New Retrofit Tool Helps LAs Track Benefits

Build upon - retrofit

A NEW TOOL – trialled by over 30 cities across Europe – is a framework that helps local governments measure the benefits of retrofitting buildings, including their environmental, social and economic impacts such as carbon savings, energy poverty alleviation and job creation.

The tool, called the BUILD UPON2  Energy Renovation Framework, helps local governments measure a set of 13 indicators that should be tracked as part of successful renovation programmes, for example, CO2 emissions reductions, percentage of households lifted from energy poverty, improvements to indoor air quality and jobs supported due to energy renovation works. The framework of indicators is complemented with resources to help cities collect data and report results effectively.

A total of 32 cities are now using or building capacity to implement the BUILD UPON2 Framework. This is a crucial tool to deliver the EU’s retrofitting plans aiming to at least double the bloc’s renovation rate by 2030. In this way, cities can help meet the EU goal of climate neutrality by 2050.

Retrofit Tool National Impact

The BUILD UPON2 project is also having an impact at the national level. With this new holistic approach to measuring the benefits of renovation, local governments can feed into national strategies), which are a legal requirement for all EU member states.

For example, the Irish Housing Ministry, has been following the progress of trials in Dublin with support from the Irish Green Building Council. The city now requires data on four of the BUILD UPON2 framework indicators for retrofit (including CO2 emissions and energy efficiency) in order for projects to qualify for financial support.

The final version of the BUILD UPON2 Framework was presented at a Virtual Summit dedicated to the topic of building renovation on 20 September, the first day of World Green Building Week. The Summit attracted an array of prominent speakers, including Irish MEP Sean Kelly and Stefan Moser, Head of the European Commission’s Energy Efficiency Unit.

Cities and Local Authorities Participating in BUILD UPON2


Leeds, Cambridge, Essex, Hammersmith & Fulham (London borough)


Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Laois, Offaly


Velika Gorica, Zagreb, Sveti Ivan Zelina, Karlovac


Budaörs, Budavár, Kispest 


Padova, Brescia, Pesaro, Rome


Rybnik, Ruda Slaska, Gliwice


Valladolid, Zaragoza, Madrid, Sestao


Eskişehir, Sakarya, Gaziantep, Bursa, İzmir

Stephen Richardson, Director of the Europe Regional Network, World Green Building Council, said: “Getting all our buildings to net zero is crucial for the EU to reach its goal of climate neutrality by 2050. And there are lots of wider benefits to renovation, such as tackling energy poverty, stimulating local economies and creating jobs, which also make it a key part of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The BUILD UPON2 project shows that by starting at the local level, cities can be accelerators of the Renovation Wave. The Framework that the GBCs, project partners and cities have developed is a tool that can help cities and local authorities track and optimise their renovation programmes and achieve climate targets. The data that cities are collecting with the BUILD UPON2 Framework can also strengthen the business case to unlock more finance for renovation.”

Next Steps

Alongside this central Framework, national methodologies for measuring the impact of building renovation have also been developed for Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

In addition, with many cities developing 10-year Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans, several pilot cities already involved in BUILD UPON2 are actively looking to integrate the project framework into their Plans as a way to measure their progress on renovation targets.

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