POWER HOUSE Newsletter - 01.12.2012

The Challenge

Social housing providers must provide housing which is affordable in terms of construction, maintenance and running costs. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive stipulates that by 2021 all new housing built in the European Union must meet new Nearly Zero Energy Building standards. Definitions of this term are being fixed at national level however what is certain is that they must be very energy efficient and should use renewable energy sources to cover the remaining energy demand. However, is that the market is currently not yet offering such a product or service at affordable rates.

While in Austria, for example, housing providers receive a grant to cover the extra costs of meeting high energy performance standards in new construction, this is not the case elsewhere which may compromise the capacity to deliver new, in some regions much needed, housing. Social Housing providers must often build within maximum cost limits for construction which currently are lower (in some countries much lower) than the cost of low energy housing which meets new norms.

Lack of Data

Additionally, as they must manage housing into the long term they are also concerned about the lack of data on real energy costs and the maintenance implications. Some experiences of low energy new construction show a large gap between planned and real energy performance of buildings. The reasons behind this are varied and can be addressed however, again the limited budget in the sector means that these types of risks simply cannot be taken.

At the same time they are faced with, what many see as a higher priority than new build, the need to improve the energy performance of the existing building stock. Large sections of the older stock needs a major renovation for other reasons not limited to energy efficiency (safety, comfort, minimum facilities,…) Access to finance to carry this out is limited in many cases.

The fulfilment of the renewable energy component of Nearly Zero Definitions is also not straight forward and will require a review of the lack of stable incentives and continuing obstacles to a real decentralisation of energy generation.

Need to Re-think

Social Housing providers have recognised the need for innovation in housing concepts, design and building-systems and techniques which can be implemented on a large scale and at acceptable costs. They have also recognised the importance of exchange of experience among social housing providers in different countries and the potential this offers to help them locally - this recognition led to the launch of the Nearly Zero Energy Challenge.

The challenge, coordinated by CECODHAS Housing Europe, has been taken up by four TaskForces: nZEB in Warm/Mediterranean climates, nZEB in Cold/Continental climates, nZEB in Divided/Cooperative ownership with a specific Taskforce dedicated to Financing.

The first key policy outcomes of the Taskforces will be presented at the European Nearly Zero Energy Buildings Conference at the 2013 World Sustainable Energy Days.

Fair Energy Transition Symposium at the Solar Decathlon Europe

Fair Energy Transition Symposium at the Solar Decathlon Europe
From Left: Javier Serra from the Spanish Ministry for Infrastructure, Sorcha Edwards, NZEC Project Coordinator, Vicente Leoz Argüelles, DG Enterprise, Kurt Eliasson, President CECODHAS Housing Europe and Angelo Consoli, Director of the Brussels office of Jeremy Rifkin and the Foundation on Economic Trends

POWER HOUSE Partners joined forces with the Solar Decathlon Europe, to hold the official launch of the Nearly Zero Challenge.

Speakers at the launch were asked for their views on the project and its aims and if they had strategic tips on the best way forward for housing providers:

Pilar Martinez from the Spanish Ministry who is responsible for housing said that she saw the Nearly Zero Energy challenge as vital as “In addition to improving the quality of life it will generate employment and economic growth which is a social necessity in our country.” She called on CECODHAS Housing Europe and the public housing companies in Spain to "continue what they have done until now and done so well, continue to be laboratories for new ideas because they are working on the ground and they know the reality in the cities better than anyone else. They know where the barriers and obstacles lie which have to be tackled and overcome at other levels within the administration".

Leoz Arguelles from DG Enterprise said "I think it is a very important project both from the perspective of the climate and energy dependency. New building standards are vital, but we also have to work on something which is perhaps less sexy: the renovation of existing buildings which consume the most energy. Both objectives are not contradictory but complementary".

Antoni Sorrolla speaking on behalf of the Spanish Social Housing Federation (AVS) said  “We have to reduce energy consumption and control the use of natural resource. This initiative helps us to go in that direction.

