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Dear reader,

As the weather is heating up, most of us are slowing down and preparing for a much needed break after a busy first half of 2022. However, we cannot give up attention, as the disappointing results of the Energy Council on the 27th of June are showing us. Energy ministers rejected the European Parliament’s higher energy efficiency target of 15% a year instead of 9% in the EED. As confirmed by our new EU Buildings Climate Tracker, this was not the right move:  building decarbonisation since the Paris Agreement entered into force in 2015 has barely moved, and we have calculated that four years of potential progress towards climate neutrality have been lost. It’s not time to slow down, it’s time to speed up.

That said, the EPBD revision remains a crucial opportunity to catch up, if the Member States are willing to make an effort in agreeing futureproof policies which will increase Europe’s energy security, while protecting us from the most severe climate change impacts. What we heard about the ongoing discussions by member states regarding the EPBD is not encouraging. I hope that a group of governments will ensure that we will have an EPBD agreement which is living up to the threats of our times, and not one which equals a race to the bottom. The fact that so many Europeans are now suffering from high energy prices is a direct consequence of the years lost in improving energy efficiency. It is therefore high time to change tack and agree policies which safeguard all Europeans.

This newsletter is full of ideas. Our OpenLab briefing provides concrete recommendations how to scale positive energy neighbourhoods through a citizen-driven approach;  e-SAFE suggests how to implement seismic safety renovations into the EPBD as a way to ensure integrated energy efficiency renovations; ComACT is providing cost-optimal solutions to increase energy efficiency in places where energy poverty is particularly severe.

As this (very dense!) mail shows, there is no lack of solutions. Implementation will be a keyword in the coming months and years. To do so, it’s also necessary to recharge our batteries. With that in mind, we wish you a refreshing summer break.

 
Enjoy the reading,
 
Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: EU BUILDINGS CLIMATE TRACKER 
Urgency to close the buildings decarbonisation gap
BPIE’s newly developed EU Buildings Climate Tracker finds that the EU is facing a growing gap in advancing towards climate neutrality in the sector. This first edition provides evidence for the urgent need for additional action that should be reflected in a transformational outcome of legislative discussions on the EPBD.

BPIE’s newly developed EU Buildings Climate Tracker is a high-level index showcasing the progress of the EU building stock towards full decarbonisation by 2050 on a 0-100 scale, starting from the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, until 2019, currently the last year for which indicator data is available.

The results show that the buildings sector is not on track to achieve climate neutrality in 2050.
In 2019, the index has a calculated value of 0.48 on a scale between 0 (reference situation in 2015) and 100 (climate neutrality in 2050), while it should be at 14 points. The Tracker also indicates that building decarbonisation is far from progressing at the speed needed. The achieved progress between 2015 and 2019 was a 0.12 point annual improvement, while it should have been at 3.6 points.

This means that building decarbonisation is off track and much behind the path to climate neutrality by 2050. While the index should have been at 14 points in 2019, it is barely above 0, thus at almost the same level in 2019 as in 2015. Put differently, four years of potential progress towards climate neutrality by 2050 have been lost.

Besides a tracked progress of building decarbonisation in Europe, this briefing outlines a few recommendations to be considered for the EPBD revision.
 

Read the briefing
FOCUS ON: BPIE BIENNIAL REPORT 

In the past two years, our ambition and commitment to advance change led to achieving major advances in analysing and promoting buildings and energy demand policies, in new research on building sector policies and business models.

Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, and soaring energy prices in Europe, have led to a fundamental rethinking in the area in which we focus our work. These developments, in combination with the ever-starker warnings of the climate science community allow only one conclusion: We need to accelerate positive change and be bold, in both our thinking and our actions.

What underpins our strategic decisions and daily work is the will and desire to ask the hard questions: How can Europe become the climate champion it committed itself to be? And how can the built environment support and encourage a truly sustainable – and affordable – lifestyle for all?

With this biennial report, we are sharing our story and achievements of the years 2020-2021 and intend to provide a window into who we are as an organisation, how we are delivering positive impact and how we are moving towards bigger thinking and bolder action so we can achieve truly climate-neutral buildings.
 

Read the biennial report
HIGHLIGHTS
#BPIEClimateConversations
Housing affordability: Who's responsible? 
BPIE's Climate Conversations series aims to shine light on a diverse range of perspectives on buildings and climate policies, engaging stakeholders from various backgrounds. We seek to identify solutions and blind spots to key challenges related to reducing the climate impact of building and to a jut transition to a climate-neutral society.

In this Climate Conversation, BPIE connected with Barbara Steenbergen, Head of the EU liaison office at IUT, the International Union of Tenants.  The aim of the discussion was to dig into some of the common – and less common – questions on building renovation and social justice from the perspective of those who are not in the driver’s seat when it comes to renovation investments – renters. In this interview, IUT suggests ways how the EED and EPBD can better contribute to housing cost neutrality, how Minimum Energy Performance Standards can be designed in a socially just (and climate ambitious) way, tenure-neutral housing policies and questions of affordability.

 
Read BPIE's Climate Conversation with IUT
Postitve Energy Neighbourhoods
Drivers of Transformational Change
Successful decarbonisation of the building stock calls for an integrated, participatory and neighbourhood-based approach. The aggregation of projects enables industrialised renovation processes, which are achieved at a lower cost and in a shorter timeframe.  A neighbourhood approach empowers local communities to take an active role in their energy use, while accelerating the market uptake of novel technologies and business services at scale.

In order to scale up the rollout of positive energy neighbourhoods, BPIE, under the H2020 project oPENLab, provides four policy recommendations:
  • Endorse Member States to identify appropriate neighbourhoods to implement integrated renovation programmes.
  • Establish a harmonised definition of positive energy neighbourhoods (PENs), which should clarify the boundaries of the built environment, covering aspects related to use of renewables, energy communities, mobility, density and social cohesion.
  • Reinforce existing policies with PEN solutions, including forthcoming national building renovation strategies.
  • Redesign energy efficiency solutions as a dynamic concept.
Read the report
New e-SAFE briefing
How to integrate seismic safety with energy renovations in the EPBD
Amidst the urgency to rapidly upscale deep energy renovations, the European building stock faces another significant challenge. About 50% of European territory is earthquake-prone. In the last 50 years, earthquakes in Europe have caused over 36,000 deaths and around 1.4 million people becoming homeless. In highly seismic countries, such as Greece, Italy, Croatia and Romania, a destructive earthquake would render investments in energy-efficient renovations unsustainable from a social, economic and environmental point of view.

