POWER HOUSE Newsletter - 02.03.2012

Dear Colleague,

Yesterday the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy approved the requirement on Member States to renovate the buildings owned by public authorities and public bodies (2.5% of the area per year instead of 3% proposed by the European Commission) with a total useable area of more than 250m2 by January 2014, or find alternative ways to achieve equivalent savings.

CECODHAS Housing Europe stresses that in contrast to public authorities, public bodies covered by the obligation of thermal renovation, do not have the ability to self-grant public funds to finance these huge investments. Additionally in the case of public housing, there is often no way to recover investments due to rent regulation  and low-income of tenants. It is also important to note that energy service contracting model, while promising, has yet to prove itself to be a valid option in the housing sector. This legal obligation of thermal renovation established by the EU therefore only makes sense if it is accompanied by an obligation to make funding available.

Housing Europe in this regard welcomes the report's proposal to encourage member states to develop systems and tools of public and private funding for investment. But this simple incentive is insufficient because it does not introduce any legal obligation, enforceable in the EU, for example in terms of creating a green investment fund guaranteed by the EU and priority allocation of ERDF for energy investments under such a legal obligation. Housing Europe calls on MEPs to rebalance this legal obligation to invest with a legal obligation to make available EU funding, including the priority allocation of structural funds for 2014-2020 and the creation a dedicated investment fund.

We will continue to evaluate the outcome of this vote which is on the agenda of our Energy working group on March 13th.

Claire Roumet, Secretary General, CECODHAS Housing Europe

The Energy Efficiency Directive Negotiations must draw lessons from policy mixes that are Delivering Results

The Energy Efficiency Directive Negotiations must draw lessons from policy mixes that are Delivering Results

“The European Parliaments draft report has added a clear message on the need for financing and also stressed the need for building renovation strategies to be based on a long term vision which is the right direction, however experience* shows that the balance between binding measures such as the 2.5 % renovation rate and the financial and regulatory enabling measures needs refinement", says Vit Vanicek, CECODHAS Housing Europe President, www.housingeurope.eu.

“What do successful schemes have in common? - They are based on incentives and regulations, on consensus and fairness with a particular focus on the inhabitants, tenants, and those at risk of fuel poverty. Schemes which penalize the most vulnerable will simply not take off. A vital ingredient for success is a mix of national and EU long-term financial support.” confirms Sven Bergenstrahle, IUT President, www.iut.nu.

*Success:  Dutch social housing associations, in the past six months, have made more than 110,000 dwellings more energy efficient. Housing corporations installed new high efficiency boilers and improved insulation properties. These savings on gas are equivalent to the total consumption of city with 48.000 inhabitants. (Aedes Press Release - September 9, 2011)

The Basis? A consensual agreement between tenants union, social housing union and the housing ministry which ensures that tenants living costs (rent plus heating) will not rise after refurbishment.

*Success: The French social housing movement has renovated more than 100,000 social housing in 2 years, helping to maintain 33,000 jobs. This mobilization has resulted in a 50% per cent drop in energy consumption compared to average housing in France. In environmental terms, the actions undertaken will off-set the annual emissions of Greenhouse Gases in a town of 34,000 inhabitants. (USH press release – January 2012).

The Basis? The Grenelle de l’environnement:  A consensually agreed framework including financial incentives which combine EU and national funding streams such as eco loans (2% interest loans)  regional and national subsidies, white certificates and extensive use of European Regional Development Funding.

“This Directive has the potential to trigger sustainable growth and job creation EU wide. The IUT and CECODHAS Housing Europe recognize the urgent need for a compromise to be reached within the Danish EU presidency and call for negotiating partners to focus on approaches that are already delivering around the EU and to use this Directive to trigger the same momentum in all Member States.” Vit Vanicek, CECODHAS Housing Europe President, Sven Bergenstrahle, IUT President.

March 2012, CECODHAS Housing Europe – Partner in the World Sustainable Energy Days

March 2012, CECODHAS Housing Europe – Partner in the World Sustainable Energy Days

POWER HOUSE Nearly Zero Challenge.

