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Lefkonos 2-12, 1011 Nicosia
A team of building experts designing a deep energy renovation © Malachi Witt, Pixabay

by Vassilis Duros, Physicist, NKUA. 6 minutes read

Deep energy renovations (DER) in buildings are now required to satisfy the European Union's low carbon emission efficiency standards in order to confront the climate crisis and boost the economic recovery of Europe after the pandemic outbreak. With annual energy renovation rates expected to double in the next 10 years, the building sector is expected to make a substantial change in achieving high energy efficiency goals by 2050. Construction sector and building experts are urged to upskill their workforce. This implies both, meeting the targets and learning to use innovative approaches and technological solutions to ensure high quality construction and to increase the energy performance of buildings. However, there are aspects that prevent the implementation of DER at a large extent.

Within this context, UPGREAT project aims to identify gaps and barriers for energy efficiency implementation methods in Greece and Cyprus through a targeted survey for building experts related to technical, financial and policy issues that may pose challenges to further boost building renovations. The survey methodology of assessing the experience of building experts in DER projects in order to identify gaps and barriers in energy efficiency implementation is the first level towards UPGREATs project scope which is the development, application and dissemination of a Total Training Toolkit - an educational package- through capacity building actions for different target groups involved with energy renovations in buildings.

The preliminary results of this survey were presented under the "innovative projects for societal transformation" topic in the 5th International Conference of Economic and Social Sciences, organized by the Bucharest University of Economic Studies on the 16 and 17 of June, in Bucharest, Romania where two intensive days of plenary speeches and specialized parallel sessions debates in hybrid real-online format resulted in high quality practical insights and networking.

The findings of the assessment of the survey results in Greece and Cyprus indicated that a percentage of 22% in Cyprus finds that legislation restrictions and lack of skilled actors prevails in the difficulties faced in DER projects. In Greece 15% indicate technical issues in the design and construction phase as the main difficulty faced. Economic and financial barriers also play an important role for the realization of DER projects; lack of funds or access to finance is considered as the most important financial barrier in Greece, selected by the 36% of those answered while poor financial incentives is regarded among the top economic bottlenecks for 20% of the Cypriot respondents. Concerning the drivers that may boost the deep energy renovation projects, the results show improved financial solutions by 80% approximately in both countries (77% Greece, 82% Cyprus). Furthermore, consultancy & training (48% Greece, 36% Cyprus), and upgrading the skills of professionals (38% Greece, 45% Cyprus) are considered main drivers to boost deer energy renovations. An important policy gap for the applicability of energy efficiency policies is the poor national / regional legislative framework for renovation of existing building in Greece by 34% while in Cyprus the gaps are related to lack of voluntary national DER standards, poor overall ambition of the EE policies and no monitoring of the implementation of legislation; all three equally selected by 20%.

The results presented in this study were collected while the survey was still ongoing and thus they should be considered as an initial depiction of a broader picture. Due to the small sample size, a factor that limits generalizability, the results should not be considered as representative nor sufficient of the entire building professionals' universe but as indicative, and so they should be used with prudence. The present work will be extended to add further data, thus becoming more representative of the building professionals' population in each country. However, these first results provide an indication that training and upgrading the skills of professionals are a main driver in upgrading the existing building stock that requires an integrated training methodology

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