Seismic safety has traditionally been treated separately from energy performance and has not entered into the decarbonisation narrative. The revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive can strategically support the uptake of seismic renovations alongside energy efficiency in the EU.
This means ensuring a robust policy framework that prioritises renovation of worst-performing buildings in terms of both energy performance and seismic safety. This framework should be combined together with reliable and accessible technical and financial solutions.
 
This briefing, presented by the e-SAFE H2020 consortium, suggests practical ways that the EPBD recast can strategically support the uptake of seismic renovations alongside energy efficiency in the EU, in order to ensure concrete implementation of seismic safety measures where it is needed most.  
Read the briefing
New Compendium on GHG Emissions Baselines & Monitoring
Building and Construction Sector

Besides giving an overview of the different sources of GHG emissions from the building and construction sector, this volume on the building and construction sector also provides methodologies for quantifying these emissions to feed into the preparation and reporting of national GHG inventories.

By better understanding the sources of emissions over the whole life cycle of buildings, it thus provides guidance on the most appropriate and effective mitigation strategies and policies for decarbonizing the building and construction sector based on national circumstances.

Read the compendium
Optimal cost-effective technical solution scenarios 
New report from ComAct outlines the measures for increasing the enegry efficiency of then multi-appartment buildings in its pilot countries 

This report briefly presents information about the current state and analyses all feasible measures leading to the increased energy efficiency of ten multi-apartment buildings in the five ComAct pilot countries, that are Hungary, Lithuania, Republic of North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Ukraine. 

The buildings are different by age, size, climate and type. For all of them, the renovation measures are divided in two large groups, that are reduction of energy consumption and introduction of renewables.  

The first part of this document contains a description of the methodology and approach to savings calculation for every proposed measure. The second part contains information for the ten buildings in five pilot countries, as well as overview tables with savings, required for the development of scenarios. 

This document will be used by community staff, energy managers in utility companies, and it should be easily understandable for non-engineering people.  

Read the report
The ComAct guidance giving evidence-based information on energy poverty is now available in six languages
The guidebook published by the H2020 project ComAct provides evidence-based information on the nature of energy poverty in urban multi-family apartment buildings in three post-socialist regions in the Eastern part of Europe: Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, and the Balkan region. In addition to English, the guidebook is now available in all the languages of the focus countries of ComAct: Macedonian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Hungarian and Lithuanian.
The results are primarily based on a household survey conducted in the autumn of 2021 with 1,025 respondents in the five ComAct pilot sites: Burgas in Bulgaria, Budapest in Hungary, Karposh (Skopje) and Kavadarci in North Macedonia, Odessa in Ukraine, and Kaišiadorys and Tauragė in Lithuania. The survey research is complemented by scientific literature and national and local data on the survey sites.
Check all the language versions
X-tendo publishes new guidelines to test innovative EPC features against relevant criteria

The new report published by the H2020 project X-tendo describes how the project applied four cross-cutting criteria to develop its 10 innovative features. The four criteria are: quality and reliability, user friendliness, economic feasibility and consistency with internal standards. This criteria was assessed and evaluated for all 10 features during the phases of development and testing. 

This paper presents the workflow and gives final guidelines based on the X-tendo experience for future work and replicability. The report starts with the conditions set by the developers before starting with the development of actual features. It then presents the results and main conclusions from the testing activities in the project and proposes a final workflow to support the feature’s development through a cross-cutting-criteria approach. 

Read the report
Bausteine einer Lebenszyklusperspektive für mehr Klimaschutz und Ressourcenschonung im Gebäudesektor
Der deutsche Rechtsrahmen und gute Beispiele aus der Praxis 
The second report from our German project “Kreisläufe Konstruieren – Innovationschancen für den Gebäudesektor“ provides a compilation of strategies, laws, initiatives and examples of good practice for a life-cycle perspective on the building sector. It demonstrates that sustainable construction and the decarbonisation of the building sector have developed a noticeable dynamic in Germany in recent years – but that binding rules are still largely lacking. Better interlinking of European and national processes can bring greater clarity to the existing incentive and regulatory system and thus simplify the implementation of climate protection and resource conservation and make it more widely accessible. 
Read the report in German
BPIE IN THE NEWS
EVENTS
19  September 2022 
Activate finance against energy poverty: suitanle financial schemes to mitigate energy poverty - European Sustainable Energy Week 2022

The H2020 project ComAct is organising a session on 19 September 2022, from 10:30 until 12:00, as part of the European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) extended programme to exchange knowledge and findings related to different ways to finance energy transition by increasing energy efficiency. This webinar is the 3rd in the series of the three Knowledge Transfer Thematic Webinars at EU level of the H2020 ComAct project, which aims to raise discussion on the needs and challenges of energy-poor households and on the inclusive policy required to secure an accessible and affordable energy transition.

A special focus is set on the energy poverty issue in multi-apartment buildings, which is often not considered in designing new financial schemes and subsidy programs. While co-financing for middle- and high-income owners can be provided through various financial instruments, for low-income owners and those suffering from energy poverty, national schemes should provide a different type of support so that they can be efficiently involved in the programs. This interactive session targets all stakeholders working on developing new financial schemes to finance energy transition and also those protecting the rights of vulnerable consumers.

Register for the session
31 May - 1 June 2022 | Enefirst final conference
Energy Efficiency First Summit - How to impelemtn the Energy Efficiency First principle and boost Europe's Energy Security? 
Organised by Enefirst and sEEnergies, this conference illustrated how implementing the Energy Efficiency First principle can help make the most out of energy efficiency and other demand-side resources to achieve a sustainable and resilient energy system in the EU.
 
