European cities join renovation drive to fight climate change


Two dozen European cities join drive to renovate buildings and deliver on climate objectives.

A group of 24 European cities are the latest to test out how measuring holistic benefits of renovation can help in their fight against climate change.

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has announced that 24 cities across Europe, including the capital cities Madrid, Rome and Zagreb have joined the European Union (EU)-funded BUILD UPON2 project to work with national Green Building Councils (GBCs) and project partners BPIE and Climate Alliance to develop and implement a framework that allows them to track and measure a wide range of benefits of building renovation, from energy efficiency to tackling energy poverty and creating jobs.

A total of 32 cities are now using or building capacity to implement the BUILD UPON2 framework, which is a crucial tool to deliver the EU’s Renovation Wave, an ambitious plan to at least double the bloc’s renovation rate by 2030. In this way participant cities can play their part in achieving the EU Green Deal’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

The cities involved in BUILD UPON2 are the latest in a growing trend that sees local authorities taking a leadership role on climate change, often with greater ambition than their respective national governments. In the runup to the COP26 UN climate change summit in November 2021, where BUILD UPON2 will be showcased as part of the Cities and Built Environment Day co-convened by WorldGBC, this bold statement of intent from European local governments will help increase the pressure on world leaders to take decisive action.

Stephen Richardson, director of Europe regional network at the World Green Building Council, said: “Getting all our buildings to net zero is crucial for the EU to reach its goal of climate neutrality by 2050. And there are lots of wider benefits to renovation, such as tackling energy poverty, stimulating local economies and creating jobs, which also make it a key part of the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The BUILD UPON2 project shows that by starting at the local level, cities can be accelerators of the Renovation Wave. The framework that the GBCs, project partners and cities are developing is a tool that can help cities and local authorities track and optimise their renovation programmes and achieve climate targets. The data that cities are collecting with the BUILD UPON2 framework can also strengthen the business case to unlock more finance for renovation.”

The cities and local authorities joining BUILD UPON2 are as follows.

City of Zagreb, City of Sveti Ivan Zelina, City of Karlovac

Municipality of Budavár, Municipality of Kispest

Kilkenny County Council, Cork City Council, Laois County Council

City of Brescia, City of Pesaro, City of Rome

Ruda Slaska, Gliwice, Siemianowice Slaskie

Zaragoza, Madrid, Sestao

Sakarya, Gaziantep, Bursa, İzmir

Cambridge City Council, Essex County Council, Hammersmith & Fulham (London borough)

These follower cities join the following group of BUILD UPON2 pilot cities who are already working with Green Building Councils to implement the framework.

Velika Gorica, Croatia
Budaörs, Hungary
Dublin, Ireland
Padova, Italy
Rybnik, Poland
Valladolid, Spain
Eskişehir, Turkey
Leeds, UK

The BUILD UPON2 project is welcoming cities to join its work on renovation strategies and would like to hear more about impactful renovation initiatives cities are running so they can promote them on the European stage.

Click here to find out more about the BUILD UPON2 project and get in touch with the team.