Identifying best practices for local investment options in sustainable energy in buildings in the EU

Several programmes have been set up across the EU to overcome market failures and inefficient enforcement of related legislation and to stimulate energy efficient investments, particularly in the building stock. These programmes are usually initiated by (local) governments and some are supported by the EU via funds and/or expertise. The aim of this study is to find out which programmes are successful and which best practice elements contributed to their success.

The report includes an assessment of 25 energy efficiency programmes across the EU. Even though the success of each scheme depends on more factors than just the financial terms and conditions, the report concludes that at the core of most successful programmes are preferential loans, potentially complemented with a grant and/or Technical Assistance (TA) package, along with measures focusing on behaviour and confidence building among energy users.

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Structure for ELENA – London REFIT scheme. Source: Local investments options in Energy Efficiency in the built environment Identifying best practices in the EU (2012)

In addition, the report identifies the following best practice elements:

  • A simplified, possibly one-stop shop, administrative procedure;
  • A revolving fund;
  • Inclusion of local expertise;
  • Informing citizens;
  • Flexibility in (European) funding conditions;
  • Imposing obligations;
  • Provision of a Technical Assistance (project development) package.

However, the analysis of regional specific market barriers and characteristics showed that successful programmes cannot be extrapolated one-on-one to other countries. Therefore, these best practice elements should be catered according to the regional differences identified.