Estonian govt approves long-term building renovation strategy

The Estonian government at a sitting on Thursday approved the long-term building renovation strategy, the main goal of which is to cost-effectively renovate the existing building stock into nearly zero-energy buildings by 2050, informed LETA/BNS.

The strategy is a part of Estonia’s national energy and climate plan, spokespeople for the government said.

Prime Minister Juri Ratas said that the state must aim to improve the living and working conditions of 80% of Estonia’s residents by renovating said environments into nearly zero-energy buildings.

“It would mean healthier and higher quality living and working environments, and overall also lower living costs. Half of our energy consumption is attributable to Estonia’s building stock, therefore, improving people’s living conditions also has a significant role in meeting our climate ambitions,” Ratas said.

The premier noted that the implementation of the strategy must also include Estonian researchers and experts, and be supported by the state.

The analysis carried out during the drafting of the strategy showed that altogether 54 mln square meters of existing building space needs to be renovated by 2050, including 100,000 residential buildings, 14,000 apartment buildings and 27,000 non-residential buildings, all of which should achieve at least energy efficiency class C.

In order to meet this goal the current yearly volume of reconstruction work would need to increase fivefold.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas said that meeting this goal requires large investments.

“On the one hand, the state can stimulate it, but it is important that as large a share of it as possible should be done at the initiative of and financing by owners of the property,” he said.

Aas said that there are currently several bottlenecks to building renovations.

“Sadly, the focus is currently not sufficiently on both improving energy efficiency as well as on the sustainability of buildings, and many property owners simply lack the financial capability to achieve class C energy efficiency,” the minister noted.

In order to overcome said bottlenecks, the strategy proposes to employ state funded financial mechanisms in the form of loans, guarantees and support, but also the introduction of new technologies, information measures as well as research and development.

In addition to the support measures, the strategy also proposes to create supplementary services through the state credit foundation Kredex in order to significantly increase the volume of housing investments and to enable the inclusion of private partners.

The long-term strategy for building renovation was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and carried out by the Tallinn University of Technology in relation to the transposition of the EU directive on the energy performance of buildings into national law.

The strategy will be presented to the European Commission for the first time in 2020, and subsequently as part of the energy and climate plan by Jan. 1, 2029, and in every ten years after that.

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