Yamina Saheb from the International Energy Agency said “I think it is a very useful initiative for the EU because of zero energy target buildings. We need bench marking so that we can design policies which are implementable" She stressed that CECODHAS Housing Europe can "play a major role in avoiding to have subsidies going in the wrong way especially in social housing where we have fuel poverty and we expect it to increase in the future."

Angelo Consoli, Director of the Brussels office of Jeremy Rifkin and the Foundation on Economic Trends called for more ambition saying "Actually I think you should be more ambitious You should be zero challenge. By now the technology and the business are far ahead than even the bureaucracy. Zero emission buildings and even positive energy buildings are already going up everywhere in Europe."  Consoli also stressed that "This new democratic distributed interactive energy model, the 3rd industrial revolution starts with human capital so you have to engage in a massive retraining programme and you have to push for the European Union to engage in that."

Speakers made clear that the task in hand is not easy but that we are well placed to achieve it.

The video of interviews with speakers will be available soon on the CECODHAS Housing Europe YouTube Channel…stay tuned!

The first 'Fair Energy Transition' Award

The first 'Fair Energy Transition' Award

The Launch of the Project was also an opportunity to present the first Social Housing Meets Solar Decathlon Europe 'Fair Energy Transition' Award. 

The Jury, made up of social housing practitioners as well as representatives from the United Nations Economic Committee for Europe and Building Performance Institute Europe were asked to review the Solar Decathlon Europe entries from the perspective of social housing providers. The criteria chosen  were affordability, user and management friendliness and possibility to use in multi-family blocks in an urban environment. Jury members found it very difficult to choose the winners as each project had unique points.  

There were two special mentions for hot climates: the first was the 'Med in Italy' from Rome. The reasons cited by the jury for their selection in this case were:

  • Affordability, Seismic considerations, new way of achieving thermal mass;
  • Modularity to build in blocks;
  • Concept for multi-family homes to tackle urban sprawl;
  • Maximum use of passive systems;
  • Not very technical – user-friendly.

 Second special mention CEU Team Valencia Spain for the following reasons:

  • Affordability;
  • Flexibility and modularity which is important for social housing;
  • System linking solar, heat pump, battery and grid – Solar thermal sensitive for cloudy days;
  • Good visualization for residents – linked with app for I phone ( open source);
  • Outside maintenance;
  • Good energy production performance.

The winning team selected by the Jury was Canopéa Nano towers in the City – Team Rhone- Alpes

  • Holistic Urban Approach;
  • Grids for heat and energy connected – good for winter and summer;
  • Is is the only project with heating (via district heating) which is needed in colder climates;
  • Waste – separated and disposable from top of tower;
  • Mobility – use for cars and this also serves for storage;
  • Social connectivity, common space.

The Canopea representative gave his perspective on why their project had been selected:

Collective space: "We are designing nano towers.They include a wide range of collective space or shared space. I think this is a key point for social housing and social context. This is a space where people can gather with neighbours."

Affordability: "Our goal is to reach a construction cost between €1,800 and €2,200 per square metre for a very efficient dwelling. It is affordable housing and also we have to consider the mobility costs because we are in urban territory. The Canopea inhabitants are not car dependent so they strongly reduce their mobility budget."

Adaptability to hot and cold climate: "The Rhone Alpes continental climate is characterized by warm summers and cold winters. Our bio-climatic design is adaptable to both hot and cold climate and also as we are working at city scale, we have a city network such as 'the thermal loop' which provides the basis for warm water, domestic hot water production and for heating. So we have a whole series of resources including photo voltaic and also the biomass co-generation station using local wood, so it is renewable".

All 3 teams kindly presented their projects at the Symposium before welcoming the participants on visits to the houses in the Villar Solar.

The next Solar Decathlon Europe will be held in Versailles, France in 2014. CECODHAS Housing Europe is looking forward to continued collaboration to further enshrine a social dimension in the competition.

