One Goal, Different Strategies. Baltic Sea Region Pathway to Scale-Up Renovations
10 October 2023
OSS are designed to empower homeowners in the complex process of building renovation by bringing all the relevant information and in some cases all the services in one place. Despite OSS supporting and guiding homeowners through the renovation journey, in the BSR they are either non-existent or still offer services in a fragmented way.
One of the keys to OSS work is information and data. So, LTRSs represent one of the key documents to understand the renovation effort and to recognize the diversity of the situation of the countries in BSR. That is why a detailed analysis of LTRSs is necessary within the framework of the RenoWave project.
Evaluation of LTRSs in the Partner Countries
The methodology of evaluation was taken from Joint Research Centre (JRC) (Luca, et al., 2022) and Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) (Dan Staniaszek, 2020) studies. The LTRSs were compared based on their correspondence to the requirements listed in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). The EPBD Article 2a (EUR-lex, 2010) lists the topics and data to be addressed in the strategies (see Table1).
The LTRSs were evaluated by the score from 0 to 5 based on the following based on criteria of how extensively each point of the EPBD Article 2a was addressed in the LTRS (see Table 2).
Hence, the maximal score total score for the LTRS for each individual country is 55 (see last row, Table 3). While the biggest score for each part of the EPBD Article 2a among all the analysed countries is 35 (see last column, Table 3). Table 3 shows all the scores given to different LTRSs within the given analysis.
Only six LTRSs in the EU were submitted on time (before March 2020), all the other states submitted them with a delay, which was partially because of the COVID context and exceptional circumstances back then. Overall, it was visible that the LTRSs were structured very differently, some of them were following the structure of the provisions of Article 2a, while others were structured according to their internal logic, which made it more complicated for comparison. Four out of seven countries (LV, EE, DE, FI) included an optional part about fire safety and intense seismic activity risks. This part of the strategy was not evaluated content-wise, but rather their presence or absence in the strategy.
Among the topics that LTRSs should cover the overview of national building stock collects the biggest number of points among the countries of Baltic Sea region (BSR) (28/35). This may be connected with the fact that the countries work with building stock data on a regular basis for monitoring and the effective development of national energy and housing policy. However, the way building stock is described and what level of detail different kinds of buildings are covered if not uniform along the strategies. The details about non-residential buildings are often missing. The harmonised approach to collecting the data about the existing building stock would simplify the reporting for the member states, as well as it would enable better comparability of data (Luca, u.c., 2022).
Right after this, the roadmaps with measures to monitor the milestones for 2030, 2040, and 2050 were covered well by the countries (26/35). Germany was the only country among the analysed that did not include the concrete milestones to achieve by 2040 and 2050. However, German LTRS mentions that this data will be quantified in the updated version, once national and European specifications would be provided. The milestones for monitoring could be also well-addressed due to the fact, that to comply with the objectives of the Green Deal, each country had to define internally how it will act on climate goals. Countries used a diversity of methodologies to propose the milestones, the most used indicators were reduction of CO2 emission reduction and energy savings. The presence of a wide range of indicators, approaches, and methodologies complicates the evaluation of the efficiency of strategies at the EU level (Luca, u.c., 2022).
On the contrary, the most insufficient information was provided in the long-term renovation strategy about the implementation details of the most recent LTRS (17/35). This part is important as monitoring and evaluation enable the improvement of the policy. However, it was the least compliant among the evaluated strategies.
Wider benefits of renovation showed also not very good results (17/35), BPIE study (Luca, u.c., 2022) mentioned that among LTRSs they covered in their analysis (not all Member States submitted them at that time) very few countries quantified the wider benefits for renovations, what was later confirmed by JRC publication states that only half of Member States quantified the wider benefits (Luca, et al., 2022). However, building renovation is an area that can benefit wider areas of policymaking and this opportunity is missed if wider benefits are not considered. In the case of BSR region strategies the main wider benefits named were:
- CO2 emissions reduction
- Reduced air pollution
- Improved health and working capacity
- Job creation
- Increase in GDP
- Increase in housing value
- Reduced spending on allowances for vulnerable households
Lithuanian LTRS elaborated the most on the wider benefits of renovation, naming almost all the above-mentioned things and providing quantifications. Not all LTRSs provided qualifications for the wider benefits, some of them mentioned it only quantitatively.
