POWER HOUSE Newsletter - 25.02.2011

Saving Pays – The Next EU Budget must reflect that

The inclusion of Resource Efficiency as one of the Flagship initiatives in the EU 2020 strategy demonstrated the recognition that  energy and resource efficiency will be the major competitiveness indicators of the  future in view of  global population growth and spreading industrialization. The new financial perspectives for the 2014-2020 EU budget should reflect and mainstream this recognition.  Territories have also realized that to achieve this competitive edge, they must not only offer decent local jobs and housing, but must ensure that these jobs and housing are generated, built and managed resource efficiently and sustainably. Efficiency and Competitiveness go hand in hand.

You have to pay to save but saving pays back !! Latest feedback from the CECODHAS Housing Europe energy campaign (Power House Europe) shows that securing enough up-front finance continues to be the major concern for our members when it comes to energy efficiency. Front-running housing organizations are looking to white certificates, energy service contracting and pay as you save schemes and in some cases delivery of energy services to fill the financial gap left by dropping public incentives and restrictions on access to private finance. It is clear however that while these mechanisms can be a complement to subsidies, low interest loans and reduced VAT rates, they can not yet be seen as a replacement.  With this in mind, the message emerging from February’s energy summit which underestimates the need for public support for the transition to a more efficient Europe, although hardly surprising in the current budgetary climate,  was a worrying one. The EU must continue to send the right message, as it did with the decision to allocate a possible 8 billion to energy efficiency in homes through the ERDF.  This decision acknowledges the fact that public investment in efficiency is not money down the drain. Indeed a 2009 UNEP study shows that in Germany for example the overall stimulus package is expected to create 25,000 jobs in manufacturing and construction for retrofitting buildings. Research in Hungary has shown that a programme to renovate annually 5.7 per cent of the total floor area, could generate up to 131,000 jobs. 

The potential of the EU budget to drive Europe's energy and resource efficiency agenda must be fully exploited.  

Vit Vanicek, President, CECODHAS Housing Europe.

Study Visit to Austria

Study Visit to Austria

From March 1st to 4th a POWER HOUSE group will see and hear about the Austrian experience in Passiv Housing and Low-energy refurbishment into Vienna, Linz and Wels. Along with the Brussels Minister for Housing the group of housing federation representatives from all over the EU will visit some of Austria’s leading passive housing projects including Eurogate, the world’s largest passive house settlement in Vienna and Solar City in Linz.

The visit was arranged to coincide with the World Sustainable Energy Days’ Conference on Renovation strategies for domestic, public, commercial buildings & social housing that will take place in Wels. Find information about development of WSED Conference here.

For information on future POWER HOUSE EUROPE study visits and events click here.

Plug into POWER HOUSE! – new cooperation pack now on-line

POWER HOUSE is working to gradually link up Europe’s 39,000 local  public, cooperative and social housing providers in a “Big, Green Housing Exchange”. This pack explains how you can plug into the POWER HOUSE Network at European, National and local level to reach housing managers with your greening ideas.

Plugging into the POWER HOUSE Network makes sense:

> If your project is developing Resources
, be they guidelines, best practices, reviews, analysis or tools which may be useful for housing managers who are working to reduce energy consumption and make their activities more sustainable; These can be included in the Resource & Case Studies section of our site, highlighted in the POWER HOUSE Forum and communicated to National/Regioanl POWER HOUSE Europe Platforms and through them to their local networks through events and publications.

> If you have News on relevant developments or related initiatives. These can be included in the POWER HOUSE News section and simultaneously in our BUILD UP Sustainable Public, Cooperative and Social Housing Community.

> If you have ideas or questions for housing managers about their experiences and the challenges they are facing. These can be addressed directly to National Contact Points or practitioners in the field through the Case Study section or the on-line Forum.

The resource section of the POWER HOUSE site already contains those outputs of on-going and completed IEE and other projects which have been considered useful by our members. In addiaton some on-going initiatives which have already plugged into POWER HOUSE to ensure their ouputs reach housing organizations include SHELTER which is dedicated to improving the efficiency of the building chain in teh delivery of refurbishment; FRESH; which is examing ways in which the energy service contracting modeal can be used in housing CASH; an urbact project to develop local sustainable action plans and two projects working on the best ICT solutions for housing eSESH & E3SOHO;

Contact Alessandro Cesale, CECODHAS Housing Europe Project officer for more details on how to plug in.

National POWER HOUSE Platform Newsletters are now on-line - Here are some highlights

POWER HOUSE Flanders: Capacity Building for Members

POWER HOUSE Flanders: Capacity Building for Members

On the VMSW website it is possible to find a selection of manuals, reports and best practices from different European projects linked with energy efficiency and social housing.

