POWER HOUSE Newsletter - 01.09.2011

POWER HOUSE EUROPE: a process of mobilization towards transition!

Bringing about change within any sector is a challenge. Transforming energy use in Europe’s homes to adapt to new energy landscape is a particularly complex one. A new norm in for example light bulb manufacturing, as we have seen, once agreed can be speedily rolled out.

Housing, particularly existing housing is another story. The range of tenures requires a diversified outreach strategy, home owners, private rental, poor owners in condominiums mean that there is no single target group, add to that the range of building types and the climates and things become even less straight forward.

Consider the entire construction and renovation sector due to its relative fragmentation and the range of actors along the building chain from architects, to electricians, to plasterers and you have a lot more potential missing links… Taking this challenge to European level brings more diversity as the mix of tenures, political will to act and therefore the available financial support, organization of the housing sector and skills levels within the construction sector varies in each country and even in each region.

CECODHAS Housing Europe has stepped up to the challenge, the public, cooperative and social housing organizations own and manage 12% of Europe’s residential building stock housing over 50 million people. With the right financial and legal framework, these local organizations of which there are over 400,000 are well positioned to lead the large scale adaptation of housing and with it the adaptation of the complete housing delivery and refurbishment chain to the new global energy realities.

This challenge requires an extensive mobilization and the CECODHAS tool developed to achieve this is the POWER HOUSE EUROPE initiative which with the support of the Intelligent Energy Europe programme has been assisting public, cooperative and social housing federations to mobilise their members from the bottom up and most importantly has been facilitating active mutual learning and exchange across the EU.

Below you will find an updated on the work done by each POWER HOUSE Platform since the beginning of the POWER HOUSE EUROPE initiative in October 2008…enjoy the reading!

Vít Vaníček, President, CECODHAS Housing Europe.




The National Platform POWER HOUSE Bulgaria aimed at developing and strengthening the partnerships between different parties involved at national level. In this regard, a series of national events were organized in cooperation with the platform members in order to discuss and coordinate the efforts to place the energy efficiency in housing management and renovation on the state’s top agenda with emphasis on the following main topics:

  • Renovation of Condominium Housing (April 2009);
  • Energy Efficiency in Condominium Buildings (May 2009), The Future of Bulgarian Mass Housing (March, 2010);
  • Energy Efficient Services for Condominiums (November 2010);
  • Housing Renovation through Guaranteed Quality of the Supply Chain and Standards for Energy Certification of Buildings (January 2011);
  • Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Sustainable Way for Reduction of Energy Dependency and Fuel Poverty (April 2011).

The networking activity of the National Platform POWER HOUSE Bulgaria culminated in a conclusive national meeting on the successful opening of the National Program for Renovation of Existing Condominium Buildings under measure Housing Policy of the Operational Program Regional Development 2007-2013 with the use of subsidies for mass housing renovation from the EU funds.

The international dimension of network activities is presented by the participation of Bulgarian Housing Association in the UNECE First Workshop on Energy Efficiency in Housing (April 2009) where the National Platform POWER HOUSE Bulgaria was announced with one of its main goals to promote the sustainable models for energy efficient renovation of condominium housing.

The Union of Homeowners Associations as one of the most active members of the National Platform POWER HOUSE Bulgaria organized regular seminars for homeowners and their associations with emphasis on the innovative housing renovation techniques, the energy saving measures when maintaining multi-story apartment blocks, and the funding opportunities to cover the investments in energy efficiency.


Impact on National Policies

The members of the National Platform POWER HOUSE Bulgaria continuously worked on the preparation, implementation and further development of the Condominium Act which was enacted in May 2009 and subsequently amended in February 2010, January 2011 and July 2011. In the period 2008-2001, the members of the POWER HOUSE Platform contributed to formulate the implementation strategy of the Operational Program Regional Development 2007-2013 in its part dedicated to housing and urban development.



Bulgarian Housing Association encouraged the promotion of the financial tools for energy efficient housing renovation investigated in the context of POWER HOUSE EUROPE Project. These models were used to develop and implement local financial mechanisms in pilot renovation schemes such as REECL (Residential Energy Efficiency Credit Line) Program, STACCATO initiative for energy efficient renovation of condominium housing by use of innovative enhanced energy efficient measures, and ESCO based financial model of DALKIA Bulgaria.


Click HERE to find our more on the Bulgarian POWER HOUSE Platform!




English members have benefited from understanding the large-scale retrofit programmes that have been undertaken in Austria and Germany and used these experiences to lobby the UK government on the requirements for England.