As Member States work on new definitions and framework to promote nearly zero energy buildings, CECODHAS Housing Europe, with the support of the Intelligent Energy Europe programme, will begin a new project entitled 'the POWER HOUSE Nearly Zero Challenge'. The project will contine to boost the greening of the public, cooperative and social housing sector with a special focus on demystification and confidence building on what these new standards will mean in practice among members. This will be done by taking a close look at the practical experience from within the network in the field of low energy housing and renewable energy to date in terms of investment costs, running costs, ease of use and of course mistakes not to be repeated.

CECODHAS Housing Europe will present the project which will kick off in Dresen on May 2nd at the World Sustainable Energy Days (see below for more details). The World Sustainable Energy Days conference in Austria will take place from February 29th – March 2nd, 2012. It is one of the largest annual conferences in Europe and a unique combination of events on sustainable energy, see more details at www.wsed.at.

This year the “WSED next!” also offers a platform for presenting the latest technology trends, projects and political initiatives as well as, for facilitating interaction with experts and decision makers. ality of Madrid). For 2012, the organizers, the Upper Austria Energy Agency, will aim at analysing biomass and energy efficiency in buildings.

CECODHAS Housing Europe is present in Nearly Zero Energy Buildings Conference.

On 2 March, the focus will be on "high-energy performance" buildings in new construction and renovation. During the panel Project flash, our Deputy Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards will present The "POWER HOUSE Nearly Zero Challenge", For more information, please visit the website.

On the programme overview, it is possible to choose the panel of interest.

Thoughts on Green Social Housing in the Med

Thoughts on Green Social Housing in the Med

Social housing is intrinsically linked to the idea of the environmental, financial and social sustainability - For this edition, we spoke with Marco Corradi, - the Acer president, representative of the Italian national Federation Federcasa and chairman of the Energy Expert Network- CECODHAS Housing Europe.

"Acer Reggio Emilia has been involved for years in building renovation, because we believe in strategic value of the energy efficiency to reduce the costs of the house and the CO2 emissions. Acer is working on a range of energy efficiency projects to deliver comfortable and cost-effective sustainable housing to the citizens” stated Marco Corradi.

Furthermore Mr Corradi stresses that “The process of  buildings nearly zero-energy represents an extraordinary development opportunities to revive the economy through new technologies and the creation of new job opportunities and energy efficiency is the lever for triggering these process”.

The proposal for a European directive on Energy efficiency sets the scene for the construction of the houses typical of Northern-Europe in our country: highly insulated with integrated mechanical ventilation’s. We have established a new meditteranean taskforce to  modify the idea of Passive house  so that is it relevant for all regions and adapted to: our geographic area; different user groups; and called no longer Passive house, but Zero Emission House.

This new open network for the promotion of ‘the Mediterranean Home’ sprang from the success of POWER HOUSE Italy, accessible through the website

ERDF to to used to boost social cohesion in Bulgaria

ERDF to to used to boost social cohesion in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, the project: "Demonstrative renovation of multifamily residential buildings“ has been finalised. 

Almost fifty condominium buildings have been renovated with a subsidy from the state budget. It was a joint initiative of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which started in 2007.

The project developed pilot examples for renovation of multifamily buildings which consists of three elements:

- targeted subsidies for housing associations for renovation purposes;
- facilitation of provision of loans;

- technical assistance for voluntary association of home owners in construction units for organisation of the renovation process.

Please, visit the website with the last three buildings completed in November 2011 (Sofia, Oborishte District). They are also included in the POWER HOUSE EUROPE best practice database and were supplied with solar collectors funded under Concerto – Staccato EU project.

Thanks also to work carried out by BHA in the context of the Bulgarian Power House Platform, is it now possible to use ERDF funding to subsidise at 50% condominium buildings renovation by actively involving the homeowners.

In the Operational Program "Regional Development" - Operation a priority 1.2 on Housing has been included. Specific objective of this activity is to provide better living conditions for citizens and make a contribution to social inclusion through raising living standards and generally improving the quality of life among disadvantaged and vulnerable urban communities.

The priority  given to urban areas takes account of the effects of the severely deteriorating conditions on the quality of life in the target communities and also on the wider urban population.

