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11 June 2024

Pedro Fernández Alén (FLC): Seven out of every ten euros of NextGenerationEU funds will go towards construction.

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Pedro Fernández Alén, president of the Construction Labour Foundation (formed by the employers' association CNC and the trade unions CCOO del Hábitat and UGT FICA) and president of the National Construction Confederation (CNC), states that seven out of every ten euros of the NextGenerationEU funds will go towards construction and explains the importance of reducing polluting gases in construction activity. The Construction Labour Foundation is a member of the organising committee of CONSTRUTEC 2024.

How is decarbonisation progressing in the construction business?

The reduction of polluting gases is at the heart of the construction activity, and the growing awareness of all players in the sector to achieve a better planet is a reality. Thus, the construction sector must continue to make progress in the decarbonisation of the building stock, a task for which we need not only to act, but also to train the workforce for these specific challenges of the future.

What data can you provide on the current building stock?

Some of our data shows that nearly 55% of the building stock was constructed before 1979. About 21% are over 50 years old. Starting from the next decade, the vast majority of them will not be able to go on the market as they do not meet minimum energy efficiency requirements.

In other words, 83% of housing in Spain is of low energy quality. Urgent action is required here. Existing buildings in Europe, not the construction sector itself, are responsible for approximately 40% of total energy consumption in the EU. Buildings are accountable for 36% of their greenhouse gas emissions from energy.

What actions should be taken to solve this problem and improve the situation?

For all the above reasons, it is necessary to ambitiously channel and execute a rehabilitation and renovation plan that rejuvenates, decontaminates and makes the obsolete building stock energy efficient with the boost of more than 160,000 million euros that Spain must execute until August 2026; 7 out of every 10 euros of the NextGenerationEU funds will go towards construction. Transition is only possible through construction. Therefore, we must train and qualify workers in the sector.