European Dimension

The project was used to raise the profile of European funding streams and encourage housing associations to apply for EU grants. Several of our members (Places for People, Radian, Black Country Housing Association, Plus Dane, Riverside, Liverpool Housing Trust etc.) are now part of Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) or ERDF projects and aware of E2B, Framework Programme 7 (FP7). We are now working with several partnerships to look at applying for ELENA funding and possibly the new European Energy Efficiency (EEE) facility. We also made housing associations aware of European Investment Bank funding (EIB) and put together a consortium to try and attract EIB finance through a financial intermediary to enable housing associations to invest in photovoltaic and benefit from the feed in tariffs (FiT) initiative.



The Federation lobbied the English managing authorities to redirect the 4% of their ERDF allocation to energy efficient retrofit projects.  They used their POWER HOUSE colleagues’ help, in particular the French who have been very successful, to develop the English lobbying strategy. POWER HOUSE conferences and information were also very useful in putting them in touch with relevant key stakeholders such as the Commission and the EIB JESSICA team to discuss how EU financing mechanisms could be used for social housing retrofit. This enabled them to come up with a solution (using ERDF as a loan to pay for PVs and use the revenues of FiT to pay off the loan) and lobby the Greater London Authority so that the London Green fund includes a social housing fund.
The Federation was successful in ensuring most managing authorities redirect 4% of their ERDF allocation to energy efficient retrofit and made new finance available to its members.
The lobby work with ERDF managing authorities means that additional funding was made available to housing associations to fund retrofit projects. To date, 6 partnerships in the South East, North West and North East are in the process of carrying out an ERDF project. In the South East, Radian’s first project is already completed and an interesting outcome is a financial study carried out by Global Environmental Solution Business (GESB) suggesting a ‘revolving guarantee fund’ as a way to financing large-scale retrofit in the social housing sector and the private sector as well. Radian has now secured a second tranche of ERDF from the South East managing authority to try and pilot the concept.
In Wales, colleagues have successfully lobbied their managing authority to redirect £29m of ERDF to retrofit projects. They have also secured monies from the Welsh Assemblies to pilot the GESB revolving guarantee fund model and hope to do so with the latest KfW ELENA facility. In Scotland, colleagues are negotiating with the managing authority for a JESSICA £15m social housing fund.

In all cases, the ERDF work has made new finance available to members, encouraged them to form partnership to apply for it, and made them aware of other EU funding opportunities such as ELENA and EEE, for which they are now considering applying. Outcomes of the completed projects have been innovative and are suggesting new ways forward of financing retrofitting.
English powerhouse members have also done lobby work on the new EEE finance source and asked that the fund made below-commercial-rate long-term finance available to address the current market problem.
As recouping the costs of investment in energy efficiency work is proving difficult for social landlords in some countries, they have raised this issue at EU level. The UK Green Deal model might provide a solution to the rest of the EU and for this reason, they have been sharing information on this with their POWER HOUSE colleagues.

Through a working group and now the chairing of the Department of Energy and Climate Change social housing sub-committee, they are addressing these issues on behalf of their members. They  have also submitted amendments to the Energy Bill as it made its way through the two houses and will be lobbying on the secondary legislation, whose process is due to start in October 2011.


Work within the Federation

The Powerhouse platform in the UK has fulfilled its ambitions in that Federation members and UK housing associations are more aware of EU funding opportunities and the UK have been active in ensuring the 4% ERDF legislation amendment was used – although managing authorities in some cases have refused to redirect the funds for various reasons. They have also used their expertise to ensure their colleagues in Wales and Scotland were able to ensure the funds were redirected for their members.
The Federation has also further benefited from Powerhouse project for knowledge of ELENA, EEE and EIB finance.
ERDF and EU finance bids have led to organisations forming partnerships.
Knowledge and expertise has been exchanged with European colleagues and has been beneficial both ways, with the English platform sharing good practice around suppliers’ obligations, JESSICA mechanisms and the developing Green Deal, while taking on board European funding mechanisms (GESB revolving guarantee fund model and ESCOs) and learning from initiatives (passiv haus, feed in tariffs, ERDF from France).


Impact on members

The UK has been able to learn from their European partners about their experience of feed-in tariffs. This has been particularly useful in terms of understanding the market and predicting likely trends in terms of degression.
They have also benefited from understanding the large-scale retrofit programmes that have been undertaken in Austria and Germany and used these experiences to lobby the UK government on the requirements for England.
This has informed our lobbying stance fort the Feed in Tariff and more recently Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) initiatives here. We are also using these examples with our Green Deal lobby.
Ultimately this will enable our members to benefit from a supporting environment and legislations to retrofit their stock.