Housing scene trends in Estonia

Housing scene trends in Estonia

The housing scene trends in Estonia in 2011 and the beginning of 2012 have been:  the rise in activity of housing associations, cooperation between the union of housing associations and state institutions, focus on innovative technologies and professionalization in management of housing associations. Different awareness raising campaigns and activities of EKYL. The POWER HOUSE Estonia Platform has played important role in creating a solid foundation.

Increased activity of housing associations.
People’s awareness and interest in energy saving has increased. More and more housing associations are applying for renovation loans and grants. According to KredEx statistics , in 2011 the number of  apartment buildings applying for loans has increased in comparison to 2010. Last year, banks issued the renovation loan of KredEx with favourable interest rate to 167 apartment buildings, for a total amount of 16.7 million euros.

This year, KredEx introduced a new support programme for building design and owner supervision, the purpose of which is to support complete renovation of apartment buildings. The total volume of the support measure is 800 thousand EUR.  The grant covers 90% of the costs of drafting of a building design and provision of owner supervision. The grant is aimed at all apartment buildings planning reconstruction. The completed building design makes it possible to apply for reconstruction grant and achieve energy saving of 50%.

In the last year activities of POWER HOUSE EUROPE Platform in Estonia led to establishment of the support group for apartment associations in the Parliament of Estonia and there have been full cooperation between the Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations and the support group of Parliament since then. The main focus of the cooperation have been on drafts of new legislative acts, especially on drafting the new apartment associations act coming into force in 2016 in Estonia.

More and more housing associations in Estonia are looking for innovative solutions for the renovation of apartment buildings. Based on this interest, in March 13 2012, the first Innovation Conference of Housing Associations in Estonia will take place in Tallinn organized by EKYL. For more information, please send an e-mail to Ms Anu Sarnet (anu.sarnet@ekyl.ee).

'Zero energy buildings without additional cost' in Flanders

'Zero energy buildings without additional cost' in Flanders

The 'Zero Energy Buildings without additional cost' is a Flemish project on construction, renovation or restoration of social houses, schools and housing with care facilities with involvement of VMSW ( CECODHAS Housing Europe Flemish member).  It was noted in a recent tender of three pilot projects for Social Passive Housing,  the cost price standard was exceeded by 45%, 50%. The aim of this project is to idenitfy ways of bringing down the cost and thereby generate additional investments streams.

In the social housing sector the payback principle does not apply to the investor: the social housing company invests and bears the additional cost, whereas the tenant benefits from the reduced heating costs. In order to realise low-energy houses and buildings at an acceptable cost, it is imperative to rethink design and building processes as well as building systems and techniques in an integrated and innovative manner.

Currently public procurement laws make it impossible to involve all parties in the project development, and, also, alternative and innovative construction methods and techniques are systematically excluded. Through this project VMSW wants also to explore innovative procurement methods that provide an optional solution to these limitations.

This project is very much in line with SHELTER, an IEE-funded project coordinated by the French social housing organisation LogiRep; the project aims at promoting and facilitating the use of new models of cooperation, inspired by integrated design in order to identify innovative methods and to overcome barriers to increase efficiency of renovation works in the EU social housing stock. To find out more, please visit www.shelterproject-iee.eu and join the BUILD-UP Community “Coordination of Professionals in Energy Renovations” http://www.buildup.eu/communities/coordofprofessionals.

New 'Energy coach' for tenants in France

New 'Energy coach' for tenants in France

Since January, Toit Angevin has employed an 'energy coach' for tenants. The coach will train them in the management of the energy use. The initiative, with a cost of 93 077 euros, is financed 70% by the region Pays de la Loire and by relevant aid of Europe and it is a part of the framework, "Saving energy in social housing in Europe", to encourage innovative actions for CO2 emissions reduction.

Within the Power House Europe network, customised and trusted energy advice and community outreach services are identified as one of the key secrets to success of energy saving in social housing. Partners estimate that this outreach can account for up to 30% of the costs of refurbishment.  Toit Angevin’s step to employ a permanent energy coach is a sign of things to come...

Social Housing and the 2012 Solar Decathlon

Social Housing and the 2012 Solar Decathlon

The Solar Decathlon Europe is an international competition for universities from all over the world aimed at the development of knowledge on sustainable homes, with a particular emphasis on renewable energy as the only energy source.
The Solar Decathlon was first presented in the USA, after the memorandum of understanding signed between Spanish and U.S. governments to organize and host Solar Decathlon in Europe, as a complementary edition.