Slides and recording available now!
9 June 2022 | ComAct webinar
The multiple benefits of energy efficiency for vulnerable households
Energy poverty is a widespread problem across Europe, as between 50 and 125 million people are unable to afford proper indoor thermal comfort and it is going to increase if we do not act immediately. This webinar is the 2nd in the series of the three Knowledge Transfer Thematic Webinars at EU level of the H2020 ComAct project and it was a side event of New European Bauhaus Forum.

There is a need to rethink regulations targeting equality and concentrate on equity, which enables a justice system from which everyone can benefit. At the moment, there is inequality between energy-poor households and large real-estate investors, who evaluate benefits differently than private persons lacking financial means. This webinar thus aimed to raise discussion on the needs and challenges of energy-poor households and on the inclusive policy required to secure an accessible and affordable energy transition.

 
Recording available now!
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Dear reader,

The EU is continuously evolving its energy policy to respond to Russia’s aggression. The recently published RePowerEU plan defines three strategic cornerstones for this response, and saving energy is one of them. The strategy is detailed in the so-called EU Save Energy Plan which delivers many targeted initiatives in particular to save energy in buildings. But at the same time, the plan lists measures which need to be introduced in the ongoing political negotiation about two key Directives, the EED and the EPBD. So it is up to the European Parliament and the member states to bring life to the suggested measures in the coming months. Delivering the savings in the buildings sector requires action on the ground. A Renovation Compact between local construction companies, local policymakers and local citizen initiatives could launch well-anchored renovation actions which are implemented according to local circumstances.

As we stress in our latest briefing the saving potential is obvious; effectively reducing energy demand reduction is the first and most efficient way to achieving energy independence from Russian (and other) fossil fuels, enabling integration and use of renewable energy sources, and to securing grid stability. The study, based on 8 sample countries in Europe, shows that improving insulation alone can save 44% on gas and reduce final energy demand by 45%. 

We know that this is achievable, in particular if citizens are inspired to take action. Towards that end, we expect the New European Bauhaus Festival next week will provide some excitement. It will feature a number of projects that are pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and social justice: e-SAFE, which focuses on renovation in seismic zones, ComACT, which aims to create a platform to support vulnerable citizens in CEE countries, and Syn.ikia, which is piloting Plus Energy Neighbourhoods, transforming social housing into a veritable energy hub. These are ambitious projects, so make sure to stop by and chat with the project partners and learn about potential opportunities to get involved, and let yourself be inspired. You will find more about them in this edition of our newsletter.

Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: PUTTING A STOP TO ENERGY WASTE  
Putting a stop to energy waste:
How building insulation can reduce fossil fuel imports and boost EU energy security
The cost of missed opportunities to improve the energy performance of the EU building stock is all too apparent. This study shows how improving insulation of residential buildings can reduce energy demand and drastically cut oil and gas imports for heating. Diversifying gas imports should not be considered the only way to quickly get rid of Russian gas. Reducing demand to allow a steady increase of renewable energy supply as an alternative to fossil fuel imports is the solution the EU should pursue.

It shows the benefits of improving insulation in terms of reducing the energy demand and drastically cutting Russian oil and gas imports in those countries. Improving insulation in the selected countries can achieve up to 44% gas savings and reduce final energy demand by 45%. 
 
With the current high and volatile energy prices, building renovation projects have become an even more attractive and strategic investment.

REPowerEU and the EU Save Plan must therefore treat lowering energy demand as an essential prerequisite to achieve energy independence and a just energy transition. Read our recommendations for REPowerEU and the EU Save Plan here.
 
Download the policy briefing
HIGHLIGHTS
#BPIEClimateConversations
How can we turn the energy transition into an opportunity for adequate and affordable housing?
BPIE's Climate Conversations series aims to shine light on a diverse range of perspectives on buildings and climate policies, engaging stakeholders from various backgrounds. We seek to identify solutions and blind spots to key challenges related to reducing the climate impact of building and to a jut transition to a climate-neutral society.

In this Climate Conversation, BPIE connected with Clotilde Clark-Foulquier, Project Manager at FEANTSA, to discus question of social justice around the building sector, and whether or not a 'just transition' for all is truly possible. FEANTSA explains their concerns about 'renvoictions', their views on whether or not MEPS are appropriate for all buildings, what the EPBD revision must include to ensure a socially just buildings transition, and their vision of housing as a right. 

 
Read BPIE's Climate Conversation with FEANTSA
TRANSFORM YOUR BUILDING WITH E-SAFE!
Apply to receive free renovation advice to achieve an eco-friendly, earthquake-safe building.

 
e-SAFE provides your building with affordable and low-disruptive renovation solutions to make it energy efficient and earthquake-proof. 

e-SAFE can put you on the path to securing an energy-efficient and earthquake-safe building. Apply now to receive free renovation plans tailor-made for your building.
Benefits will include:
  • A survey and 3D models of your building
  • An energy audit, energy analysis, and structural simulations of your building;
  • A detailed e-SAFE based renovation project through a co-design process with residents, covering architectural, energy-efficient and anti-seismic renovation solutions tailor-made for your building;
  • Suggestions of viable financial support schemes to effectively implement energy and anti-seismic renovations;
  • Visibility at the local and European level;
  • Peace of mind! e-SAFE will equip you with knowledge on how to best renovate your building including the required measures, processes, and cost estimations, so you can take the next steps towards renovating your building with full confidence that you are making the right decision for your building.
Applications are open until the 15th July, 2022.
 
Apply to receive FREE renovation plans for your building
The e-SAFE decision support system has launched!
The e-SAFE partner Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, with the support of the University of Catania and the University of Bologna, has completed hte first release of e-DSS, a Decision Support System aimed to assist designers in the preliminary design stage of building renovation based on the e-SAFE technologies (click here for more information). 

Based on the geo-localisation of the pilot, its geometric features and some information added by the user, the e-DSS guides the designer to the choice of the most suitable e-SAFE renovation solution. It also allows an assessment – with a reasonable degree of approximation – of the energy performance of the building before and after the proposed renovation action, the environmental benefits, the expected costs and time for the building renovation and the expected time of Return of the Investment (ROI), based on the savings in the annual operating costs.