Med Countries call for a different approach

Med Countries call for a different approach

For countries in the Med region like Spain and Italy the use of Structural Funds, despite proposals of the Commission for efficiency and renewables, is not to be taken for granted that progress is in store. There is a need for a real re-thinking of the strategy in light of all the economic problems. A lack of a secure framework and also doubts about the possibility to use the funds due to budget deficit limits and the grey area of compliance with European Legislation such as the EPBD. Systems like the Jessica EIB funding scheme could be used to overcome the problem of budget deficit limits but are not yet in place.

Also in the technical field there is a risk to encourage an over-engineering (also in terms of up-front costs) by emphasizing the Passivhaus standard and some related- technologies such as the mechanical ventilation and the strong envelope insulation and to miss an opportunity for Med regions to build low energy homes more in line with their climatic and citizens lifestyles specificities. Summer comfort and the energy consumption for cooling should be considered key issues in the EPB-regulation transposition to pave the way for the implementation of nearly Zero Energy homes in the Southern Europe.

These are the issues that are being looked into by the Nearly Zero Med Taskforce. They began their work by linking up with existing initiatives such as IRH-MED, ELHIMED, MARIE, RELS and MEDBEE. The MARIE and RELS projects were presented at the Med Taskforce meeting in Madrid. POWER HOUSE Representatives spoke at the ELHIMED conference and attended the MEDBEE forum in Brussels.

Some additional partners from Greece, Cyprus, South of France, Malta and Portugal have linked up with the nZEC consortium. This will broaden the geographical coverage to the whole MED region.

The home of the Med Taskforce is here.

Divided and Cooperative Taskforce

Divided and Cooperative Taskforce

The work of this Taskforce started with the drafting of a needs analysis and work programme, together with a study of the main barriers to the market penetration of the nearly Zero Energy standard. Regulation, Obstacles, Financing, Renewables, Organizational framework and Communication and Marketing are the key topics which will be analyzed by the task-force, using the experience gained in 15 test cases, consulting a group of external experts and housing managers and organizing Workshops and Study Visits.

The Taskforce partners (EKYL for Estonia, CAC for Bulgaria and Legacoop Abitanti for Italy) have organized a first workshop in Madrid at the end of September, where the main topic was the Obstacles to nZE standard. The workshop was also attended by representatives of English, German, Irish and Swedish Housing Federations.

Next international open meeting will be in Milan in May 2013, where we will discuss about financing and visit some large retrofitting and new low energy developments. Materials produced and updates of the Taskforce work are available here, follow us!

Home of the Divided/Cooperative Ownership Taskforce is here.

Monitoring real consumption of nearly Zero Energy buildings.

Monitoring real consumption of nearly Zero Energy buildings.

Within the POWER HOUSE nearly Zero Energy Challenge project, 30 test cases of low and nearly Zero Energy Building in different European social and cooperative housing will be monitored.

The aim is to show the real energy performance of buildings, and not only the estimated values. Monitoring will cover heating, cooling, production of hot water and building technical services, including ventilation and lighting. The production of in situ renewable energy systems will also be monitored, according to the requirements of the new EPBD directive.

All data will be made publicly accessible through the Sole platform. Consumption indexes will be available in different formats and it will be easy, for example, to compare performances of buildings in different locations. Project partners have started collecting data since autumn 2012 and the first monitoring results will be on line from the beginning of 2013.

Aggregation and bundling of loans for Energy Efficiency – the holy grail for the European Investment Bank: An opportunity for Housing Federations?

Aggregation and bundling of loans for Energy Efficiency – the holy grail for the European Investment Bank: An opportunity for Housing Federations?

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has launched a public consultation as part of the review of its energy sector lending policy, open until the end of the year. The review process is expected to be finalised in summer 2013.

