date: 3/21/2016

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