By now, the tool is only available for internal use to e-SAFE experts, and it will be used in the design of the pilot projects. Further developments will be included in the second release, expected in March 2023.

On May 16th, the e-DSS will be shown to 10 early adopters, who will test it and provide feedback on its user-friendliness and usefulness, from the perspective of future users.

Stay updated by following the further development of this tool through our website, the e-SAFE newsletter and social media!

NEW TRAINING VIDEOS
Curious about the concepts and business models AmBIENCe Project has developed? Watch the training videos part of the AmBIENCe Academy!
 
The AmBIENCe consortium has published its Academy, a series of videos explaining concepts such as Active Buildings Energy Performance Modelling or the AEPC Model.

Divided in 11 videos, the AmBIENCe Academy is now available for everyone that wishes to learn more about AmBIENCe results. Access to the training videos is free, but registration is mandatory.
 
Register here and enroll in the Ambience Academy
BPIE IN THE NEWS
EVENTS: BPIE AT THE NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS 
9 - 12  June 2022 
A seismic shift for retrofit: Ground breaking innovation driving large-scale retrofitting in earthquake zones 

Is it safe to retrofit old homes and buildings with energy efficiency solutions in areas of seismic activity? This question is at the heart of e-SAFE, a project working at the boundary where climate change adaptation blurs with building safety and risk management.  

The project has been working on three new systems for post-1950 concrete-framed buildings that renovators and retrofitters can use to improve a building’s energy efficiency. They are easily adapted for specific climatic conditions and seismicity levels.  

In the town of Catania, Sicily, Italy, the project has adopted a co-productive approach. A whole community of stakeholders was consulted during the co-design and implementation stages. Now e-SAFE has created customisable, prefabricated panels made from timber and locally sourced insulating bio-materials (such as hemp, cork, wood fibre, cellulose, or sheep wool). In earthquake-prone areas, these panels can be combined with novel structural systems that improve both the seismic and energy performance of buildings in sustainable ways. 

Register for NEB festival & learn more
9 June 2022 | 10:00 - 11:30 
ComAct webinar: The multiple benefits of energy efficiency for vulnerable households
Energy poverty is a widespread problem across Europe, as between 50 and 125 million people are unable to afford proper indoor thermal comfort and it is going to increase if we do not act immediately. This webinar is the 2nd in the series of the three Knowledge Transfer Thematic Webinars at EU level of the H2020 ComAct project and it is a side event of New European Bauhaus Forum. It aims to raise discussion on the needs and challenges of energy-poor households and on the inclusive policy required to secure an accessible and affordable energy transition.

There is a need to rethink regulations targeting equality and concentrate on equity, which enables a justice system from which everyone can benefit. At the moment, there is inequality between energy-poor households and large real-estate investors, who evaluate benefits differently than private persons lacking financial means.

The new order of European legislation regulating energy efficiency of buildings has thus a high risk of neglecting the most vulnerable social class, therefore we are calling on our stakeholders to join our discussion and develop solutions together on how energy poverty could be mitigated.
Agenda and registration link
11 June 2022 
Syn.ikia workshop: Living in a Plus Energy Neighbourhood

Duration: 1h30. Timeslot to be defined.
Description: This interactive workshop will familiarise attendees with Plus Energy Neighbourhoods and give them the floor: they will be invited to answers these questions:
  • What’s your idea of a Plus Energy Neighbourhood?
  • How would you use the energy, if you'd be living in a Plus Energy Neighbourhood?
  • How would you share this energy? 
X-TENDO AND U-CERT FINAL CONFERENCE
6 July 2022 | Brussels and livestreaming
the road to enhanced and future-proof energy performance certificates
 
Funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, X-tendo and U-CERT are closing three years of commitments and achievements in the field of next generation building performance assessment and certification. Part of the Next Gen EPCs cluster with other 9 projects and, together with QualDeEPC, they were the first to start in 2019 on this topic.

The two teams, their guest speakers and colleagues from the Next Gen EPCs cluster, are coming together on 6 July for what will be THE 2022 event on Energy Performance Certificates. The programme will tell the story of these H2020 research and innovation projects, highlighting main results and preparing the floor for the exploitation of the outputs, both at EU and national levels. While X-tendo has by design a modular structure covering 10 features (smart readiness indicator, comfort, outdoor air pollution, real energy consumption, district heating, EPC databases, building logbook, tailored recommendations, financing options, one stop shops), U-CERT project has a specific recipe still allowing flexibility (convergence of calculation methodologies with the EPB standards, user-centred approach with a nudging effect, indoor environmental quality, smart readiness indicator, measured building performance and operational rating).
 
Register here
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Dear reader,

Europe is implementing changes to its energy policy at a scale and speed unseen before. Many of the decisions will and should lead to change how we use energy in the buildings and construction sector. Energy efficiency first should not only be a buzz word in this respect but a guiding principle for policy implementation. In our new paper we describe how the RePowerEU Energy Savings Plan could be designed, we expect the European Commission to publish it in the second half of May. And at the end of May, the Enefirst Summit will discuss the links between energy efficiency and security. Don’t miss the paper on the topic which is already out.

Another exciting project result is the RenOnBill tool, designed to be used by financial institutions and utilities to analyse the benefits and risk of renovation investments, including information how an on-bill pay back scheme could be run for renovation projects. RenOnBill also published a policy briefing to suggest how on bill payments could be supported in the future EPBD.

The X-tendo project just completed a test round for new features in Energy Performance Certificates; the latest report presents the results for 9 countries.

Another issue needing urgent attention is the growth of energy poverty in Europe. The ComAct project just released strategies to fight energy poverty in five countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the AmBIENce conference which will present concepts and business models for performance guarantees of Active Buildings.
Kind regards,


Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: REPowerEU ENERGY SAVINGS PLAN
Time to switch to action: Why saving energy in buildings must be a priotity in the REPowerEU Action Plan 
As follow up document to the earlier REPowerEU Communication, the Commission is expected to issue the REPowerEU Action Plan, which would include a specific energy savings action plan. The EU has a historic choice to make: to put us on a pathway compatible with the 1.5°C climate scenario and secure true energy independence, or simply cushion the crisis today with quick fixes that will condemn us to a future where we have no choice anymore and where climate change is a daily emergency.  
 