Chaired by Cheryl Fisher, the new Director of Energy Department of ‘Europe’s Bank’ hosted an open workshop in Brussels on the 7th of December to hear first-hand views from stakeholders. The EIB delegation was not limited to the speakers but totalled about 15 experts from the bank working in all energy departments.

While topics covered ranged from nuclear power to ETS (the EIB price for tonnes of carbon is €30 – so higher than the current market price) to carbon capture and storage,  energy efficiency came through as a clear priority both in the presentations and interventions from participants. The Bank allocates €85 billion annually to energy efficiency compared to €65 billion for gas/networks and €50 billion for renewables to 2020, with buildings identified as a priority sector.

What is blocking Cash Flow for Energy Efficiency?

The Bank’s experts have a clear view of the obstacles to lending to energy efficiency in general, many of which apply to the social housing sector. Projects are often small and fragmented in nature compared with the big energy infrastructure projects such as power plants which must become a thing of the past. Other obstacles leading to limited access to capital include budget deficit limits, retail banks not understanding the business of energy efficiency. This fragmentation results in high transactions costs, excessive complexity for small actors and a clear need for bundling of projects and intermediaries. Technical assistance schemes such as ELENA designed to assist local actors in prepared projects are too large for some (although the EIB did stress that 80% of ELENA money has been used).

Fisher explained that the bundling of maximum number of projects to cut down on transactions costs while ensuring quality control and respect for the banks criteria is the “holy grail of the EIB as other banks” while explaining that a big part of the transaction cost incurred is the price of conducting due diligence for loans. Speaking on behalf of CECODHAS Housing Europe, at the workshop, Marco Corradi, Chair of the Energy Experts Network gave a clear message about the logistical problems from the operational perspective of housing providers saying “the investment sizes are much too big ( e.g; 50 million limit for use of ELENA) and require complex collaboration between many municipalities”

He called for “capacity building tools which are more in tune with the operational level.” What can be concluded is that we are dealing with a size mis-match and that there is a need to examine the use of financial intermediaries to make the bridge. The possibility of building capacity of existing structures to channel through EIB funds such as the Caisse de Depot in France or of KfW in Germany is a clear one. In some countries, social housing federations, could also be potential aggregators as many already function as banks for their members. Working with such counterparts , when needed in partnership with local banks, has been proven to bring down transaction costs, risk and thereby interest rates. Where such institutions do not exist, their establishment is a must. They could also bring together new financing streams such as those which will be generated by energy supplier obligations in article 7 of the new Energy Efficiency Obligations or emissions trading schemes, particularly to address fuel poverty.

Are ESCOs the way to Go?

Another question included in the EIB written consultation is the role of energy service companies (ESCOs) in developing energy efficiency investments. Corradi notes the potential pit-falls of relying on energy savings of individual projects to cover investment and proposed mixing buildings of different types within refurbishment project to help spread the gains and defend general interest.

"A private market controlling the entire project structuring stream for the realization of energy efficiency in buildings would privilege those projects which are most profitable (such as swimming pools and rest homes), overlooking those projects which provide per se less savings, such as schools and social housing, particularly where under-heating due to fuel poverty is an issue".  To avoid this he proposed "Initial screening and bundling of projects together followed by supervision by Public Social Housing Companies and Public Administration can guarantee the general interest and ensure the realization of all types of projects, which have been demonstrated to be profitable also when combined all together."

What is clear is that working with different funds with different sets of rules and procedures will definitely not help to increase the flow of finance to energy efficiency projects. Bundling on the borrowers side must be facilitated by the merging of financial streams and simplification of procedures on the lenders side. Existing public banks and housing providers can potentially be activated as effective aggregators working in a more uniform way and helping to reach the Holy Grail.

CECODHAS Housing Europe will answer the EIB consultation and welcomes all feedback on this article. You can view the consultation and submit your feedback here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9SWM7HL.

