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Citizen-led renovation
News article18 June 20242 min read

Empowering Citizens through Renovation - Insights from the EUSEW Session

four people on a podium

The recent EUSEW session on "support services for Citizen-Led renovation" moderated by Stefan Scheuer from the support service for citizen-led renovation projects focused on the significant role of citizens and local communities in accelerating energy renovations, which are essential for meeting the EU’s climate and energy targets. The session emphasised the importance of empowering citizens to take the lead in decarbonising residential buildings, a crucial step towards the 2050 goal.

In his scene setter, Stefan Moser, Head of Unit Energy Efficiency of buildings and products, DG ENER, European Commission, underlined that with the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings directive all member states have tools at hand to decarbonise the building stock. What is still needed is learn from experiences and share best practise examples on local level. 

Stefan Moser in fron of EUSEW Poster

The session aimed to bring together on-the-ground initiatives that receive technical assistance by the support service for Citizen-led renovation projects as well as perspectives from EU-level, national and local authorities.

Luís Cachinho, Project Manager at Coopérnico, another pilot project of the support service, and the first non-profit entity focused on placing citizens in the driver’s seat, shared insights into how their organisation supports local energy communities, including renovations. He emphasised the importance of local involvement and awareness-raising to ensure the success of these initiatives.

Annik Bogaerts from the Life IP BE REEL project, Director, Kenniscentrum Vlaamse Steden discussed the pivotal role of local authorities in convincing citizens to renovate their homes, highlighting the complexity of individual decision-making processes and the necessity of effective communication and engagement strategies.

Jeroen Baets, Coordinator at Energent, pilot of the support service, underscored the need to speed up the energy transition, revealing that 3,000 pieces of advice have already been provided for renovation projects. Despite this progress, much work remains to be done, and there is a growing need for simplification and better documentation processes to support citizens.

Jeroen Baets on a podium speaking

The discussion also explored the broader vision of citizen-led renovation. Felix Kriedemann, Policy Adviser, Rescoop pointed out that the recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) presents a unique opportunity to bring ownership of the renovation process back to citizens. This, in turn, can drive market actors and foster a sense of community involvement.

Stefan Moser concluded by addressing the critical question of how to convince citizens of the benefits of renovation. He argued that while idealism is important, practical benefits such as payback and investment returns are crucial for widespread adoption. Strengthening local authorities and providing the necessary tools and frameworks are essential steps toward successful implementation.

For a deeper understanding of these discussions and insights, watch the full session recording on YouTube here.

By engaging citizens and communities in the renovation process, the EU aims to create a sustainable and resilient future, ensuring that energy renovations are not just a regulatory requirement but a collaborative effort that benefits all.


Publication date
18 June 2024