The next Solar Decathlon Europe will take place next September 14 – 30 in Madrid, Spain.

The Spanish POWER HOUSE Platform led by AVS joins the adventure.

21 outstanding projects have been selected for this year’s decathlon. For the first time, in cooperation of our member AVS, POWER HOUSE Spain leader / CECODHAS Housing Europe will select the project which is considered to have the most potential in promoting nZEB in the social housing sector. The selection will be based on criteria vital in the social housing sector such as sustainability ( from social, economic and environmental perspective) usability, adaptability in dense urban environments, possibility to use in multi-family housing developments and of course affordability. The panel will include experts from CECODHAS Members, EU institutions and the Scientific community.

This collaboration is largely due to the success of the POWER HOUSE Platform in Spain. For more details visit the website.

Green Deal in United Kingdom

Green Deal in United Kingdom

The Green Deal  is the approach of UK Government to improve the energy efficiency of all existing homes without up-front costs. The idea is that Green Deal providers will fund and install measures at no initial cost to the occupier or owner. The costs would be repaid over a period of up to 25 years through a charge which would be fixed to the meter point and transfer to new occupiers and owners if residents move.

In UK, the 17% of households in England have social housing tenure and social landlords are providers of affordable housing for 8.2 million people.

The National Housing Federation has pointed out that this initiative needs significant changes to make it workable in the social rented sector. Consideration of the landlord-tenant relationship in social housing are necessary to ensure that the scheme works for those in or at risk of fuel poverty.

For more information, please visit the link.

ICT-based service for energy and water efficiency in social housing

ICT-based service for energy and water efficiency in social housing

ICE-WISH aims to design, integrate and pilot an ICT-based service solution for social housing to enable sustained reductions of energy and water consumption of at least 15% below the current practice, without compromising living conditions, across 300 social dwellings in ten European countries for at least 12 months.

ICE-WISH’s key innovation is the way information and advice is presented to the consumer, via real time and historic on-screen display items within the TV viewing experience. For this, during the first  months of the project, the ICE-WISH consortium has worked to capture user and operational requirements, investigating with households and interested parties.

First results have been used to establish service specifications and define the service architecture – including the user-friendly’ and widely accessible  user interface- for monitoring a trial group of 30 dwellings at each pilot site.

Within this operation phase, a continuous management of customised information with real-time data and feedback on resource consumption and environmental comfort, a real-time advice/ guidance on optimum operation of the building systems and components, an assessment of the impact of ICE-WISH service on inhabitants’ resource use behavior will be provided.

ICE-WISH, coordinated by Consorzio Nazionale CasaQualità and co-funded within the ICT-PSP  framework programme of the EC, is led by social housing providers. For more info as will as information on related projects such as E3SoHo and eSESH, please refer to the 'Plug' In section of the POWER HOUSE EUROPE Website a facility designed to draw on and dissemination resources being produced by on-going projects of relevance for the sector. Link

Financial Support for Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Financial Support for Energy Efficiency in Buildings

What should be done to improve financial support for energy efficiency in buildings?

Last February a public consultation on ‘Financial Support for Energy Efficiency in Buildings’ has been launched by the EC Directorate General for Energy. More information is available at link.

The consultation period expires on 18/05/2012. The key aim is to enhance the sharing of information and experience from national adoption and implementation European financing instruments and how the financial support for energy efficiency measures aimed at improving the energy performance of buildings, both at EU as well as at national, regional and local levels.
The consultation is addressed to Public authorities, Member States authorities, private organizations, industry, associations, SMEs, citizens, consumers, trade unions, NGOs, other relevant stakeholders.

You are invited to comment on the questions raised in the Consultation document (Document/pdf) by attaching your contribution to the email address corresponding to your type of organisation
The responsible service: Directorate General for Energy, Unit C3, Energy Efficiency, E-mail: ener-financing-energy-efficiency@ec.europa.eu

CECODHAS will be preparing an answer to the consultation.

EUSEW, June 2012

EUSEW, June 2012

Are you involved in eco-innovation or in initiatives in the field of energy efficiency, clean transport or the production of renewable energy?
You can present your work, share ideas and gain visibility by submitting your project to the Sustainable Energy Europe Awards 2012!

