The Potential of Climate Renovation

As buildings account for 40% of energy demand, they also play an essential role in solving the challenge of reducing the world's energy consumption. We can get most of the way to achieving Europe's 2020 carbon emission target by halving the energy use in existing buildings with solutions available and scalable today. This would not only generate increased economic activity and jobs but also improve the living conditions of the people living, working and playing inside these buildings; and it would minimise the environmental impact of buildings – a triple bottom line gain.

90% of today´s buildings will still be in use in 2050, so existing buildings offer a new opportunity for climate renovation and for exploiting hitherto unleashed potential. Recent studies project that an average of up to 1 million jobs could be generated in the period 2011-2050 if renovation of existing buildings were accelerated.

However, it is not enough to look at societal parameters and to create buildings that are energy efficient and close to carbon neutral. We also need to ensure that buildings support and nurture important human factors, such as health and well-being, through a comfortable indoor climate based on daylight and fresh air through the roof.

LichtAktiv Haus in Hamburg is one of several demonstration buildings initiated by the VELUX Group to show how we can meet the 2020 goals. The existing house was climate renovated to Active House principles and exemplifies that it is possible to improve energy efficiency and indoor climate, with minimal environmental impact, using the knowledge and the materials available today.

These key learning points are presented in the VELUX contribution to the G8 magazine "G8. Climate Change – The New Economy" released at the 39th G8 Summit.

Read the VELUX Group article "Climate renovation holds a huge potential" in the web version of the G8 magazine, page 32-35: