Renovate Europe Day (REDay 2015), now in its fifth edition, is taking place on 15 October. Learn more about REDay 2015 here.
To mark the occasion, ManagEnergy brings you the best of Europe’s building renovation programs led by public authorities – from Lithuania, France, Estonia, Spain, Germany, and Ireland.
The Lithuanian government launched its first Multi-Apartment Buildings Modernisation programme in 2004. This offered state grants of up to 50% of renovation costs with the balance provided by commercial banking loan. The programme proved popular – approximately 500 apartments were renovated – but its potential was restricted by limited state resources.
Recognising that a different approach was required, in 2009 the Lithuanian government signed a funding agreement with the EIB, establishing the Lithuanian JESSICA HF (Holding Fund) for apartment building renovation. This fund was capitalised with an initial investment of €227 million – €127million from the European Regional Development Fund and €100 million in matched national funding.
The Lithuanian Ministry of the Environment’s Housing and Energy Development Agency (HESA) is the main managing authority for the apartment renovation programme.
This public-private partnership approach between the EIB, Lithuanian ministries, the HESA and the JESSICA financial intermediaries is yielding impressive results. “The apartment block renovation project pipeline appears to be building up with potential for more than 3,000 building projects,” says an EIB spokesperson. “Of these almost 1500 have already had their investment plans (a total of €350) approved by the HSEA and approximately 1,000 have taken a collective decision on the part of the apartment owners.
“Financial intermediaries have now approved more than 800 buildings for financing (total loans of €160 million) and signed financing agreements with around 200 in addition to these. It’s expected that almost all of the €227 million funds in the JESSICA Holdings Fund will be fully committed through four financial intermediaries during the upcoming months.”
Read more about JESSICA in Lithuania
Energies POSIT’IF is a Société d’Economie Mixte (SEM)—a public-private company used by French local authorities to manage urban development projects particularly energy-related projects. It was set up in 2013 with the support of the Ile-de-France region, Caisse de Depots et Consignations, Caisse d’Eparagne. Energies POSIT’IF aims to increase the number of energy retrofits in the Ile-de-France region by providing comprehensive technical services (energy advice, retrofits and energy performance guarantees) and third party financing to thermally upgrade multi-unit buildings. Projects will be financed through equity, low interest debt from financial institutes and the sale of energy savings certificates—achieving a Bâtiment de basse consommation (low energy building) performance target.
Intelligent Energy Europe funding from Mobilising Local Energy Investments (MLEI PDA) was used for the initial project development phase. It funded capacity building amongst stakeholders—managers, financial institutions, construction partners, architect, etc.—to up skill and improve knowledge of energy efficiency, thermal retrofits and energy performance contracting. MLEI also supported technical and socio-economic assessments of multi-unit buildings to ensure their suitability for the energy performance contracting model.
Chef de projet José Lopez will be speaking at REDay 2015 .
In 2009 the Estonian public financing institution, Fund KredEx, became the first European financial institution to launch a revolving loan fund for improving energy efficiency in apartment buildings. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the €49 million KredEx fund supported renovations in 18,281 apartments covering 1,189,398 m².
The idea of a revolving fund scheme to tackle energy inefficiency came from KredEx’s German equivalent, the federal bank, KfW. KredEx was keen to support the renovation of energy inefficient multi-apartment buildings in Estonia because 75% of the population live in such buildings. The most positive outcome of the KredEx model is the stimulation of the finance product market, says Mirja Adler, head of the KredEx housing and energy efficiency division.
In 2010, KredEx started offering grants from a fund worth €24 million. Funding came from a where Estonia sold carbon credits to Luxembourg under Kyoto Protocol obligations. Housing associations are eligible for these grants for 15%, 25% or 35% of renovation costs. Figures show that the average 25% grant was €36,043 and that nearly 600 households received a grant with expected energy savings of 41.3%.
According to, Mirja Adler, the combination of a loan and a grant is the best way to improve energy efficiency.
“Usually in multi-apartment buildings, owners’ incomes vary and quite large investment is needed to renovate a building completely. Depending on the price of energy a small grant is a good motivator to start the process and long term favourable loans are needed to make the investment affordable.”
Supported through project development assistance from the Intelligent Energy Europe program, the ELENA-REDIBA project in Spain is on track to achieve EUR 100 million investment, mostly in energy efficiency in buildings.
Mercè Rius i Serra, Deputy President for Environment, Province of Barcelona shares some of the secrets of REDIBA’s success:
‘In our case we are sure that the availability of Technical Assistance for each municipality has been the essential key to get the investment done in the main part of the reported investment projects. Maybe some of them, the bigger ones, would have been done anyway even if our REDIBA project would not have existed, but the main part of them are a reality thanks to the combination of three basic aspects: the will of the Municipality to invest in energy efficiency projects, our Technical Assistance activity coaching the municipality during all the process with a case by case approach (feasibility study, technical study, providing legal clauses to tender it) and a third part, the private sector, ready to play also its role.’
This well-established programme led by KfW, a State bank leveraging ‘wholesale’ finance through other institutions, is facilitating promotional soft loans and grants to all investors in the German residential housing sector. Beneficial loan conditions and/or investment grants are provided at graduated levels in relation to the energy efficiency level reached as a result of building or refurbishment measures. The energy efficiency level must be confirmed by an energy efficiency expert.
It is a good example of a product with wide reach and influence, involving numerous stakeholder groups, transparent and measurable energy efficiency (the "KfW Efficiency House" has become a market standard) as well as proven and measurable beneficial economic, fiscal, labour and environmental effects. It is also a good example for high leverage of limited public funds, and has a proven long term track record.
Similar KfW promotional programmes support energy efficiency in commercial buildings and public buildings; the offer comprises soft loans and grants for investment as well as grants for energy efficiency advisory services. KfW started in 1996 with promotional programmes for energy efficiency in the housing sector, and these were continuously developed further. They have a proven and very positive impact on climate and economy.
The Better Energy Homes / Home Energy Saving Scheme was established by the Irish government as an incentive to encourage people to improve the energy performance of their homes. It is a cash grant scheme to subsidise the cost of making homes more energy efficient, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving comfort levels in homes. The types of work covered by the scheme included attic insulation, external and internal wall insulation, and heating system upgrades.
The scheme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), and grants totalling almost €120 million were taken up by more than 110,000 householders between 2008 and 2011.