The renovation of the existing building stock represents a huge potential in actions to mitigate climate change, not only by the improvement of the overall energy performance of the built environment but also by the reduction of resource depletion and minimization of waste production related with new construction. Nevertheless, this potential hasn’t been fully explored. Contributing to this, the evaluation of building renovation measures normally considers only the energy savings and the costs, disregarding other relevant benefits and thus, significantly underestimating the full value of improvement and re-use of buildings at several levels of the economy. The reduction of energy use, emissions and global costs are the direct benefits resulting from energy-related renovation measures and the notion of co-benefits refers to all the other positive or negative effects resulting from those renovation measures. These co-benefits can be felt at the building level (like increased user comfort, fewer problems with building physics, improved aesthetics, etc), but also at the societal or macroeconomic level (like health benefits, job creation, energy security, impact on climate change, etc).
The methodology to enable cost-effective building renovation towards the nearly-zero energy and emissions objective developed within the context of Annex 56 intends to highlight these co-benefits resulting from the renovation process and to evaluate how they can be taken into account in decision-making processes. This will assist owners and promoters in the definition and evaluation of the most appropriate renovation measures and help policymakers in the development of energy-related policies and understanding how these policies may impact on other areas of the policy action (As an example, the promotion of energy efficiency measures in existing buildings impacts the job market, with an increase of jobs in a labour intensive area and reducing some jobs in the energy supply companies).