Two thirds of the 43.6 million apartments in family and collective buildings in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (SEE) are older than 30 years (built before 1989, according to EU Building Stock Observatory) and are largely energy inefficient. Citizens and communities are struggling due to high energy bills, poor living comfort, severe air pollution and dependence on fossil fuels above the EU average.

With the intention of helping to solve these pressing problems, leading companies in the building renovation sector – DAIKIN, DANFOSS, KNAUF INSULATION, ROCKWOOL, SAINT-GOBAIN, SIGNIFY and VELUX signed a joint memorandum this week at the Forum on Energy Efficiency of Central and Eastern Europe (C4E Forum) in Slovakia. Leaders commit to joint effort and work and take systematic and effective steps to encourage building renovation and energy efficiency improvement in public policy discussions in CEE countries. The signatory companies of the initiative have more than 42 thousand employees and 100 production facilities in Central and Eastern Europe.

They intend to focus on a more organized and effective engagement in national discussions on public policies and on setting the topic of building renovation as a priority. Citizens and institutions need their governments to adopt public policies that will help them overcome numerous obstacles in the renovation of their buildings and contribute to common goals in the form of cleaner air, public health, energy security and decarbonization.

MIVUS is an association of producers and distributors of insulating materials made of mineral wool, on the territory of Serbia. Founded in 2022 to create a more favorable business environment for mineral wool insulation solutions and promote improved standards for insulation materials, MIVUS is an organization whose members manufacture a wide range of mineral wool products for thermal and sound insulation, fire protection in residential, commercial buildings and industrial facilities, sound protection, as well as greening solutions. KNAUF INSULATION and ROCKWOOL are members of MIVUS. The mission of the Mineral Wool Association of Serbia – MIVUS is to represent the interests of its members, educate the public in the fields of application of mineral wool products in building insulation, fire protection, energy efficiency and sound comfort, as well as partner cooperation with the public sector in the process of improving regulations and bringing them closer together and including into the world and European streams of energy efficiency, safety and fire protection, sound protection, ecology and sustainable construction.

Building renovation can provide healthier, more efficient and cheaper homes to maintain, as well as cleaner air and improved energy security in CEE countries. Moreover, the renovation of buildings already provides hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region today.

The industry supports these views with expert studies: just by insulating residential buildings, an average of 44% of total end-user energy consumption and 46% of natural gas can be saved, according to Buildings Performance Institute Europe. EuroWindoor found that window replacement can result in possible additional energy savings of up to 15% of total heating needs. Healthy Homes Barometer 2022 showed that one in three Europeans is affected by at least one indoor climate risk, such as dampness and mould, lack of lighting, cold or excessive noise levels.

Heat pumps have the potential to save more than 600 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions within the European construction fund, according to Gluckman Consulting outlook. Ecophys has calculated that technical systems in buildings, which include measurements, temperature regulation and balancing of heating, cooling and hot water installations, have the potential to create energy savings of up to 30%.

Finally, switching all lighting systems to connected LEDs could reduce annual emissions by 19 million tons of carbon dioxide and energy costs by 16.4 billion euros in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as stated by Green Switch conversion model.

Regional business leaders have committed to improving the visibility of building renovation and energy efficiency issues by providing the necessary personnel and financial resources to establish and maintain national associations equipped with expertise for effective involvement in public discussions and debates. The companies also aim to use their expertise and knowledge by inviting other business entities, non-governmental organizations, academic and public institutions, to cooperate and support national and regional initiatives that advocate building renovation and energy efficiency. Cooperation will focus on energy efficiency policies, renovation programs and other related aspects in CEE countries, including Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and others.

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