The Power of Energy Efficient Renovations: Why Building Upgrades Are Key to Fighting Climate Change
Renovations are not only a popular way to update and modernize homes, offices and other structures but also a critical component in reducing carbon emissions and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. The existing building stock is responsible for a significant portion of global carbon emissions, with energy inefficient buildings being a major contributor.
According to a report by the Financial Times, there is a large energy efficiency gap in the UK housing stock, with many buildings falling short of their potential energy performance levels. Unsurprisingly, old buildings in the UK are seen as one of the primary factors contributing to this energy efficiency gap.
Nearly 38% of the UK’s housing stock was built before 1946 — a higher proportion than in any EU country. The UK’s homes are also significantly older than those in the US, where 15% were built before 1945, and Japan, with 2% built before 1945. Gillian Charlesworth, chief executive of BRE, says 80 per cent of the homes that make up the UK’s current housing stock will still be in use in 30 years’ time. This means that retrofitting existing homes will also be crucial to meeting the UK’s commitment to net-zero emissions, she adds.
Along with the UK, many other countries, especially in Europe, are beginning to implement renovation drives to improve the energy efficiency of their existing building stock. These efforts are backed by numerous studies and statistics demonstrating the benefits of building renovations.
A report by the UK Green Finance Taskforce estimated that investment in building renovations to improve energy efficiency could generate up to £28 billion in economic benefits and support up to 400,000 jobs in the UK by 2030. The European Commission has estimated that the renovation wave in Europe could create up to 2 million new jobs by 2030. In addition to the job creation potential, renovating and retrofitting buildings can also reduce energy bills for occupants, improve indoor air quality and comfort, and contribute to achieving net-zero carbon emissions. As countries around the world continue to ramp up their efforts to reduce carbon emissions, building renovation drives will play an increasingly important role in achieving a sustainable future.
The fight against climate change is a top priority for the European Union (EU), and the acceleration of building renovations is a key tool in achieving this goal.
The EU’s ambition is to mobilize at least €350 billion in public and private investment for building renovation as part of the European Green Deal Investment Plan and the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Of this investment, € 125 billion is earmarked for public buildings, and € 225 billion for private buildings.
Energy-efficient renovation of buildings can bring about significant benefits, such as transforming old and unattractive buildings into modern and energy-efficient ones. One cost-effective way to achieve this transformation is through the installation of External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS), which provide a rejuvenated look for the project by being applied over the existing exterior façades of old buildings. By using ETICS in renovation projects, the European Union aims to achieve its renovation targets, while simultaneously creating modern and energy-efficient buildings that are appealing to residents, property owners, investors, and businesses alike.
In addition to improving the look of old buildings, the installation of ETICS can also significantly improve their energy efficiency. The European Union’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive reports that buildings insulated with ETICS can achieve a U-value as low as 0.15 W/(m²K) for walls, which can lead to reduced energy consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions. While contributing to sustainability goals and the targets of the European Green Deal, as well as the fight against climate change, the installation of ETICS can also improve the comfort and quality of life for building occupants.
ETICS also offers greater design flexibility for projects as it caters to current demands in major renovations and allows for the creation of complex façade designs. Not only do these renovations improve the quality of life for those living or working in a space, but they have also proven to increase the overall property value.
Advancing Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Building Insulation with Certified ETICS Systems and Partnerships
When it comes to the thermal insulation of building façades, certification plays a vital role in ensuring that the insulation system meets certain standards of quality, safety and performance. It gives building owners, designers, and contractors confidence that the system will perform as expected over its lifespan and provide long-term benefits such as energy savings, improved indoor comfort, and reduced environmental impact.
Terraco Group, a global provider of building solutions, has been proactively involved in the design, specification, and production of energy-efficient, thermally insulated external wall façade systems for both new builds as well as energy-efficient renovations of existing buildings around the world .
Over the last two decades, Terraco Group’s R&D teams in Europe have invested substantial time and resources to achieve European ETA Certification and UK BBA Certification for their ETICS, or EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems) as it is known in many markets.
Terraco ETICS / EIFS Systems, including Terraco EIFS Alpha Systems (Expanded Polystyrene/Graphite EPS) and Terraco EIFS Perma Systems (Mineral Wool), have been internationally certified, meaning that the systems have been tested and certified by third parties to meet specific requirements for thermal performance, fire safety, durability, and environmental impact.
Terraco is also a member of the EAE (European Association for External Thermal Insulation Composite Systems). This enables the group to leverage EAE’s expertise in ETICS and combine it with Terraco’s 40 years of experience in the industry to develop sustainable and energy-efficient building insulation solutions.
Terraco continuously works to develop, test, and certify new and innovative ETICS / EIFS systems. This, along with consistent engagement with key stakeholders on collaborative research projects, ensures that the company stays at the forefront of sustainable, energy-efficient construction solutions. Terraco’s thermal insulation systems are one step towards a better, greener, future for the building industry.