Buildings have a critical role to play in fighting climate change, being responsible for 36% of GHG emissions in Europe. Renovating these buildings to reduce our energy consumption will be key to safeguarding the wellbeing of our societies, however current renovation rates are not sufficient to ensure a rapid decarbonisation. A new report shows that citizens can significantly speed up the process of renovating the EU’s building stock.

What is citizen-led renovation, and how does it work?

Citizen-led renovation is a concept developed by with support from our members in partnership with the Coalition for Energy Savings, Stefan Scheuer Consulting and the European Climate Foundation. Its purpose is to develop a bottom-up method to trigger building renovation projects in private and collective housing, led by their owners: Citizens.

However, citizens currently often face barriers related to simple home renovation projects, especially when it comes to deep renovation (the kind needed to decarbonise Europe's building stock). Can cooperatives aid this transition?

The role of energy cooperatives in buildings renovation

With the definition of Renewable Energy Communities now included in the recast Renewable Energy Directive, and the need for EU Member States to develop enabling frameworks to support these communities, there is an unprecedented opportunity for European citizens to develop collective approaches to issues such as renovation through a local lens.

Cooperatives have long invested profits of renewable energy activities in supporting members on building renovations, by increasing social acceptance and keeping individual investments affordable. Programmes such as RhedCoop in Belgium and People Power Retrofit in the UK harnessed this potential to bring about citizen-led renovation, though barriers such as access to technical skills prevent these projects excelling to the best of their ability