Related: EU-Energy Performance Contracting Campaign

In response to this changing financial and regulatory landscape, DG Energy in cooperation with the EIB's PPP expertise centre (EPEC), ManagEnergy Initiative and the Covenant of Mayors has launched an EU-Energy Performance Contracting Campaign to support Member States and market actors with the rolling out of functioning energy services market.

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/efficiency/financing/campaign_en.htm.

Housing Provider Toolbox for Energy Efficiency Directive Transposition

The recently agreed Energy Efficiency Directive obliges Member States to set energy efficiency targets, renovate public buildings, to introduce energy efficiency obligations and to establish financing facilities for energy efficiency measures. 

With the right financing and regulatory framework, housing providers can assist Members States and energy suppliers in achieving the energy efficiency obligations set out for them.

Member States governments are now preparing the transposition into National Law, therefore it is a crucial time for housing providers to activate and to assess how the Directive can be transposed in a way which will support them in successfully financing and implementing their energy retrofit plans.

Toolkit and on-line Exchange

We have created a dedicated section of the POWER HUSE Website with an explanation of the articles deemed most relevant and inspirational examples to help members to give input to the transposition process. There is also the option to exchange information using the private POWER HOUSE Forum.

The full text of the Directive can be accessed here.

Decentralised Energy Production and Consumption

Decentralised Energy Production and Consumption

The energy transition requires integrated local heating, cooling and energy efficiency planning. While energy efficiency is top priority for housing providers, they are also aware of the potential to use the buildings they manage to produce, consume and store energy. The Nearly Zero Energy Building Obligations set by the EPBD also require the production of renewable energy either on site or nearby all new buildings.

It is vital to review which factors are slowing down the achievement of those objectives. 

Within the framework of the launch of the Nearly Zero Energy Challenge, in the discussion following the presentation of Angelo Consoli (president of CETRI), social housing practitioners from different countries gave their views on why their buildings are not reaching the full production potential.

In Germany, it is very difficult for cooperatives to produce energy and sell it to third parties. It can be possible as long as it is for consumption by their members, but if there’s a surplus it is difficult to sell it to the grid as this would mean that the housing cooperative becomes an energy producer and is taxed accordingly thereby losing the normal tax free status enjoyed by housing cooperatives. There is a perception that the grid has been designed for large producers.  In Austria there is already installation of solar panels on a large scale in social housing, but this wouldn’t be economically viable without subsidies.

In France, until now these facilities are profitable thanks to the mechanism of acquisition of electricity established by the government. USH, the French Social Housing body fears that any changes in energy cogeneration price (gas and wood) may affect the profitability of the systems and thus represents a risk for households.

In Spain, until there is auto-consumption of renewable energy in Spain there can be no such thing as Nearly Zero Energy Housing. Consoli explained that the system is set up so that you have to feed locally produced energy to the grid and this is currently a complex procedure, but said that it should be possible for households to use the energy thereby reduce their bills and only send back the surplus.

In the UK Feed In Tariffs (FITs) for PV have seen a large take-up from Social Landlords. With their focus on affordable housing, social landlords invariably direct investment towards low income households and can therefore help to ensure social equity from funding mechanisms like FITs. They regret that the government has not yet properly recognised or supported this role.

In Holland, Aedes, the social housing federation, together with a big coalition (green NGO’s, municipalities, construction & installation, tenants and home-owners) sent a letter to the Dutch government with its vision of decentralized energy generation. Now it is planning to propose to the Parliament concrete measures which can allow small end users and also tenants to have net earnings on PV on a yearly basis. Currently this is not possible. 

European Parliament Report under Preparation

The preparation of the Report on current challenges and opportunities for renewable energy on the European energy market from Herbert Reul MEP represents an opportunity to bring to light these obstacles. CECODHAS Housing Europe is proposing the introduction of an amendment as follows:

"Notes that housing can play an increasing part in power generation; electricity from renewable energy generated inside or in immediate proximity to residential buildings and primarily used in the building immediately or after temporary storage does unload the power grids and can make energy supply safer and more affordable" (based on the position of GdW's Energy Expert Ingrid Vogler).