Our new briefing argues why energy in buildings must be a priority in the REPowerEU Action Plan by listing measures that can deliver energy savings in the next 18 months while putting the EU on a path compatible with its climate targets. The briefing also suggests delivery approaches to operationalise the implementation of the measures as decisions should be taken quickly, and actions implemented without delay.
The key question is: What exactly must we do, and how do we do it?
 The briefing proposes how to take action now by providing practical steps to be taken with more a short-term and long-term view:

Policies and measures to save energy now while accelerating progress towards EU climate ambition
  • behavioural measures and ‘quick fixes’
  • fast rollout of renovation programmes
  • fast switch to renewable heating options
How to deliver long-lasting energy savings quickly: recommendations for fast implementation
  • showing leadership with an innovative organisational machinery
  • telling the story, promoting the new vision
  • making financing easily available
  • preparing the supply chain to deliver
Read the briefing
HIGHLIGHTS
ENEFIRST: Energy efficiency first for system decarbonisation 
Cutting dependence from Russian gas is an immediate necessity. Meanwhile, permanently moving away from fossil fuels and gas is a key EU objective, strategically adopted in 2019 as part of the EU Green Deal. This major transition is already initiated in gas-abundant countries – like the Netherlands – that decided to stop relying on gas for heating as they recognise the risks linked to fossil fuel supply and its incompatibility with the climate targets.

To achieve the needed decarbonisation of buildings, decision makers must approach the problem from the perspective of not only removing fossil gas from the system, but of thinking about creating a more integrated energy system overall. Starting with end-use efficiency and demand response measures allows for the needed demand reduction and flexibility possibilities that facilitate greater electrification and reveal where the use of alternative gases may be needed.

This policy briefing, authored by Enefirst’s partner RAP, gives guidance on how the Energy Efficiency First principle can facilitate the development of an energy system that is aligned with net-zero climate goals.
Read the briefing
The RenOnBill tool is out! Download it now to better evaluate energy efficiency interventions
 
The evaluation of energy efficiency interventions is affected by numerous parameters and variables and most of them are uncertain. On the other hand, most of the analyses do not include the estimation of the risk connected with the energy efficiency investments. This approach has led to perceiving energy investments by financial institutions as high-risk and thus limited their commitment.

The newly released RenOnBill tool tackles these issues by providing a simple and effective instrument directed mainly to both financial institutions and energy utilities. By providing the users with a detailed amount of information for the development of sophisticated investment strategies and design of on-bill programs, the tool has the potential to facilitate large investments in energy efficiency interventions and thus upscaling the renovation rate that can thus help the EU reach its decarbonization goals.
 
Download the tool
New national roadmaps from RenOnBill guides Member States to replicate on-bill schemes
On-bill schemes represent a key innovative way of leveraging private finance for energy renovation of residential buildings and the H2020 project RenOnBill aims to make their uptake in the EU easier and faster. In this aim, RenOnBill developed a roadmap to disseminate knowledge about the replication potential of on-bill schemes for the European market. The roadmap insights have been derived by the implementation of the project in four focus countries: Spain, Italy, Lithuania, and Germany, where project partners established national stakeholder platforms to inform the replication process of on-bill schemes at national level.

This roadmap, available in English, German, and Spanish (Lithuanian and Italian forthcoming), aims to support policy makers, energy regulators and other representatives from the energy and financial sector to understand the replication potential of on-bill schemes and to influence decision-making with a view to innovative financing instruments for energy renovations in the residential building sector.  It will be a useful resource for energy utilities, financial institutions, policy makers, energy regulators, academia, and anyone interested in boosting the renovation rate of residential buildings in Europe with the help of innovative instruments to leverage private finance.  
 
Read the roadmap
EPBD in support of the uptake of on-bill schemes in the EU
 
 
In December 2021 the European Commission published its proposal for revising the most important piece of EU legislation dealing with building performance – the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). The EPBD recast proposal echoes recent EU efforts to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The proposal emphasises different but crucial components to reach these targets, such as the need for higher building renovation rates, resilient and accessible buildings stock, improved air quality, and innovative financing for building renovation. All of these suggest positive expectations when it comes to the uptake of on-bill schemes in the EU. However, there remains plenty of room to improve and strengthen the support the EPBD can provide to on-bill schemes.

This new paper by the H2020 RenOnBill project analyses and explains how the proposed EPBD recast can support the uptake of on-bill schemes in the EU. In addition, it explains potential adjustments to the proposed EPBD recast that may support on-bill schemes even further and speed up their conversion to a powerful tool for fighting climate change and reaching the EU climate goals. Given the proximity of EU 2030 climate targets, as well as the growing importance of reducing the EU’s energy dependence, the EPBD recast is a chance that should not be missed.
Read the policy briefing
How to ensure successful uptake of on-bill schemes in the EU residential market? RenOnBill's new policy roadmap explains how
 
This report establishes a policy roadmap to maximise the uptake of on-bill schemes in the EU residential market. Building on the results of the RenOnBill research and innovation project, the report explains policy solutions applicable at EU and national level, with special focus on the first three years after the end of the RenOnBill project (2022–2025). 

On-bill schemes use the utility bill as a repayment vehicle and bring different actors into a building renovation project. Certain features of on-bill schemes that are not easily found in other financing instruments can help strike a balance between the interests of different renovation participants and resolve barriers to energy renovation. In addition, due to their large-scale implementation potential, on-bill schemes can be a powerful tool to reach EU decarbonisation goals.

The report starts lists 11 potential barriers for on-bill uptake in the EU, grouping them by source – homeowner, utility/financial institution or market related. After introducing the regulatory framework, the report explains solutions for overcoming these barriers and eventually proposes a set of EU and national policy recommendations to make these solutions possible.
 
