Energy Efficiency
Social Effects
Job security

Acting to ensure the Polish economy survives the economic challenges resulting from COVID-19

Tomasz Weber
Tomasz Weber
February 17, 2021

The need to secure economic recovery is more important than ever.

House renovation

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cast a shadow on the world in 2021, the impact on society and the global economy continues to grow in intensity. In Poland, as in many other countries, the need to secure economic recovery in both the short and long term is vital – and action is required to ensure that when the health crisis ends, the economy can be stimulated.

During the summer of 2020, a group of energy efficiency experts, including representatives from ROCKWOOL, came together to address the Polish Prime Minister, along with several high-ranking ministers, and appeal for financial support for energy efficiency renovation initiatives throughout Poland. The letter highlighted the vast potential that insulating the existing building stock could have – not only benefiting those using the spaces in question, but also boosting the economy and being kinder to the environment. The senders represented a variety of industry sectors as well as social organisations with focus on economic slowdown and future forecasting.

(O106) Inline Page Link: The Benefits Of Energy-Efficient Buildings(2)

Urging the government to invest in energy efficiency renovations, the letter focused on the many associated benefits; how it is key to better health and well-being for Polish citizens, how it can create and maintain local jobs, and reduce energy bills – all while helping to  improve air quality and Poland's compliance with EU guidelines concerning energy efficiency, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and use of renewable energy.

This blog shares some of the compelling arguments included in the letter to the key members of the Polish government.

Creating jobs

By systematically renovating existing building stock to become more energy efficient, a reservoir of jobs can be created that give the economy a significant boost. According to the Institute for Structural Research, accelerating the pace of such renovations in Poland could contribute to the creation of 100,000 direct jobs and decrease the unemployment rate by approximately 0.4 percent per year over the next few years. As over 93 percent of the housing stock in Poland is single-family homes, approximately 80 percent of these jobs would be associated with upgrading these villa-style buildings, primarily installing insulation which has a three to four times greater effect on labour demand than the modernisation of existing installations. A report developed for the European Climate Foundation states that a further 200,000 indirect and secondary jobs – connected to energy efficiency renovation through the supply chain – could also be created per year as a result of the deep energy modernisation of buildings in Poland. These estimations were made before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, making them ever more relevant during a time when the job crisis battles for headlines alongside the health crisis.

Improving health, well-being and social equality

Bettering the energy efficiency of buildings is also a great way to level social differences and improve the quality of life for wider groups of citizens. According to the Institute for Structural Research (IBS) in 2016, 12 percent of all Polish residents are affected by energy poverty. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, billions of people all over the world are forced to isolate at home for weeks or even months, highlighting the importance of well-functioning and comfortable buildings. It is time to consider the role that buildings play in human health, energy consumption, family households, the environment, and the quality of the air we breathe.

Riding the ‘Renovation Wave’

The planned acceleration of energy efficiency renovations, the so-called ‘Renovation Wave’ is supported by the European Commission, and plays an important part in the proposed economic recovery plan for the European Union. The EU is allocating EUR 750 billion as part of the Green Deal, funding aimed to directly improve lives and help the economies of member states to recover from the crisis. So it makes sense that thermal modernisation of buildings should be at the centre of the strategy for overcoming the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic in Poland, and could help mitigate the slowdown in the construction sector.

Supporting the ‘Clean Air’ programme

There is already proof in Poland that energy efficiency renovations make a positive difference to everyday life, and a great example of this is the government's Clean Air programme. Although the initial aim of the programme was to reduce smog emissions, it also helps reduce energy poverty, improve the country's energy security and, above all, ensure comfortable living in healthy and warm buildings for all citizens. The programme itself aims to modernise over three million buildings. By building on these activities, broadening their scope and actively supporting the goals financially, Poland has an opportunity to become a cleaner and greener country, while improving quality of life for its citizens and escaping the grasp of the COVID-19 economic crisis.

Time will tell…

The energy efficiency experts did receive a response to their initial letter, advising that there would be open consultancy from the Polish governments side. But now, in February 2021, the group is waiting and hoping to see a formal national recovery plan, and hope that energy efficiency renovations will play a prominent role in that. Until then, the organisation focusing on supporting the renovation wave in Poland will continue to work tirelessly and share their agenda in the hope of creating better quality of life and a greener tomorrow.

ROCKWOOL Group is a world leader in developing innovative technologies that increase sustainability and improve energy efficiency. Get in touch to find out more about what we do.

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