Click HERE to find our more on the English POWER HOUSE Platform!




The Estonian POWER HOUSE Platform is led by EKYL, the Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations and is closely related to the main goals behind the activity of the Union, like assisting its members in connection with the fulfilment of the tasks they are facing by gathering and forwarding updated information. The main target group for the platform is composed by managers and board members of housing associations in Estonia. The aims of the Estonian POWER HOUSE Platform are connected with The Estonian National Housing Development Plan 2008-2013.

The following stakeholders have been involved in the Estonian POWER HOUSE Platform’s activities: The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Tallinn City Administration (Housing Economy Department), and the Credit and Export Guarantee Fund KredEx.

POWER HOUSE EUROPE project supported the creation of long time concept for EKYL which would work as Platform for dissemination activities of energy efficiency in the future. The concept consists in an exchange of information and experiences at three levels: union or federation level, national level and international level.

  • Level 1- exchange of information and experiences on energy efficiency between experts of the National Platform (4 project meetings held);
  • Level 2- exchange of information and experiences on energy efficiency at national level (4 seminars for housing associations and 1 study visit held, articles in magazine);
  • Level 3- exchange of information and experiences on energy efficiency at international level (2 conferences held in Tallinn and 2 presentations made in conferences in Brussels).

To date, nearly 700 representatives from local governments and housing associations have participated to the meetings listed above.

The project helped EKYL:

  • to find out the need for information about energy efficiency among cooperative housing associations in Estonia,
  • to gather and forward the current information about energy projects from abroad to the target groups identified as well as from Estonia,
  • to analyse obstacles and barriers for integrated dissemination actions and
  • to develop tools for dissemination (website, newsletters, articles, presentations...).


Impact on members

The main challenge in Estonia is how to reach out home owners and building managers; the networking activities and the events supported by POWER HOUSE EUROPE have been very useful in this regard.

In the framework of its Platform, EKYL has organised seminars for the housing managers of owner-occupied apartment blocks, outlining innovative refurbishment measures and the savings they can result in, as well as possible funding opportunities.

The first such practitioner workshop was held in the summer of 2010 in Olustvere, Central Estonia, as part of the EKYL Summer University. It focused on resources identified in the context of POWER HOUSE EUROPE, in particular in 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.


Impact at national level

Delegates of the conference “Energy Saving in the Residential Sector”, one of the POWER HOUSE EUROPE national platform activities, addressed their communication as a final document of the conference to the Estonian Parliament, to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Justice. In this communication was expressed the wish to organize a support group for apartment associations in the Parliament and guarantee the effective financing scheme for the apartment associations. In the communication has been said that the associations also wish that there would be ensured the legislation, which would clearly support the work the apartment associations have done and their development so far, and would create supportive frame for the future development of the apartment associations. As a result, the support group for apartment associations was formed in the Parliament of Estonia. Today 17 members of Parliament belong to the group and have declared the aim to support apartment associations in their problems.


Impact at international level

Two international conferences supported by POWER HOUSE EUROPE were organized in Tallinn: “Housing in the Baltic States- time of new values” (2009) and “Energy Saving in the Residential Sector” (2011) drawing the society’s attention to the problems in the housing sector. The events were also the place to share the experience of different countries in the field of energy saving and energy efficiency as well as use of renewable energy in housing in order to build up the capacities of regions and cities to make the most out of the EU support.

A study visit to Latvia gave an important chance to exchange information between housing specialists of two neighbouring countries and learn about good practical experiences with energy efficient refurbishment of Latvian housing associations and improve the cooperation with partners from outside the POWER HOUSE EUROPE network.


Click HERE to find our more on the Estonian POWER HOUSE Platform!




The Walloon Housing Company SWL and the Brussels-Capital Region Housing Company SLRB were invited by VMSW to participate in the Energy Platform meetings organised in the framework of the Flemish POWER HOUSE Platform. The University of Brussels also participated in these meetings by providing conceptual inputs and by feeding the discussion particularly on social items.

A fruitful synergy was established through the IEE-RESHAPE project with Woonwel (Social Housing Company from the Netherlands) on the implementation and added value of the EPDB. Woonwel implemented EPBD certificates very efficiently and collected several data as part of its management and maintenance policy. The VMSW learned a lot from this exchange of information and will apply what was learned to the ongoing process of implementing the EPDB in its own housing stock.