The report should also stress the importance of the diversification of ownership of energy and an increase in the proportion of community owned energy.

News from Platforms: Estonian Energy Efficiency Week

News from Platforms: Estonian Energy Efficiency Week

Estonian nationwide Energy Efficiency Week took place between 5 and 11 November 2012. The event was organized for the fourth time and all these years the Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations (EKYL) has been one of the main organizers in cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, KredEx, Tartu Regional Energy Agency and others. The purpose of the Energy Efficiency Week is to raise people's awareness of the importance of energy efficiency and give tips on how to decrease energy consumption.

The one week campaigns includes several activities and events to make the topic more audible and visible. This time, the activities of EKYL during the Energy Efficiency Week were targeted at housing associations all over Estonia to learn from each other. Visits to renovated apartment buildings or energy-efficiency seminars for members of housing associations were organized every day during the week in different cities.

The Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Estonia have named the list of organizations that will be involved in the preparation of the 2014-2020 Structural Funds programming period in Estonia. The Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations is the only non-governmental partner in the list that is specialized to represent the interests of cooperative housing and apartment associations.

Update on the Green Deal from the National Housing Federation, England

The Green Deal is the UK Government’s flagship policy for improving the energy efficiency of homes and non-residential premises. In its basic form the up-front cost of energy efficiency improvements will be met by a Green Deal provider, who will recover it over a period via a Green Deal charge linked to the electricity meter. These Green Deal charges must meet the ‘golden rule’ and be less than the savings made from the improvements. Energy companies will also be required to subsidise some energy efficiency work through the new Energy Company Obligation (ECO), funded from a levy on customers’ bills. This will often be used to compliment Green Deal finance where the golden rule cannot be met.

The introduction of the Green Deal fits well with the new European Energy Efficiency Directive, which contains articles requiring member states to implement energy efficiency obligation schemes, and national funding for energy efficiency. Whilst the Green Deal is not funded by the UK government, it does provide a financing mechanism which should, backed up by ECO, provide national support for energy efficiency measures as intended by the Directive.

After much policy discussion and some delays, the phased introduction of the Green Deal has now begun. To mark this, the National Housing Federation, the membership body for housing associations in England, held a one day Green Deal and ECO conference with key policy makers and industry figures. Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker gave the keynote address and welcomed the level of interest in the social housing sector in using the Green Deal and ECO to help cut carbon and tackle fuel poverty.

These are indeed key priorities for the sector and following lobbying from the Federation the Green Deal and ECO are better placed to help tackle these problems. Some housing associations have therefore firmly committed to becoming Green Deal Providers and intend to use the mechanism to work across neighbourhoods, both on affordable and private homes.

However, although a useful tool the Green Deal is by no means a magic bullet. Meeting the golden rule will not be easy on a lot of housing association stock where cost-effective improvements have already been undertaken. While ECO will help, the affordable housing sector has been blocked off from some elements focused purely on fuel poverty. Pivotally, it is not yet clear what interest rates will be charged in relation to Green Deal finance, an issue that will make or break many schemes.

None of this means that the Green Deal cannot work, but that housing associations and others will need to think creatively to get projects off the ground. Working in partnership with others and drawing on other subsidy programmes or capital pots to compliment the Green Deal may often yield more fruit.        

Housing in the Covenant of Mayors - Rekvere leads the way

Housing in the Covenant of Mayors - Rekvere leads the way

Rakvere (Estonia) is one of the signatories and is placing particular emphasis on energy efficiency in buildings: ”We are determined to become Estonia’s pioneer in that regard, championing our far-reaching vision of smart and efficient energy use” said Andres Jaadla, former Mayor of Rakvere.

