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Expert Opinions

Why retrofitting older buildings needs to be a priority.

Maike Christiansen

Associate Expert
for Climate Neutrality
and Energy Efficiency


Energy efficiency is the greatest energy resource because it’s cheaper and quicker to invest in than alternative capacities for energy supply. The UNECE region, as a result of its cool climate, uses over 50 per cent of its energy in residences for space heating.

A priority for energy-efficiency investments must therefore be to renovate the existing housing stock, especially the panel-built multi-unit apartment blocks. Why? Most buildings that will exist in 2050 have already been built. 

If we want to avoid being locked in a bigger carbon footprint for years to come, we need to retrofit these buildings in an energy-efficient manner. To do so, we must use the latest technologies to achieve the greatest reductions in emissions and energy consumption. 

Energy-efficient housing brings many environmental, economic, social and health benefits. It also brings increased energy security. 

Also, to overcome the current barriers to the broad application of energy-efficiency measures in the residential sector, we’ll need to increase incentives, information, awareness and expertise, as well as promote greater investment and innovation.



Read more about what UNECE does:

Green Homes: Towards energy efficient housing in the UNECE region (2009, reprint 2012)

Action Plan for Energy-Efficient Housing in the UNECE Region (2010)