In the framework of its exchange activities, VMSW has also organised a study visits to Woonwel and two other visits in Flanders to local social Housing Companies, namely De Zonnige Kempen and Westelo / Goedkope Woning.


European Dimension

Connections with different IEE projects were made as well as with the ICT-PSP project ICE-WISH (Demonstrating through Intelligent Control, Energy and Water wastage reductions In European Social Housing).
The results of these EU-projects contributed to the drafting of the Famish POWER HOUSE Toolkit and have also fostered the collaboration between the different partners involved and VMSW.


Impact on national policies

At national level, the Flemish POWER HOUSE Platform has allowed Social Housing companies to give a feedback to the Flemish government about financial barriers in facing energy challenges and also to give a feedback to the administration responsible for the EPBD about calculation tools and principles. The Platform also served to adapt the Flemish Directives to the specific operational context of the social housing organisations represented by VMSW (e.g. Energy Renovation Plan 2020) and to follow up financing programmes (e.g. EFRD: 3milion euro for 20 projects, out of 50 proposals).


Impact on members

Social Housing organizations in Flanders are mainly interested in low energy concepts for housing. Which construction methods and systems are used? Are the projects viable in the long term and how we recover the initial cost? Are tenants understanding these technologies and have effectively reduced their energy consumption? ...the exchange of information and the experiences from other European countries helped VMSW answering these questions.

Other useful outcomes of the Flemish POWER HOUSE Platform are:

  • More in-depth understanding of the barriers social housing companies are facing to achieve higher energy performances for new and existing buildings;
  • Better insight into practical implications of the EPBD for social housing companies (e.g. EPC-experts training);
  • Creation of a one-stop-shop for social housing companies (the VMSW Energy Help Desk);
  • Smoother collaboration between social housing companies and VMSW (e.g. during building stock inquiry and organisation of ERDF-call).

Social Housing companies were positive and very enthusiastic about the content, the functioning, and the seminars organised in the framework of the Flemish POWER HOUSE Platform. On the other hand, there is also need for very practical /specialised information (especially regarding maintenance-related issues). Under the aegis of the Flemish POWER HOUSE Platform, the Social Housing companies involved are thinking of creating a complementary “Building Stock Maintenance Platform”.


Click HERE to find our more on the Flemish POWER HOUSE Platform!




At the beginning, USH and HTC were the only participants in the POWER HOUSE French platform; now, the Working Group "Europe" of social housing organisations, GrDF, La Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and the Regional Associations are also involved in the Platform.
A networking between French housing organizations and other European Housing organisations has been established for knowledge exchanges :

  • 1 study visit of Logirep (French social housing organisation) in Austria
  • 1 study visit of BRE (UK) of Logement Français (French social housing organisation) refurbishment programme in Dammarie les Lys
  • participation of Stefan Borjesson (Swedish architect) to a Bat’Im club workshop (French working group of builders and housing managers),

USH will also participate in Kiev in a seminar on ESCOs. The French POWER HOUSE Platform helped the launch of this partnership with the publication of information about the FRESH project that will complement the information collected on the only 4 ESCOs existing in France.

The French POWER HOUSE Platform helped disseminating the results of the French proposals made to the EU in the project TACKOBST. This project is meant  to develop country tools (guides and books of recommendations) that aim, firstly, to give some “food for thought” to relevant stakeholders  (the State services, local authorities, the residents' associations, energy suppliers) to better overcome the legal, technical and social obstacles and, secondly, to enable managers to apply energy-saving refurbishments more easily.
In conclusion, the “Club France” of the Covenant of Majors is interested in the partnership with the French POWER HOUSE Platform.

European Dimension

For the French part, the USH is creating a National Observatory of Energy on refurbishment and new building projects. The French POWER HOUSE Platform should be integrated in such observatory in order to share the knowledge from other European countries in the areas of energy efficiency of buildings.
The exchange is useful to share experience on the best use of ERDF. Now USH is being asked to exchange this experience by the European Commission at European level. This could be done through the POWER HOUSE EUROPE website.


The USH is involved in a lobbying movement for the future ERDF use (from 2013). These lobbying actions aimed at cancel the 4% cap of the ERDF budget used for energy efficiency in buildings.

In this context, Carine Puyol (from USH and French POWER HOUSE Platform coordinator) has participated in two meetings:

  • 1 speech at the COCOF (Coordinating Committee of the Structural Funds)
  • 1 speech at the "Energy Week" in Brussels

In a national perspective, the French platform has enabled the coordination of Social Housing regional associations on the use of ERDF for the energy efficiency of buildings.The French POWER HOUSE Platform was used as a tool for the capitalisation of renovation projects funded by the ERDF in France.

