Innovating to zero the building sector in Europe: Minimising the energy consumption, eradication of the energy poverty and mitigating the local climate change
The present paper discusses issues related to the three major problems of the built environment in Europe and in particular, the energy consumption of buildings, the energy poverty and the local climate change. The article introduces the idea of a zero concept world where the global impact of the three specific sectors will be diminished. The paper analyses the actual status of each sector and identifies the main problems. It discusses and sets a road map to satisfy this objective, involving future quantitative and qualitative targets for the three considered sectors while it investigates the major technological, economic and social forces and policies that have to be employed in order to minimize the energy consumption of buildings, eradicate the energy poverty and mitigate the local climate change. The links, synergies and impacts between them are analysed in a comprehensive way and the interrelated nature and characteristics of the three sectors is highlighted. The mechanisms to transform the actual problems into opportunities and appropriate drivers for future development are identified and analysed. A road map involving a full estimation of the necessary investments to fulfil the defined targets is presented. The major medium and long term benefits for the society, including the impact on the economy, employment, the environment and health are fully quantified and analysed.