Our Sustainable Energy Action Plan charts six main lines of action for the city, with the purpose of meeting the commitments taken with the Covenant of Mayors and we consider these as our long-term guiding principles. One of our utmost priorities is to change Rakvere’s heating system. Indeed, we would like to introduce district heating and replace fossil fuel use by bio fuels. Heat consumption is a crucial issue to address, energy efficiency needs to be encouraged and buildings ought to be properly renovated and insulated”.

To read the full interview, click here.

For more information on the Covenant of Mayors, visit the website: www.covenantofmayors.eu.

EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger at “Renovate Europe Day 2012”

EU Energy Commissioner Oettinger at “Renovate Europe Day 2012”

Günther H. Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy opened the “RENOVATE EUROPE DAY 2012” with a video address. “Energy efficiency is for the EU the most direct and cost-effective way to achieve our strategic goals” the commissioner said. “Despite the clear economic and social benefits of energy efficiency, Europe is only half way towards its 20% objective in 2020. To close the current gap, the European Commission is putting in place a comprehensive policy framework to support energy efficiency.[…]  With the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the newly agreed Energy Efficiency Directive, we are putting in place a broad range of measures that Member States can use to improve the efficiency of their energy use”.

The full text version is available here.

For more information on REday 2012, visit the website: www.renovate-europe.eu.

Natural Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

Natural Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

The NEES (Natural Energy Efficiency and Sustainability) Project, with the support of the European Commission’s Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) is launching its 2nd open Call for Best Practices for producers, manufacturers and service providers whose products and services enhance energy efficiency in buildings.

The competition is open to prospective Best Practice Producers and Service Providers who promote energy efficiency in building through the use of natural renewable or recycled products and services to support these.

Qualifying enterprises should be based or active within the EU Northern Periphery, and must complete a short Pre-Qualification Questionnaire on-line, and (if eligible) download a Full Questionnaire which should be completed and returned by e-mail before the deadline.

Submission are sought from enterprises producing or installing locally produced ‘natural’ products,  or providing services that improve the energy efficiency of new and existing domestic buildings.

The 2nd Call is open on-line from September 27th to December 6th of this year. Enterprises or practises must be based, or have significant operations, in the European Northern Periphery Programme area. This area includes the west coast of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Scandinavian countries and Greenland.  

Submissions made on the Questionnaire will be evaluated by an Expert Panel of seven recognised Experts from the different partner regions.

For further information, go to neesonline.org.

Power to the people - Energy Cooperatives at Co-operatives United

Power to the people - Energy Cooperatives at Co-operatives United

On the occasion of Co-operatives United, the culmination event of the International Year of Cooperatives, Cooperatives Europe organised a series of events on cooperatives and renewable energy in Manchester.

On November 2, CECODHAS Housing Europe took part in the three panel discussions on renewable energy cooperatives organised by Cooperatives Europe together with Rescoop.EU and The Co-operative Group. The discussion looked at the lack of information on setting up energy cooperatives and the best way to promote them.

Dirk Vansintjan shared the background of the REScoop 202020 project and encouraged any existing renewable energy cooperative to sign up on their website: www.rescoop.eu.

AFTER Project - Improving post-renovation maintenance and management

AFTER Project - Improving post-renovation maintenance and management

The AFTER Project aims to enable participating and non-participating Social Housing Institutions and Organizations all over Europe to improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock with cost optimal solutions. Its goal is to promote and develop existing European knowledge in the areas of energy saving strategies and encourage their implementation by companies in the housing sector.

Social Housing Organizations in 6 different countries (Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia) and their partners - including National Housing Associations, Scientific Committee and National Tenants Associations - are cooperating to highlight and evaluate the most efficient and adaptable energy saving measures.

During the first phase of the project AFTER partners have aggregated the different kinds of Energy Saving Measures and created a common framework for evaluating them and sharing information.

18 Pilot Sites have been identified by the participating Social Housing Organizations. According to the pilot energy saving measures (ESMs) implemented on this Pilot Sites, partners proposed some optimization suggestions in order to improve the efficiency of the measures and guarantee their performance.

For more information visit their website: afterproject.eu.