Read the report
New ComAct factsheets for citizens and homeowners' association on energy efficiency and energy poverty reduction
 
Renovation projects cannot take place without the active involvement of citizens and homeowners’ associations. This is why ComAct pays particular attention to involving local stakeholders and communities in the five pilots located in BulgariaHungaryNorth MacedoniaUkraine and Lithuania.

Partners have developed five factsheets on energy efficiency and energy poverty reduction that will be made available to all local stakeholders and communities. Available in English, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Macedonian, these factsheets share essential information related to energy efficiency and make it available to a larger audience, one of ComAct’s key recipes for success!
Download the factsheets
How to implement new energy performance certificates features: RESULTS from testing in nine countries!
The X-tendo H2020 project aims to enhance development of energy performance certificate (EPCs) schemes in EU Member States. After a theoretical analysis and the development of materials and methods, the project is now testing the features in concrete implementation projects.

This is mainly based on the analysis of the evaluation questionnaires filled out by the X-tendo implementing partners, but also on the content of the testing results reports.

The reports provide a summary of the outcomes of the testing activities on the features in different countries, conclusions for further development of the developed ideas and materials towards the end of the project and beyond, explain the practicability and challenges in the implementation of the features in practice, and give guidance for organising similar test projects in the future.
 
Download the X-Tendo reports
EVENTS
12 May 2022 | Brussels and online
AmBIENCe Final conference
In the last three years, the AmBIENCe project worked on extending the concept of Energy Performance Contracting to Active Buildings and making it available and attractive to a wider range of buildings. In its final conference, AmBIENCe will present the new concepts and business models for performance guarantees of Active Buildings and discuss implementation and future trends in the EU.

The first session will focus on how the energy performance contracting and the active elements introduced by AmBIENCe fit into the current EU framework. We will also discuss the current status of the regulations in the four focus countries of the project (Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal) and give recommendations on the future deployment of the Active building energy performance contracts in the EU.

The second session will instead focus on the practical implementation of the Active building energy performance contracts, with lessons learned from the AmBIENCe pilots in Belgium and Portugal and best practices from the EU. We will also discuss further future trends and exploitation in a panel discussion putting together different experts in the field.


The event will be held in English, in Brussels and online.
 
Register here
More information and agenda
31 May - 1 June 2022 | Brussels and online
Energy Efficiency First Summit: How to implement the Energy Efficiency First principle and boost Europe's Energy Security
Implementing the Energy Efficiency First principle has never been more time critical, yet it is still not applied on a systematic basis in policy making, planning and investment. The European Commission published in September 2021 its Recommendation and guidelines to support a broader implementation of Energy Efficiency First (EE1st).

This conference will illustrate and discuss in practical terms how EE1st can help get the most out of energy efficiency and other demand-side resources to achieve a sustainable and resilient energy system in the EU.

The two day event will combine the latest findings of the sEEnergies and ENEFIRST projects, together with roundtables with experts and stakeholders.
Register here
More information and agenda
PAST EVENTS
RenOnBill final conference: towards the implementation on on-bill and other innovative financing schemes for upscaling energy renovation in the EU
Recordings avalaible now
The RenOnBill final conference closes three years of achievement and results in the field of innovative financing schemes for energy renovation of residential buildings. The programme tells the story of this H2020 research and innovation project, highlighting main results and preparing the floor for the exploitation of the outputs, with external guests sharing their views and experience. The first session gives an introduction on the project and on-bill schemes, highlight the impact on-bill schemes and other innovative financing schemes could have on the targets of the current EU policy framework (Renovation Wave, EPBD revision, etc.). The second session deeps dive into the exploitable results of RenOnBill, with presentations on the experiences of the three pilot utilities of the project, and on the way forward from the policy perspectives. The RenOnBill final conference is an event connected to the H2020 project AUNA. 
 
Watch the recordings
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Dear reader,
Stopping energy waste has never been more urgent. The concern about the reliability of our energy supply, about the functioning of heating and electricity systems in our homes has reached a level unknown to all of us born after the second world war. The energy efficiency of our buildings and economies is now a geopolitical and security question. In fact, it has always been one, as we analysed in our 2016 report on Safeguarding Energy Security .

But it seems that politicians are still not seeing the urgency. The recently published EU documents, such as the “REPowerEU” plan and the “Communication on security of supply and affordable energy prices” focus on diversifying supply, but largely ignore the immediate opportunities to stop energy waste. Yes, securing supply and keeping energy affordable is important and urgent, but is not addressing the root causes of our current dilemma. The renovation wave is nowhere to be seen. Shifting supply is not a long-term sustainable solution, even to countries which are today considered reliable. The pre-Biden US administration taught us that decade-old relationships can sour quickly.

The must-have priority is clear: the announced Action Plan to implement the REPowerEU strategy must center around stopping our energy waste, in buildings and in all other sectors. How to make this happen in a socially fair way is the topic of a new paper which we just released. How to accelerate renovation, save energy and support renewable heat are topics throughout the many publications we have for you this month.

And as spring is around the corner, I am very happy to draw your attention to the in-person physical meetings we are organizing again, such as the RenOnBill Final conference which will discuss the future of on-bill and other innovative financing schemes for renovation, and the final conference of the AmBIENCe project which developed a new business model to extend energy performance contracting to active buildings. 

I hope to see you soon in person.

Kind regards,
Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: A SOCIALLY JUST ENERGY TRANSITION
Designing building decarbonisation policies for a socially just energy transition 

What are the ‘social (justice) implications’ of building decarbonisation policies? This briefing focuses on people-centred issues, looking at the implications of EU energy policies on low-to-middle-income, vulnerable and energy-poor households.  Specifically, it sheds light on accessibility of:

I. Decarbonisation measures: Are these measures available to all segments of the population and what is their impact on them?

II. Funds: Does public spending target those segments of the population enough (in terms of quantity and quality) and are renovation and decarbonisation projects made affordable?

III. Information: Are tools supporting the transition towards climate-neutral buildings available to those segments of the population, and are they tailored to their needs?

