To achieve climate neutrality by 2050, the EU needs to boost its energy efficiency and reduce its energy consumption faster. That will allow to achieve reductions in greenhouse gases and pollutants, while relieving pressure on Europe’s energy supply and prices.

Europe's heatwaves: How to keep buildings cool sustainably?

Europe’s temperatures are rising more than twice as fast as the global average with more and more extreme heatwaves being recorded. The demand for sustainable cooling in buildings is increasing and, there is a need for buildings that are energy efficient, use passive cooling solutions and can protect people from heatwaves and contribute to human health and well-being.

Key elements of a sustainable cooling strategy include tailoring to local contexts, promoting urban cooling solutions, prioritising investment in passive cooling techniques, using active cooling systems rationally and moderately, and developing low-energy cooling systems that are suited to future warmer climates.

Energy-efficient buildings and climate change

Historical greenhouse gas emissions from the EU buildings sector show a decreasing trend since 2005. This is the result of the implementation of higher standards for new buildings, measures to increase energy efficiency in existing buildings (e.g. through changing of heating systems, thermal insulation and more efficient heating systems), measures to decarbonise the electricity sector but also warmer temperatures.

These reductions were partially offset by the increase in dwellings and by a larger average floor area in buildings. The trend in reducing emissions is expected to continue in the future, but a very strong increase in the renovation rate is needed to meet the overall EU 2030 emissions target.

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