International Conference on "Energy Efficiency for Social Housing in the Mediterranean

International Conference on "Energy Efficiency for Social Housing in the Mediterranean

On the 9th of October in Málaga (Spain), the International Congress on "Energy Efficiency for Social Housing: challenges for sustainable urban building models in the Mediterranean" took place and was held in the Urban Environment Observatory (OMAU), within the framework of the European Project Elih-MED.

Featured members of the POWER HOUSE EUROPE Platform attended the conference: Sorcha Edwards (POWER HOUSE EUROPE Coordinator), Marco Corradi (Italian member of the Platform) and Begoña Serrano and Laura Soto (Spanish member of the Platform).

For more information, click on the link: http://shar.es/cdi6P.


Data Hub for the Energy Performance of Building:

BPIE launched the Data Hub for the Rnergy Performance of Building, an open data portal presenting facts and figures collected in the context of BPIE’s ‘Europe’s Buildings under the Microscope’ study released at the end of 2011. Search specific parameters generate overviews and graphs as well as screen the underlying data. The tool allows for cross-country comparisons and free downloads. Only the access to the original data requires prior registration. Suggestions for data updates and corrections will be possible through online forms. The data hub is available here.

BPIE Studies prepares the ground for nZEBs in Central and Eastern Europe:

(eceee-news 11 Dec 12) The Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) has developed roadmaps for Poland, Romania and Bulgaria which are hoped to help the country progress towards the implementation of nearly Zero-Energy Buildings and dramatically reduce the national level of energy consumption and related carbon emissions. BPIE recommends a holistic policy approach which can deliver on energy, climate and economic goals http://www.eceee.org/news/News_2012/2012-12-11c.

Structural Funds 2014-2020 and Energy Efficiency:

The new Structural Funds 2014-2020 can be the missing key to sustainable energy transition but only if integrated preparation with energy professionals takes place – find our more on that on the latest SF Energy Invest project Press Release available here: http://www.housingeurope.eu/www.housingeurope.eu/uploads/file_/SF%20EnergyInvest%20-%20press%20release.pdf.

Impact of Behaviour:

Behavioural changes in housing may lead to lower GHG emissions in the EU”, says a study published by the Commission and conducted by a consortium led by CE Delft comprising of Fraunhofer ISI and LEI.

The 36 options of changing behaviour analysed by the study have the potential to reduce non ETS sectors’ emissions of 25% by 2020. The report is available here.

Feed-in-Tariffs in the UK:

Renewable energy: getting the benefits right for social housing by Tessa Clark and Stuart Hay, is available as a free download at www.jrf.org.uk.

Studies and News on Fuel Poverty:

A UK Study has been released about the multiple benefits of investing in Energy Efficient Renovation.  It was commissioned by Consumer Focus and carried out by Verco and Cambridge Econometrics.  It shows that the UK could fully alleviate fuel poverty and increase revenue to the Exchequer http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/files/2012/11/Jobs-growth-and-warmer-homes-November-2012.pdf.

An example of proactive ways to reduce energy prices for consumers: Greater Manchester councils team up in 'bulk-buy' bid that could slash £200 a year off fuel bills: http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1592604_greater-manchester-councils-team-up-in-bulk-buy-bid-that-could-slash-200-a-year-off-fuel-bills.

Growing Problem of Non-payment of energy bills in France : Loyers, énergie : l'inquiétante hausse des impayés: http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2012/11/13/loyers-energie-l-inquietante-hausse-des-impayes_1789805_3224.html

Future rises in energy bills in Germany: Yearly bills are going up by €110 in Germany. Hunderte Stromversorger erhöhen Preise: http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/service/hunderte-stromversorger-erhoehen-preise-a-867482.html.

A clever way to campaign on fuel poverty in England – asking doctors to prescribe heating systems: http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/eco/gentoo-to-ask-doctors-to-help-fight-fuel-poverty/6524348.article.


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