The toolkit includes four categories: Social issues such as come under fuel poverty, dialogue with tenants and residents discussed behavior. Technical renovation and different strategies for insulation, ventilation are explained. When examples are results of pilot projects that have demonstrate energy savings and could reduce CO2 emissions. Finally it is possible to learn more about the Dutch experience with the energy performance certificate.

It is possible also to discover how to complete the certification of a building stock.

The VMSW will continue to enlarge this collection. It is emerging as a wealth of information that social housing, but also other partners from the construction industry who are active on energy.

Please find more information about the toolkit here.

To read more about activities in Flanders including the main obstacles being encountered and how VMSW is reaching out to its members please consult this link.

POWER HOUSE Bulgaria: Inadequate housing management structure the main obstacle

Bulgarian Housing Associations’ aim is to make energy efficiency in housing a political priority at national, regional and local level to achieve the adaptation of relevant legislation and the mobilization of private and public finances.

The private stock presents lots of problem. Poor performance of buildings in a condominium ownership and inadequate system of management and maintenance, force residents to consume more than double the energy required. The greatest heat loss occurs through exterior walls (25-35%) and windows (55-65%).

Buildings in the condominium property are in need of urgent measures to improve energy efficiency through:

  • High share of residential sector in total energy consumption in the country, with significant potential for saving energy and increasing the comfort;
  • The requirement to promote renewable energy sources.
  • Actions of mass energy efficiency of dwellings in buildings are expected to make 35-50% savings in heat;
  • Huge positive environmental impact of reduction in emissions of CO2;
  • Expected increases in market value of the renovated homes (commensurate with investment in the renovation); tangible impetus for the construction sector and employment;
  • Significant collateral effects on all sectors of the economy and improving its competitiveness.

According to the results of the needs analysis survey carried out, the National Toolkit includes four categories:  New technologies in energy saving, Energy efficient techniques for the housing renovation, Financing opportunities energy efficient renovation of existing housing, and good practices and successful projects relevant to the existing Bulgarian context. Please find more information about the toolkit here.

To read more about activities in Bulgaria including the main obstacles being encountered and how BHA is reaching out to its members please consult this link.

POWER HOUSE Estonia: Outreach to Building Managers

POWER HOUSE Estonia: Outreach to Building Managers

One of the key aims of the Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing (EKÜL) is to provide information on opportunities to achieve energy savings in apartment buildings. It does this by arranging a variety of EKÜL information days, training sessions and round table discussions aimed at representatives of housing associations in Estonia. In the context of Power House Europe, a conference, three working group meetings and two workshops involving a total of nearly 500 representatives of local government and housing associations have been organised.

EKÜL organizes seminars for the housing managers of these owner-occupied apartments’ blocks, outlining innovative refurbishment measures and the savings they can result in and the possible funding opportunities. The first such "practitioner practitioners' workshop was held in the summer of 2010 in Olustvere, Central Estonia, as part of the Estonian housing associations Summer University workshop. It focused on resources identified in the context of Power House Europe, in particular practical demonstration projects relating to energy conservation.

To encourage the utilisation of a growing number of web-based resources, housing managers were briefed on a variety of websites offering information on energy, including portals such as POWER HOUSE EUROPE and Build-Up.

To read more about activities in Estonia including the main obstacles being encountered and how EKÜL is reaching out to its members please consult this link.

POWER HOUSE Italy: Italian Power House Platform strengthens National Network

POWER HOUSE Italy:  Italian Power House Platform strengthens National Network

The Italian Power House Platform supported by CECODHAS Italy and Italian partners in the Power House Europe project (CasaQualità, Federcasa, Finabita) has about 50 members which are representatives of social housing organisations, research institutes, municipalities, construction industries, universities, environmental groups and tenants' associations.

It is a forum for dialogue between different stakeholders, involved in energy and housing sectors.

The platform is divided into three working groups: Social issues WG (Coordination Federcasa); Technical issues WG (Coordination CasaQualità); Financial Issues WG (Coordination Finabita).

In addition to the work of the Platform, Federcasa is developing bilateral initiatives that have led to experimental projects with ANDIL, the national Brick producing federation (sustainable brick construction in Pesaro), working groups for the development of financial issues with FOSS, an agreement with the national Union of Local Authorities, ANCI to develop projects at the neighbourhood level.

Moreover, Federabitazione has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Andil Assolaterizi for the promotion of large scale solutions in energy efficiency in buildings. Andil and CasaQualità signed a protocol that provides for dissemination of activities on energy efficiency and the implementation of experimental measures. CasaQualità, in collaboration with the Cooperative ‘Power Energy’, has taken actions to enhance its activities in the field of energy services and research of financial partners.

Legacoop Abitanti and CasaClima Agency signed an agreement that forms the basis for the application of the CasaClima’s certification model by cooperatives for members of Legacoop.

To read more about activities in Italy including the main obstacles being encountered and how Power House Italy Platform is reaching out to its members please consult this link.

