How do we take Europe’s building stock to net-zero by 2050? Currently, only around 1% of the building stock is renovated each year. Even worse, only 0.2% of the renovated floor area undergoes a deep renovation that saves more than 60% primary energy. To get Europe on track to decarbonise the building stock by 2050, the renovation rate needs to triple and the ambition of these renovations need to substantially increase. In this fact sheet, we outline one policy that has the potential to drive these important changes. It also delivers significant economic, environmental and health benefits to all Europeans.

Minimum energy performance standards are regulated standards that existing buildings must meet at a designated point in the future or at a natural trigger point in the building lifecycle, like sale or renovation. The standard can be defined in many ways: presence of minimum energy efficiency measures, maximum carbon emissions or minimum energy performance. RAP illustrates how a minimum energy performance standard — based on energy performance certificate class — that tightens incrementally over time could take even the worst performing buildings to the best performance by 2050.

Policymakers in Europe and beyond are introducing such standards, designed in different ways to respond to local contexts and objectives. The fact sheet introduces the key design details of selected European policies, whilst the accompanying RAP paper summarises the design and learning from worldwide examples. The paper also examines the framework of renovation support needed alongside effective minimum energy performance standards. Elements of this framework include funding, finance and incentives, practical and technical help for building owners and measures to ensure the poorest are not burdened with costs but can benefit from better buildings.