Local housing providers want to get strategic Energy Action Plans in place within their organizations to achieve their targets. They see a huge learning potential in having a structured exchange with their French and European counterparts on issues related to choice of products, sources of finance and new technologies. Members want to learn more about experiences gained through completed projects, in particular they report a lack of information on costs of investment in energy efficiency, costs of maintenance, resulting energy savings made. The POWER HOUSE Platform will work to help members access the information they need and will assist them in getting involved in European projects. Study visits will be an important component of the work. The French POWER HOUSE Team will also work to ensure that information on EU funding streams such as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will reach those who need it at local level.

Work within the Federation

The French POWER HOUSE Platform coordinator USH - Union Sociale pour l’Habitat, worked with regional social housing associations for the implementation of the ERDF. The coordination work led regional associations to coordinate their regional institutions in order to develop a strategy for using ERDF in regions.
After reviewing the outputs of completed Intelligent Energy Europe 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.  At national level, the USH continues to support the social housing organisations in achieving the objectives of the Grenelle, in particular in using the resources of the French POWER HOUSE Platform. At regional level, USH works with regional social housing associations for the implementation of the ERDF.

Impact on members

The results appear to be particularly significant, especially if we take into account the real difficulty to mobilize nearly 800 French social housing organisations. These results (including projects that resulted in funding from Europe) show that there is real potential in the exploitation of the French POWER HOUSE Platform.

Moreover, the French POWER HOUSE Platform acted as a relay to the EU request regarding the costs of energy retrofitting by transmitting the results of the survey led on members of the USH (“Request from the European Commission for concrete case studies with cost of energy retrofit and pay-back time”).


Click HERE to find our more on the French POWER HOUSE Platform!




Federcasa is developing bilateral initiatives that have led to: experimental projects with ANDIL, the National Association for Brick and Tile Producers (sustainable brick construction in Pesaro), the Working Groups for the development of financial issues with FOSS, an agreement with ANCI, the National Union of Local Authorities, to develop projects at the neighborhood level not exclusive to social housing in order to develop better synergies and achieve economies of scale.

From the beginning of the current year Federcasa has been developing an agreement with BForms (Management Company) and ISTA in order to plan strategic energy refurbishments and install smart metering. Another on-going agreement is with FederlegnoArredo, the National Federation of Wood Producing to develop sustainable building both in the new construction and in the refurbishment.

Furthermore, Federcasa has also taken part to the Round Tables on Energy Efficiency in the residential sector promoted by ENEA (Italian National Agency for new Technologies Energy and Sustainable Economic Development).
Special synergy was created at international level with AVS (Spain) and other Spanish Platform members in order to develop common programs in the field of the south Mediterranean countries (certification criteria, technical solution for NZE Mediterranean House).

Federabitazione/CasaQualità and ANDIL (National Association for Brick and Tile Producers) signed an agreement for the promotion of energy saving solutions using clay products. CasaQualità, in collaboration with the Cooperative “Power Energy”, has taken actions to enhance its activities in the field of energy services, research of financial partners and financing, energy assessment and the development of integrated energy services.

Thanks to the POWER HOUSE EUROPE project, Federabitazione, with the operational support of CasaQualità, will work in synergy with the recent established ESIT, the private branch of the ITACA evaluation scheme (inserted as technical tool of the Italian toolkit), to certify the level of quality and sustainability of new housing projects developed by members.

A close collaboration has also been started with the Tuscany Region initiative, namely called “Abitare Mediterraneo”, which aims to create a European Think Tank related to Energy Efficiency of Buildings in the Mediterranean region.

Legacoop Abitanti/FINABITA created a structured exchange with the Swedish Association of Municipal Companies SABO and have organized a POWER HOUSE Study Visit in Stockholm in collaboration with SABO and the Swedish Cooperative Housing Association HBS. FINABITA also invited in Italy SABO to a National Strategic Seminar were SABO presented its “Energy Challenge” and the targets they plan to achieve



The financial crisis has made it more difficult to use public resources to finance the rehabilitation of existing housing and reduced the resources dedicated to new construction: the financial issue is becoming increasingly strategic for housing managers who are beginning to experiment innovative forms of financial engineering.

