BRUSSELS - Fifteen million European buildings should have eco-friendly renovations over the next decade to cut energy use, with builders and architects re-educated to do the job, a draft EU report says.
The European Union should also make mandatory its goal of cutting energy use by a fifth over the next decade, creating about 2 million new jobs, says a draft of the EU's energy efficiency action plan obtained by Reuters.
The proposal for a binding energy efficiency target is expected to spark a fierce political battle.
If it goes through unchallenged, it will pour billions in EU funds into the hand of property developers while cutting business for traditional energy suppliers by about 11 percent.
Practically all studies show a lack of awareness by citizens and companies on the benefits and practicalities of investing in energy efficiency, said the report by the European Union's executive, the European Commission.
Many energy efficiency improvements make our industry more competitive and our citizens richer.
The strategy has two goals -- to help the European Union cut carbon dioxide emissions in the fight against climate change, and to reduce the billions of euros channeled overseas each year for oil and gas imports.
The Commission will launch a European Building Initiative, supported by the European Investment Bank ... that will aim at stimulating the major renovation of 15 million buildings by 2020, said the report.
A mandatory low energy building course for the building workforce, particularly for architects, should therefore be introduced.
The report also weighs the possibility of forcing homeowners to renovate the least eco-efficient buildings before putting them up for sale, but it also notes that this would impinge on the basic freedoms of citizens.
(Editing by James Jukwey)