The EUSEW are the best-in-class initiatives that provide an invaluable opportunity to highlight the successes of the most outstanding, ambitious and innovative projects in sustainable energy and energy efficiency.

For this 6th edition, the projects can be submitted in five categories:  

Communicating: Projects in this category include all types of communication activities that create awareness and aim at changing the perception and behaviour of stakeholders and citizens.
Consuming: Projects promoting a more efficient energy management aiming at reducing energy consumption from both production and end-user side.
Learning: Projects carried out to improve knowledge and skills related to energy efficiency and renewables. They are usually carried out by official training and education bodies, such as schools, universities, training centres, etc.
Living: Projects aiming at making buildings more energy-efficient or integrating the on-site generation of renewable energy.
Travelling: Projects related to sustainable mobility, clean transport and fossil-fuel free initiatives from public authorities or transport companies.

To submit your project, you must register on the website (http://eusew.eu/) and create an account and complete the application form.
Deadline for submission is 29th February 2012.

For any questions, do not hesitate to contact the EUSEW Secretariat on eusew@sustenergy.org. The Awards ceremony will take place on 19 June 2012 in Brussels in the framework of the European Union Sustainable Energy Week.

Be a part of it – Organise an Energy Day in your city!

Be a part of it – Organise an Energy Day in your city!

Wherever you are in Europe, join the EUSEW 2012 and organise an Energy Day in your city, town or region between 18th  and 22nd  June 2012 (weekends before and after accepted).

Energy days can be any event to promote renewable energy or energy efficiency – from exhibitions, conferences, online events, and performances to guided tours, open door days, workshops, media campaigns, concerts and much more...

You can join other organisers in uploading your Energy Day on the website: eusew.eu/join-eusew.

5 good reasons to get involved:

  • Raise the profile and improve the image of your organisation, town, city or region;
  • Be part of a European campaign;
  • Spread your sustainable energy technologies and practices;
  • Attract media attention and make headlines;
  • Get additional visibility and support for your event from us.

IEE Programme: Call for Proposals 2012 open!

IEE Programme: Call for Proposals 2012 open!

This year, the IEE call presents a number of opportunities for CECODHAS Housing Europe member, many of which would involve collaboration with cities and regions. The call documents are now available and proposals can be submitted until 8 May 2012.

Of particular interest in the 2012 Call are the following key actions:

Mobilising Local Energy Investment – providing Project Development Assistance to committed local authorities for a pre-defined set of sustainable energy project. It complements the ELENA facility managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) by supporting small and medium investments.

Local Energy Leadership – supports two topics:
1) good practice models for multi-level governance engaging local and regional authorities in concerted sustainable energy planning and
2) exchange of experiences and competence building amongst town planning associations with the aim to integrate sustainable energy aspects into spatial planning strategies at local and regional level.

Energy-efficient Public Spending Initiative – providing support and capacity building to help public procurers at national, regional and local level apply green public procurement (GPP) criteria for the purchase of energy-related products as well as clean vehicles.

The investments must be defined in a local sustainable energy action plan and linked with the local authority. You will find further details at this link or visiting the IEE website.

MED Programme: Call for Proposals 2012 open!

MED Programme: Call for Proposals 2012 open!

The main objective of this targeted call is to better identify and strengthen innovation capacities of Mediterranean SMEs and support the implementation of innovative solutions for renewable energy and energy efficiency in Mediterranean cities.

This targeted call is dedicated to the first and second axis of the MED operational programme:
- Innovation for renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions in Mediterranean regions and cities;

Strengthening Mediterranean port activities and EU accessibility with simpler norms and a better use of information technologies.

Please note: an application shall not address more than one Axis. If partners are interested in both axes, they will have to submit two separate applications. 

  • The indicative ERDF allocation for this call is 15M€; 8,6M€ for Axis 1 and 6,4M for Axis 2.
  • The ERDF allocation for each project should be between 1M€ and 3M€.
  • The indicative IPA allocation for this call is 3,3M€
    Projects cannot exceed 36 months and must finish within June 30th, 2015 at the latest.

The full application has to be submitted to the Joint Technical Secretariat until 12th April, 8.00. For more information, please visit the website.

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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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