In this context, the Italian POWER HOUSE Platform is continuing its efforts to secure tax benefits for the social housing sector.
The Platform took part in the ‘Ecomondo’ Fair, November 4, 2010, where it presented, in addition to best practices collected within POWER HOUSE EUROPE, a critical evaluation by the Social Housing sector over the inadequacy of funds for the "energy transition" for the residential housing stock, joining the protests of many other sectors against the failure to confirm the 55% tax reduction and asking to extend this fiscal aid to the rental social housing sector.

The project has improved the cooperation with the Ministry and in the talks with them about a new decree on energy efficiency. The Ministry is now talking about supporting holistic renovation works. The Italian POWER HOUSE Platform has also established links with the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and the Kyoto Fund. Italian members have also through the National Platform managed to achieve synergies in the transposition of the ERDF Directive in Italy.


Impact on national policies

Subjects leading to discussions on the establishment of new policies/regulation were discussed during the project; 2/3 seminars were organized for each of the 3 topics (Social / Technical / Financial) that had to be addressed by the Italian POWER HOUSE Platform. Social Housing Organizations and public authorities attended to these seminars (~50 people) and discussions were held between participants and the Ministry of Economic Development (in charge of the distribution of energy incentives, feed-in-tariffs for energy efficiency etch…). These discussions result in positive exchange on what has been already done for professionals by the Ministry and on what is still waited; this could be seen as an indirect impact on national policies.

A discussion has also been led by the Italian POWER HOUSE Platform on the implementation of Structural Funds in Italy that have been neglected until now. The Platform put pressure on Regions, the Ministry and Social Housing Organizations for using these European Funds.

The Italian Platform participated in the two most important national building fairs (~100 – 150 people visiting the stands) with a stand and by delivering a speech at the conference. During these fairs, PPOWER HOUSE EUROPE project was presented (website, toolkit…) and discussion were held on critical and new emerging topics such as retrofitting housing projects, innovative building systems solutions for new buildings and retrofitting, energy performance contract, ESCOs, Micro-generation, ICT application.

Moreover, during the Platform works, the Italian POWER HOUSE Platform invited many governmental representatives such as the French Ministry of Public works to present “REHA” and “CQFD” experimental projects and an EC representative to present discussions linked with the Copenhagen Climate Summit. Social Housing Organizations, local authorities’ representatives and industries attended these fairs.

A consultation has been opened by the Industrial Development Ministry on the next Energy Efficiency Action Plan. The current Italian draft can be commented by the POWER HOUSE Platform members (statements / positions) in order for the federation to produce a Social Housing Organizations position paper. This approach that allows stakeholders to be consulted at policy level is quite new in Italy.

The work of the Italian POWER HOUSE Platform has been extended on other tables, through the implemented networking:

  • Participation on the table on the EPBD implementation 2 (started by Platform members): legislative proposals (work in progress)
  • Participation on working tables promoted by the Italian National Agency for new Technologies Energy and Sustainable Economic Development - ENEA (certification, communication and contracting / ESCOs).

A special emphasis had been put during the work of the Italian Platform, specifically in the Technical Working group, to achieve and to facilitate the development of common guidelines and policy approaches for assessing Mediterranean residential buildings specificities in the proposed Energy Efficiency Action Plan for the social housing sector. For this, in the selection of the resources of the Italian Technical Toolkit, a specific attention has been put to resources that are tailored and adaptable to MED specificities. (Passive-on / Itaca /...).

A close collaboration has also been started with two recently financed European projects related to the implementation of Energy Efficiency in MED area:

  • ELIH-Med: Energy efficiency in low-income housing in the Mediterranean” (coordinated by ENEA) aimed to identify and conduct a large scale experimentation of cost effective solutions and innovative public and private financing mechanisms backed with Structural Funds to foster energy efficiency investment in low income housing;
  • MARIE: Mediterranean Building Rethinking for Energy Efficiency Improvement” (coordinated by Department of Territory and Sustainability of the Gov. of Catalonia) aimed to aims to establish the socio-economic conditions for Energy Efficiency (EE) improvement in the MED. Building Stock in the framework of EU policy objectives, overcoming barriers and creating sustainable development opportunities in the MED region.

Moreover, the Italian Platform has stressed the need to implement on future policies the use innovative and affordable ICT solutions, not only for informing users on energy and water consumption, but also to measure adequately the performance of the installed energy-efficient devices along the use of the building.


Impact on members

After the three years project duration, the POWER HOUSE Platform activities demonstrated that the exchange between members of members, or exchange between federations has been successfully appreciated and allowed Social Housing providers not to only to share knowledge, experience and best practices, but also to define a common vision to promote energy efficiency in Social Housing and to define common strategies and actions to overcome obstacles. Thanks to the POWER HOUSE Platform implementation, for the first time this has happened at national level.