POWER HOUSE France: Platform mobilises ERDF funding

POWER HOUSE France: Platform mobilises ERDF funding

After reviewing the outputs of completed Intelligent Energy European Funded projects, based on a needs analysis conducted with their members, the Power House France team selected the most useful ones for social housing organisations in France and grouped them according to the planning, construction and use phases of the building. Power house France toolkit is available on-line.

It is also possible to find on Power House France website a progress report on the use of European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) by housing organisations. This report shows the ERDF amounts available for retrofit projects by region, 70% of the amounts available in France, the expected performance improvements, examples of projects supported by the ERDF and the future proposals for the extended use of funds in the post 2013 funding period. This work is a useful tool to communicate with partners at local level.

USH published also the report "Energy efficiency: Europe supports your project." This report contains a summary of EU energy policies, a presentation of the ERDF measure to improve the energy performance of dwellings, calls on European energy projects of interest to social housing bodies and the results of projects.

To read more about activities in France including the main obstacles being encountered and how HSH is reaching out to its members please consult this  link.

POWER HOUSE Sweden: Energy and climate policy goals

POWER HOUSE Sweden: Energy and climate policy goals

In Sweden, there are 16 national environmental goals, one of which entitled ‘Good built Environment’ affects SABO’s work in the Powerhouse Europe considerably. This objective includes a number of milestones, one of which covers Energy use in buildings 2020/2050.

It calls for the reduction of the total energy use in heated homes and buildings. The reduction should be 20 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2050 compared to 1995. By 2020, the dependence on fossil fuels for energy use in the housing sector is to be reduced, while the share of renewable energy should grow steadily.

2020 Goals of the Swedish climate and energy policy are:

  • At least 50 percent of the Swedish energy will be produced from renewable sources;
  • Greenhouse gas emissions in Sweden will be reduced by 40 percent compared to 1990;
  • Energy efficiency is to be increased by 20 percent.

As a result of EC Directive on energy efficiency and energy services, the parliament has also adopted an indicative target of at least 9% more efficient final energy consumption by 2016 compared with the average for the years 2001-2005.

To read more about activities in Sweden including the main obstacles being encountered in particular the lack of subsidised loans nor any state grants for energy efficiency when renovating which currently means that very few renovations with an energy focus are being carried out due to high costs. Read also how Sabo is reaching out to its members please consult this link.

POWER HOUSE England: The Green Deal

POWER HOUSE England: The Green Deal

The new UK Government has introduced a new Energy Bill to make provision for the arrangement and financing of energy efficiency improvements to all existing homes (the Green Deal). The Green Deal is designed to enable accredited energy efficiency improvements to be carried out without up-front costs to residents and for a charge to be collected via their home’s energy bill. The Government has stated that it will be a new and radical way to improve the energy efficiency of people’s homes. However, to ensure the Green Deal work for all existing homes there are changes that need to be made to issues of consent, funding (via the energy company obligation) and assessment of works to be carried out.

The Federation has a Green Deal working group to examine the role housing associations can play in delivering and ensuring tenants benefit from Green Deal. It will also examine the barriers to Green Deal for social housing tenants and leaseholders. It is anticipated that the work from this group will feed into the DECC housing advisory group on Green Deal.

The meetings have looked at how Green Deal will be financed and how housing associations might work with contractors to identify and unblock some of the potential barriers. It is essential that housing associations are a central part of this delivery and ensure that tenants benefit from the proposals. Some of the major barriers are around ensuring take-up of Green Deal, ensuring it is both affordable and feasible for tenants, targets tenants in fuel poverty and is deliverable in flatted accommodation. The role of the future supplier obligation (ECO) will be crucial in ensuring future retrofit work is possible in social housing. The Federation is making amendments to the Energy Bill and has written a report to identify the barriers to Green Deal.

To read more about activities in England including the main obstacles being encountered and how NHF is reaching out to its members please consult this link.

POWER HOUSE Spain: Workshop on the use of ERDF for Social Housing renovation

POWER HOUSE Spain: Workshop on the use of ERDF for Social Housing renovation

In the framework of the Spanish POWER HOUSE Platform, AVS, in collaboration with Federcasa and EMVS is organizing a Workshop on the use of ERDF for Social Housing renovation to be held on Tuesday 22 March 2011 in Madrid (interpretation in Spanish, French and Italian provided).
The following day, on Wednesday 23, participants will also have the opportunity to visit some social housing projects on energy efficiency and passive architecture developed by the AVS’s member EMVS (Social Housing Enterprise of the Municipality of Madrid).

Please download here the programme of the event.

For further information, do not hesitate to contact Mr Carlos de Astorza Spanish POWER HOUSE Platform Coordinator.

Organisations who have submitted case studies to POWER HOUSE EUROPE site and who wish to learn more from their European Counterparts


The sole responsibility for the content of this Newsletter lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union. Neither the EACI nor the European Commission is responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

For further information, please visit www.powerhouseeurope.eu