Frequently Asked Questions
Unlock is a European campaign coordinated by Positive Money Europe, a non-profit research, advocacy and campaigning organisation that wants the European money system to support a fair, democratic and sustainable economy. It does this by scrutinising the activities of the European Central Bank, researching and developing policy proposals to reform the money system in the Eurozone, and carrying out public campaigns to engage citizens on issues such as sustainable finance and inequality.
Unlock brings together a coalition of diverse organisations all committed to ensuring that the green transition of homes across Europe happens quickly and fairly. The coalition includes:
Simply put, we are calling on EU institutions, governments and banks to unlock affordable finance for green home renovations, thereby meeting Europe’s climate goal of transitioning to a low-carbon society, reducing energy costs for citizens, and massively reducing Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Find out more about our campaign demands here.
Lack of financing is one of the key barriers to home renovation. Most of us can’t afford to pay for better insulation, solar panels or new heating systems up front.
And even though policymakers agree on the urgency of kickstarting a renovation wave across Europe, there is currently an investment gap of 275 billion euros per year to make this happen – a sum that governments alone can’t cover.
This is where banks come in. The European Central Bank estimates that 214 billion euros for the renovation wave will have to come from the commercial banking sector. With their ability to inject money into the real economy, and with incentives from the European Central Bank, banks could offer their customers affordable loans specifically designed to finance the green renovation of their homes. In this way, banks would be playing their part and we’d stand a much better chance of successfully transitioning to carbon neutrality.
In turn, governments could make a better use of public money, by investing in support for low-income households, in providing free technical assistance to people, and retraining the workforce so that it can meet the demand for green home renovations.
A recent study by the Cambridge Econometrics thinktank found that renovating 35 million homes across Europe to reduce their heating demands by 60% would result in a €3.3bn reduction in gas imports.
Over time, this could reduce energy bills for those households by up to €1100 a year. For the 50 million Europeans living in energy poverty, that’s huge!
Not only will households save money, but by living in more energy efficient and well-ventilated homes, they will also benefit from better indoor air quality, improving their health and quality of life.
Our homes have huge carbon footprints. In the EU, 36% of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, including residential and non-residential. Three quarters of European homes are inefficient, with excessive energy used for cooling and heating. The same fraction is also dependent on fossil fuels for heating.
Our homes could be part of the solution: by investing in homes to make them energy efficient and switching to renewable domestic energy (such as solar panels and heat pumps) Europe can help to avert the environmental breakdown and take a step towards a better, greener, carbon-neutral planet.
The rising prices we are witnessing today are due to Europe’s over reliance on foreign fossil fuels for its energy. In 2021, it imported 45% of its gas from Russia.
If European homes consumed less energy and were powered by domestic renewables our economy would be less vulnerable to the volatility of global markets and to the actions of autocratic petrostates like Russia. Home renovation is one of the key pathways towards a stronger and more sovereign European economy.
Investing in home renovations would also set off a ripple effect across the construction sector and unlock as many as 1.2 million jobs in Europe.
The level of energy efficiency of our homes is also a matter of financial stability. As the results of the European Central Bank’s latest climate stress test* show, banks may face increased insolvencies in mortgage repayments from consumers who are living in inefficient buildings and are being hit by higher energy costs. It’s clearly in the interest of banks to incentivise energy efficiency renovations and protect themselves from these risks.
*A climate stress test consists of an exercise to assess the readiness of the banking and financial sector to address climate-related and environmental risks.
Unlock is a people driven campaign. You can support us by :
- Adding your name in support of the campaign,
- Donating to the cause so that we can grow and reach even more people,
- Participating in our events and public actions,
- Sharing the campaign with friends, family and colleagues.
All these actions, big or small, will help us unlock a better future!
Simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!