The paper links its recommendations directly to the currently discussed policy files:

  • A vision for a socially just transition, by comprehensively defining energy poverty (EED) and drafting building renovation plans for strategic action on the building stock with the alleviation of energy poverty as one of the key objectives (EPBD);
  • Measures with the explicit aim to completely lift households out of energy poverty, such as phasing out the worst-performing buildings through minimum energy performance standards (EPBD) and targeting support measures at households in energy poverty through energy efficiency obligation schemes;
  • Financial support targeted at deep renovation of worst-performing buildings (EPBD, SCF) and to mitigate the impact of carbon pricing on heating fuels (ETS2);
  • Informing and advising homeowners, through EPCs, tailored renovation passports and one-stop-shops, to make the transition understandable and attractive (EPBD).
Read the briefing and download the infographic
HIGHLIGHTS
Transform your building with e-SAFE
Access free renovation advice and support to secure an earthquake-safe, comfortable, climate-friendly and affordable energy future.
About e-SAFE:
The European Commission funded, H2020 project e-SAFE is developing a market-ready, multi-purpose deep renovation system for buildings, encompassing technological, functional, aesthetic, financial and economic aspects for non-historic buildings in earthquake-prone regions in Europe. e-SAFE's mission is to make healthy, safe, and affordable building renovations accessible to all Europeans, and to simplify the renovation process along the way.

e-SAFE can put you on the path to securing a healthy, energy-efficient and earthquake-safe building. Apply now to receive free renovation plans tailor-made for your building.
Benefit from working with e-SAFE and receive:
  • A survey and 3D models of your building
  • An energy audit, energy analysis, and structural simulations of your building;
  • A detailed e-SAFE based renovation project through a co-design process with residents, covering architectural, energy-efficient and anti-seismic renovation solutions tailor-made for your building;
  • Suggestions of viable financial support schemes to effectively implement energy and anti-seismic renovations;
  • Visibility at the local and European level;
Peace of mind! e-SAFE will equip you with knowledge on how to best renovate your building including the required measures, processes, and costs, so you can take the next steps towards renovating your building with full confidence that your efforts will be well spent …and much more.
 
Learn more and apply to receive free building renovation advice here
WE'RE HIRING!
We are looking for one Project Manager and one Senior Project Manager for our BPIE Berlin office, fluency in German required.
Apply now
New report sets out a framework for benchmarking and limiting buildings’ embodied carbon – an essential tool to meet Europe’s climate goals
A new study, TOWARDS EMBODIED CARBON BENCHMARKS FOR BUILDINGS IN EUROPE, by engineering, architecture and consultancy Ramboll, in collaboration with leading European researchers from AAU Built and KU Leuven, puts forward a standard framework for assessing and monitoring embodied emissions at the building level, and a recommended benchmarking process related to European member states’ carbon budgets.

The series of reports provides critical guidance for policymakers, investors and developers, advocating for greater cooperation across the value chain. It is desperately needed to gather life cycle assessment data and set targets that are aligned with the 2015 Paris Agreement to support the built environment’s transition to a lower-carbon future.
Read the study
The RenOnBill guide to implement on-bill business models in the EU
In order to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of each subtype of on-bill scheme, the RenOnBill consortium analysed four business models for on-bill services, based on criteria and factors that were validated thanks to stakeholders’ consultations in Italy, Germany, Lithuania and Spain. The analysis follows the Value Flow Model developed by the Eindhoven University of Technology that supports the better understanding of the complex combination of agents, their motivations and the interactions involved in the offer of on-bill services.

Additionally, RenOnBill also publishes a series of interactive factsheets that shine a light on the standard on-bill financing (OBF) scheme, the On-Bill Repayment (OBR) model, the On-Bill Repayment via a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and the On-Bill Repayment operated through a “Master Servicer”.

 
Read the report
Read the factsheets
BPIE IN THE NEWS
EVENTS
5 April 2022 | Brussels and online
Last chance to register! RenOnBill final conference: Towards the future of on-bill and other innovative financing schemes for energy renovation of residential buildings
The RenOnBill final conference closes three years of achievement and results in the field of innovative financing schemes for energy renovation of residential buildings. The programme will tell the story of this H2020 research and innovation project, highlighting main results and preparing the ground for the exploitation of the outputs, with external guests sharing their views and experience. 

The first section will introduce the project and on-bill schemes, highlight the impact on-bill schemes and other innovative financing schemes could have on the targets of the current EU policy framework (Renovation Wave, Fitfor55, etc.), and present best-practice from abroad.

The second section will deep dive into the exploitable results of RenOnBill, with presentations on the experiences of the three pilot utilities of the project, and on the way forward from the policy and commercial perspectives.

The event will be in English and will be held in Brussels and online. Find the final agenda here.

 
Register here
8 April 2022 | 14:00-15:00
Is energy and seismic renovation always relevant for residents?
Within the current EU decarbonisation and climate change adaptation goals, there is growing attention towards the role of energy and seismic retrofitting of worst-performing buildings. While such attention is currently being translated into a variety of practical ways of engaging public actors and the business community at multiple scales, questions can be asked whether such ways are always beneficial to urban residents. On April 8, 2022 (14:00-15:00), e-SAFE's Laura Saija will speak about the relevance of energy and seismic renovation for residents.
 
More information and registration
13 April 2022 | 14:00 - 15:00
Local energy planning dor commercial areas: What role for the Energy Efficiency First Principle?
 
The Energy Efficiency First (EE1st) principle aims to find a balance between saving energy and supplying energy. In this webinar we will investigate the possible scope for the EE1st principle in local energy planning for commercial areas that are characterized by offices, warehouses and other typical buildings. By modelling a set of three scenarios for commercial areas in Spain, Germany and Hungary, we show that saving energy through energy-efficient appliances and other measures can significantly reduce the system cost for generating and distributing energy in these areas. These insights are not only valuable for decision-makers involved in local energy planning in Europe, but also for researchers dealing with models of local energy systems.
 
Register here
27 April 2022 | 14:00 - 15:00
Energy Efficiency First: Single stage vs. stepwise renovation and the question of rapid energy saving actions
In this webinar we will discuss selected topics how to apply the energy efficiency first principle in the building sector. In particular, we will analyse opportunities and challenges of single-stage vs. step-wise renovation activities and how these achieve energy savings and GHG-emission reductions quickly. Triggered by the current Ukraine-Russia crisis and the implications for gas and energy security, we will also discuss measures to strongly increase the pace of energy saving activities and heating system replacement, while also focusing on the danger of lock-in effects and sunk costs.
 