The country that delivered the most extensively covered LTRS was Lithuania (45/55), it presents a very detailed overview of the existing building stock, and the complex cost-effective renovation approach distinguishing between building types. It also elaborates well on the dilemmas of the split of incentives, identifies market failures, and proposes strategies to tackle them. An overview of the situation with energy poverty is also provided. The strategy also mentioned the importance of integration of RES smart technologies and smart building management. The LTRS from Finland (36/55) also showed a very comprehensive and detailed description of the current measures and building stock situation in the country as well as elaborates on the variety of policy instruments. Innovative approaches are promoted that incentivize the use of new technologies while also the higher energy efficiency improvements than required are promoted.
LTRSs are one of the key policy documents to represent the data availability for the countries. It might be the case that for LTRS preparation the data is used which is not publically available and the source can not be easily accessed. Data availability plays a crucial role in the context of building renovation, as it empowers stakeholders to make informed decisions and improves project efficiency. Having access to comprehensive data about the building's structures, energy consumption, and historical maintenance records enables renovation professionals to identify potential areas of improvement and prioritize their efforts effectively.
Data availability also facilitates evidence-based decision-making, minimizing the risks associated with renovation projects. Starting from the renovation of individual buildings till the renovations at the bigger scales (quarter, district) data analysis would enable monitoring the impact of renovation in the different spheres from achieved energy savings and CO2 emission reduction to improved health and well-being. Transparency in the renovation process can also be achieved by data availability and accessibility. This would enable to avoid information asymmetry among stakeholders involved in the renovation process. Asymmetric information represents an additional barrier in scaling up the renovation, as it triggers a lack of trust and resistance to the renovation process.
The lack of data availability, as well as the diversified methods of calculations used, can further complicate the benchmarking of the data relevant to the renovation process, especially for non-professionals in the field. For example, many LTRSs use building energy classes to present some of the building stock data. Building energy class is the key component of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). A building energy classification system assigns a label based on how energy-efficient a building is. A bit more than 60% of Member States in the EU use the traditional A-G label, but others have implemented other approaches, not only using a different number of classes but also introducing subclasses. Different labeling systems may make the benchmarking of buildings based on classes not so straightforward. Also, the number of issued EPCs varies significantly among the countries, which goes back again to the diverse levels of data availability.
Overall, LTRSs give a good orientation to the EU countries for defining the national requirements for building data and therefore represent a very important step on the way to improving data availability and coming up with strategies for scaling up the renovation wave. Approximately in one year according to the recast of EPBD, LTRSs would be replaced by national building renovation plans, which would include concrete targets for renovation by 2030, 2040, and 2050. National building renovation plans would be submitted every 5 years. The template for the plans will be provided in the Annexes. The first drafts of national building renovation plans are expected to be submitted in June 2024. Plans would need to address more ambitious renovation targets introduced by the recast. For example, some of the targets are that all public and non-residential buildings with a Class G EPC would need to undergo renovations to reach at least Class F by 2027 and Class E by 2030. While all non-public residential buildings with a Class G EPC would need to reach at least Class F by 2030 and Class E by 2033 (CA EPBD, 2023). In addition to that, each Member State would be obliged to set up a database for EPCs and share the required information with the EU Building Stock Observatory, for the Commission to create a comprehensive overview. Member States will also ensure that building owners, tenants, and managers, along with accredited third parties, have access to their building systems' data, ensuring its interoperability within the EU (Wilson, 2022). The EU comes up with various indicators to improve the benchmarking of building stock across the member states, while also tracking the progress toward climate action. An example is the EU Buildings Climate Tracker, which is an index composed of six indicators and represents an assessment tool of the EU’s progress towards climate neutrality. This index will also shape and be reflected in the revision of EPBD. In conclusion, data remains at the heart of policy design for the housing sector, as it enables monitoring accountability and improvement (BUILD UP, 2022).
Author: Karine Jegiazarjana, Housing Initiative for Eastern Europe (IWO)
 RES -renewable energy sources
BUILD UP. (2022). EU Buildings Climate Tracker.
CA EPBD, D. D. (2023, August). Retrieved from https://confluence.external-share.com/content/267c175a-32e9-4999-965f-b007aea1b59e?sortChildren=tree
Dan Staniaszek, J. K. (2020). A review of Member States Long Term Renovation Strategies. e Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE). Retrieved from https://www.bpie.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/LTRS-Assessment_Final.pdf
EUR-lex. (2010). Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (recast). Retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:02010L0031-20210101
Luca, C., Daniele, P., Paolo, Z., Carmen, M., Marina, E., Tiago, R. S., . . . Sofia, T. T. (2022). Assessment of first long-term renovation strategies under the Energy Performance of Buildings. JRC. doi:10.2760/535845
Wilson, A. (2022). Revision of the Energy Performance of Building Directive. European Parliamentary Research Service. Retrieved from https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2022/698901/EPRS_BRI(2022)698901_EN.pdf