Also the bilateral action between countries has been welcomed by members of members. Knowledge and expertise has been exchanged with European colleagues. Different initiatives were developed as study visits to facilitate exchange of information:

  • Study visit in Vienna to visit low energy Housing projects;
  • Study visit in Linz to visit the large scale housing development “Solar City district”;
  • Study visit in Stockholm to visit the best practices of Cecodhas Swedish members;
  • International study visit in Brescia to public and cooperatives housing projects;
  • Study visit in Biella to refurbishment housing project based on ESCO principle;
  • Study visit in Florence to sustainable housing projects;
  • Study visit in Barcelona to sustainable housing projects.

Other important project results were:

  • Increased interest among members of member to participate in European projects;
  • Updates on development and policy discussion on EU legislation related to energy efficiency and renewables in housing;
  • Updates on EU project funding and structural funds;
  • Networking with new European social housing federations or members of them;
  • New networking activities with R&D companies, energy providers, financial institutions, SMEs, local and regional authorities, producers of energy efficiency products.


Click HERE to find our more on the Italian POWER HOUSE Platform!




At national level, the POWER HOUSE Spanish platform has established partnerships with the following entities:

  • CENER (Centro Nacional de Energías Renovables);
  • IDAE (Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de la Energía);
  • IVE  (Insituto Valenciano de la Edificiación);
  • RIVA (Oficina Rehabilitación Integral de Valencia, – Ruzafa. Generalitat Valenciana).

It also established several collaborations with:

  • CENER, in the dissemination of low energy buildings, especially dissemination between the public promoters of the project Rockwool on NZEB buildings;
  • IDAE, in developing campaigns for the use of renewable energy in housing, particularly solar, geothermal and biomass;
  • IVE, for the dissemination of energy rating tool “ICE” (Informe de Conservación y evaluación energética del edificio).


Impact on national policies

The feedback coming from the POWER HOUSE Spanish platform was incorporated into national strategy documents, publications or legislation. The POWER HOUSE Spanish Platform has done an important work of lobbying, particularly with the Ministries of housing and energy.

This work is a reality today through the:

  • Participation in an experts table on Housing Renovation and Energy Efficiency retrofitting created by the Ministry of Housing and Public Works dealing with economical and social aspects together with other social actors and the housing ministry representatives.
  • Creation of a working group of renovation and efficiency energy in social housing dealing with legal and technical changes. This group aims to produce new regulations and policies in this area.
  • Works the Spanish institution IDAE that promotes the use of renewable energy (biomass, solar, thermal), and which provides regular summaries on the use of these energies to the Ministry of energy.


European Dimension

The Spanish POWER HOUSE Platform met DG ENER of the European Commission in Brussels in order to expose the problems that Spanish social housing providers had with the financing tools JESSICA and ELENA.
In addition, the Platform organized a discussion Seminar exclusively on sources of financing for European social housing, and in particular to efficient retrofitting, inviting to participate to Karima Deli, MEP (Green Party). During the debate highlighted the barriers that the housing public promoters find when accessing to these funds.

At EU level, the Spanish POWER HOUSE Platform has also met FEDERCASA (Italy) and CECODHAS Portugal. AVS and its POWER HOUSE Platform, together with FEDERCASA has considered the possibility of the creation of a Working Group along with Portugal and Greece, to analyze the problems and solutions of energy efficiency in housing from a point of view of Mediterranean climate, with a special focus on NZEB buildings.



A meeting in Brussels on March 2010 with representatives of EIB and the Covenant of Majors (Pedro Ballesteros) was organized to discuss about financing programs.

The platform participates with the Housing Ministry in the retrofitting group of experts with the following entities:

  • Secretary of State;
  • Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de la Energía (IDAE);
  • Public, private and cooperative housing providers;
  • Confederación de Cajas de Ahorro (CECA);
  • Spanish Association of Banks (AEB);
  • Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO);
  • Observatory of Building (SEOPAN).

The Spanish POWER HOUSE Platform, together with the Institute for Alternative Energies IDAE, has carried out information campaigns nationwide by reporting on the economic aid and technical solutions of the use of biomass, solar thermal and geothermal energy. Furthermore, the platform has also made information campaigns on the use of the ERDF for housing, and on the  JESSICA and ELENA tools organizing open seminars.