Register here
12 May 2022 | Brussels and online
AmBIENCe Final conference
In the last three years, the AmBIENCe project worked on extending the concept of Energy Performance Contracting to Active Buildings and making it available and attractive to a wider range of buildings. In its final conference, AmBIENCe will present the new concepts and business models for performance guarantees of Active Buildings and discuss implementation and future trends in the EU.

The first session will focus on how the energy performance contracting and the active elements introduced by AmBIENCe fit into the current EU framework. We will also discuss the current status of the regulations in the four focus countries of the project (Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal) and give recommendations on the future deployment of the Active building energy performance contracts in the EU.

The second session will instead focus on the practical implementation of the Active building energy performance contracts, with lessons learned from the AmBIENCe pilots in Belgium and Portugal and best practices from the EU. We will also discuss further future trends and exploitation in a panel discussion putting together different experts in the field.


The event will be held in English, in Brussels and online.
 
Register here
PAST EVENTS
X-tendo webinar series: Recordings available
New developments and testing for better EPCs 
The X-tendo H2020 project held a webinar series disclosing the developments of its innovative EPC features and the results of testing in 9 countries. The webinar series took place between February and March 2022 for a total of 5 webinars and guided the audience in a discussion on how to improve the quality of an EPC combining various innovative elements. The webinars recordings are now all available and anticipate the release of a report disclosing all the results from the testing of its features in 9 countries.
Watch the recording
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Dear reader,

As Europe, its partners and friends across the world are struggling to contain Putin’s aggression, it is hard to find the right words to introduce our latest newsletter amidst the pictures of human tragedies. While homes, schools and hospitals are being destroyed by the hour, we are reminded of the fragility of our society where peaceful conflict resolution, democracy, freedom of speech and tolerance are part of our core values. Putin’s war is not about energy, but threats to energy security and nuclear power stations are used as targeted sharp weapons in the background of the conflict. The response of the European Union with the RePowerEU communication published on 8 March shows that the EU is able to make quick and far-reaching decisions in the face of an emergency.

Diversification of supply and increasing fossil fuel stocks are the measures of the moment. But I am wondering why the immediate opportunities to reduce our energy waste are not more at the center of Europe’s response? Reading the communication on Tuesday, energy efficiency and saving seems almost like an afterthought in the frenzy to secure supply. We therefore decided to make a number of suggestions in a short strategy paper  how we could reduce energy demand in buildings quickly. To some they may seem ambitious, to others irrelevant, but we are convinced that every action counts, and that we must act now while also strengthening our policy response with the Fit-for-55 agreement.

It is an almost cynical coincidence that we recently concluded an intensive exchange series with Russian experts and with US experts on improving building efficiency and reducing the climate impact of the sector. Not that we needed any evidence, but the series of webinars showed us that collaboration and dialogue is the only way to meet the challenges which are thrown at us. You can find the recordings of the series on BPIE’s website.

Dialogue is also the chosen strategy of our new Climate Conversations which we recently launched in a first conversation with Domenico Campogrande from FIEC, the European Construction Industry Federation. And we are continuing the exchange with you in many webinars in the coming months and with face-to-face events in Brussels, as we all hope that the times of lock-down are behind us. More on the events below.

Finally, we are reminded that we can come together in the time of crisis, the past two years have taught us how to do it. I am convinced that we must show the same resolution in taking climate change more seriously, by seeking cooperation over conflict of opinions, and by investing in our societies in the most sustainable ways. Our thoughts are with our colleagues and friends in Ukraine with whom we collaborated so joyfully in the past years.

Warm regards,
Oliver Rapf
Executive Director
FOCUS ON: SOLIDARITY AND RESILIENCE
Solidarity and resilience: An action plan to save energy now! 

The Ukrainian tragedy requires reactions on many fronts and humanitarian rescue efforts must be a priority. But beyond immediate efforts, Europe needs to take strategic actions to reduce our dependency on energy imports from Russia and other non-EU countries. The action must avoid quick fixes which might pose similar future risks. Finding alternative energy supply might be necessary and acceptable with a short time perspective but cannot be proposed as a lasting solution.

A longer-term and strategic perspective would speed up the transformation to domestic renewable energy supply, and drastically reduce the EU’s dependency on imported fossil fuels.

To decrease energy import dependency, European governments, businesses and citizens have the opportunity to reduce energy demand very quickly. With this paper, BPIE is presenting suggestions to reduce energy consumption in buildings with measures which have a short-term effect.

 
Behaviour changes such as lowering the room temperature by a degree or two, switching off appliances which are not urgently needed and leaving the car in the garage are ad hoc contributions available to almost everyone and are an immediate signal of solidarity with the victims of Putin’s aggression. In the long term, individual actions must be replaced by a clever far-sighted EU plan to structurally reduce energy demand.

Our list of suggestions are divided into different categories (projects/campaigns, financing, regulation) and three time horizons – actions that can be rolled out in the next 6 months, in 3 years, and in 5 years. All these types of measures are needed if the EU is to decrease its energy import dependency in the long run and boost its resilience.
Download the strategy paper
HIGHLIGHTS
Advancing the transatlantic economic recovery with building renovation and clean energy solutions
As signatories of the Paris Agreement, the United States and the have both committed to society-wide decarbonization by 2050. They also pledged to base post-pandemic economic recovery on green and sustainable solutions. The European Union launched Next Generation EU to build a more sustainable, resilient and fairer Europe; the US Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad matches this focus and ambition.
 
As part of the Strategic Partnerships for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPIPA)BPIE (Buildings Performance Institute Europe) hosted, in collaboration with the Institute for Market Transformation, the US Department of Energy, the US Department of Housing and Urban Planning, and the European Commission, a series of expert dialogues on energy and buildings aiming to strengthen transatlantic collaboration and exchange on climate mitigation and green recovery policies.