European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson pays working visit to Belgian start-up and pioneer in offsite building BuildUp

Europe underlines importance of industrialising energy renovation to accelerate the Renovation Wave
November 17, 2023 by
European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson pays working visit to Belgian start-up and pioneer in offsite building BuildUp

Hélène de Troostembergh - CEO BuildUp and European Commissioner Kadri Simson

Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, today paid a working visit to Belgian start-up BuildUp, expert in sustainable offsite building and energy renovation. Improving the energy performance of buildings through energy renovations is an essential link in the energy transition to a sustainable, competitive and climate neutral Europe by 2050. Arranged through the Renovate Europe Campaign, the European Commissioner visited remarkable companies and projects that showcase European policy on energy renovation "in action”. BuildUp with all their realisations in the framework of the European Energiesprong project shows that industrialising energy renovation is possible.

Projects that have an impact "on the ground," was the premise of the European Commissioner's visit. Kadri Simson was keen to learn more about the innovative approach to energy renovation that BuildUp deploys and was particularly interested in a project in which BuildUp made a number of school buildings climate neutral in a record time of two months. During the short span of the summer vacations, the school buildings were given climate “jackets” and complete new facades and roofs were installed via offsite construction. 

Industrialisation of energy renovation  

To meet the European Green Deal targets by 2050, around 90% of Europe’s 119 million residential buildings must undergo energy renovation. Quite a challenge that is impossible with the traditional way of building and renovating. Fast and smart building and renovation is therefore the challenge for the coming years. To meet this enormous need, while resources are scarce, industrialisation is the solution. This implies that complete houses, as well as individual components such as facades and roofs, are built on a large scale in the factory (offsite) and then assembled on site, significantly speeding up the construction or renovation process.

In the "Renovation Wave" action plan launched in 2020, the EU stated that the renovation rate should double over the next decade with the goal of renovating 35 million building units by 2030. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote digitalisation, and encourage the reuse of materials. The ultimate goals are to put the EU on the right track to climate neutrality whilst improving the quality of life for all the people in the EU.

Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy: "To achieve our ambitious goals, industrialisation of the way we renovate buildings is essential. BuildUp demonstrates in practice that we can increase the pace of renovation thanks to industrialisation. The company is a great example of what we want to achieve with the "Renovation Wave" strategy. The greatest energy gains in the building sector can be achieved by a massive and accelerated commitment to energy renovation that reduces energy consumption while improving the quality of life of citizens."

Hélène de Troostembergh, CEO BuildUp: "We are very honored by European Commissioner Simson's visit. It is a very positive signal for our sector. The construction sector is currently suffering from a heavy interest burden and project developers and construction promoters are looking for alternative ways to sustainably build and renovate faster. Industrialisation and offsite construction are the answer to all construction challenges, from housing shortages and climate issues to energy poverty, quality and workforce availability. This is the only way to build and renovate faster, easier, better and more circular. This is essential to meet the European climate goals by 2050. With her visit, Kadri Simson therefore emphasises the importance of accelerating and industrialising energy renovation thanks to offsite construction.” 

Watch the video of BuildUp's energy renovation projects below:

Adrian Joyce, Director of the Renovate Europe Campaign: “It was a real pleasure to co-organise the visit to the BuildUp factory for Commissioner Simson and her Cabinet.  I congratulate her on the initiative as seeing action on the ground is the most powerful way to learn about our efficient buildings sector.  During the visit we met Hélène de Troostembergh, a real champion for energy renovation and were inspired to see her commitment, her entrepreneurial spirit, and the leadership role she is playing in the industrialisation of energy renovation.  The Campaign will continue to seek out and report on similar initiatives right across the EU.”