The Spanish platform held a conference on the 5th May 2010 in Madrid, where ROOKWOOL introduced its proposal book. This meeting was planned with the main actors of BEI, Majors Covenant and Spanish MEPS; the reason was to explain to them the barriers we have for funding social housing programmes. On 22nd March 2011, a Conference on the use of the Structural Funds and the financial instruments ELENA and JESSICA was held in Madrid. In that meeting the ROOKWOOL proposal book “Edificios NZEB” was introduced.


Work within the Federation

The POWER HOUSE Spanish platform enabled improved networking with the actors and national/EU levels; 2 levels of information exchange were planned in the Spanish platform:

  • dissemination of good practices to Spanish SHOs;
  • dissemination of Spanish results outside the country.

Two books have been published (the 1st one in English and 2nd one in Spanish and more focused on the problems / barriers encountered in Spain).


Impact on members

Impact on Members of members: where members of federations used toolkits, submitted case studies, attended study visits, became partner in an EU project, became more interested in energy issues and actually adapted their energy strategies.
One of the main objectives of the Platform has been the identification of the main sources of funding for housing. For this reason, two seminars have been held in October 2010 (80 participants) and March 2011 (130 participants).

Complete information of the ERDF funds and the EIB loans through financial tools such as JESSICA and ELENA can be consulted on the webpage of POWER HOUSE Spain. European exchange helped to turn the crisis into an opportunity because through POWER HOUSE we have been able to identify different sources of funding. The construction sector was need as a major cause of the crisis but now housing is seen as one of the ways out of the crisis.

The information that we receive is not in Spanish and in addition there is no good distribution channels. In this sense, the Platform has done a good job translating the documents and disseminating them at the key points. We have received many compliments on the efficient information distributed by the Platform and we intend to continue in the future following this line. In the new period, we have a very good opportunity to influence national policies, as the Platform participates in the Working Group on retrofitting of the Ministry of Housing.

Click HERE to find our more on the Spanish POWER HOUSE Platform!




The most important action for the Swedish platform was the creation of a common goal on energy efficiency. The goal is to save 20% energy from the year 2007 until 2016. The goal is like a “Kyoto protocol” that each member has to sign, and follow up every year. 103 members of SABO have joined this agreement, a considerable part of the total housing stock in Sweden. The goal inspires to networking, changing of experiences and since the goal should be achieved within a reasonable future, it is stimulating and exhilarating for the members.

The Platform members are also networking with BeBo. BeBo is a network of property owners and the Energy Agency as a financier. The main focus is to reduce dependence on energy as heat and electricity in apartment buildings, and to reduce environmental impact. Bebo's activities will lead to energy-efficient systems and products used to come on the market, by for example technical procurement. The Agency will therefore contribute with funding and expertise to Bebo, which in turn this go on to property owners by including demonstration projects carried out by members. SABO is an active partner of BeBo and the information and networking between BeBo and the SABO platform has been intensified. The main result is that Swedish platform members have so far saved 4,2% energy between 2007-2009.


European Dimension

With the help from the POWER HOUSE project, SABO has intensified its work trying to encourage members to apply for EU support, for example through conference on EU financing and through newsletters. The exchange between countries was also useful to share experience on how to get access to the use of ERDF. Furthermore, thanks to the creation of a section on the POWER HOUSE EUROPE website dedicated to potential project partners, POWER HOUSE EUROPE has also opened a possibility for SABO's Platform members to easier participate in EU projects and also find interesting case studies.



The financial barrier is still the main barrier for Swedish members to reach the objectives in cutting energy consumption. It is impossible to finance energy renovation through reduced operating costs. Energy renovation which reduces the consumption a lot is only done in a few renovation projects in Sweden because the companies need to finance this through increased rents (and reduced energy costs). The tenants with a low income can't handle raised rents and this is a barrier for energy efficiency when renovate. SABO has recently produced a report to show this to the Swedish politicians. The report also shows that different markets (where the company/building is situated) give different opportunities in energy efficiency, but also the energy price and different price constructions is a main barrier for energy efficiency. The POWER HOUSE EUROPE project has helped to identify what is being done in other countries, how to access finance and how other countries finance their renovations. To get access to the ERDF in Sweden would be one of the many solutions that need to be done to reach energy efficiency targets among members.


Impact on members

The most important result is that Swedish members have actually reduced their energy consumption. The result for 2007-2009 was a reduction of the energy consumption with 4,2 % totally and a result for 2007-2010 with about 6 % is expected.


Click HERE to find our more on the Swedish POWER HOUSE Platform!


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.

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