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Expanding biomass and solar heating in public and private buildings via the energy services approach (BIO-SOL-ESCO)

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Energy service companies (ESCos) can help the uptake of biomass and solar heat projects in larger buildings. At present this type of renewable ESCo is rare in some EU countries and the project seeked to change this by analysing and demonstrating solutions to non-technical difficulties faced by developers. Existing examples were studied to enable detailed understanding of their approaches and operation. An up-to-date, comprehensive review of the at-the-time status of ESCos was produced to bring knowledge on these approaches including the similarities, success or lack of success and numbers. Detailed data were collected and analysed on ESCo investment models, financial performance, organisation structure and contracts. Partners from eight Member States participated - Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Finland, Italy and UK. Work was undertaken to establish exemplar ESCo schemes within these eight EU Member States.


  • Feasibility studies for potential ESCo projects were conducted and published. These may serve the general public as an example of feasibility studies, what background information is needed and what are the parameters used in assessing ESCo operations. It also addresses technical issues
  • A number of publications have been printed and/or published on the project website. The publications deal with different aspects of the ESCo sector and are informative and easy to read
  • A set of contracts have been published as an example of what kind of things should be taken into account when engaging in ESCo and heat supply contracts. The contracts have been translated into EU languages and are freely available
  • The majority of biomass and/or solar ESCo operations in EU27 and Croatia are in the database. Information on the different ESCo structures and financing schemes in EU27 and Croatia are published in the Synthesis report
  • An ESCo tool as an excel sheet is available for initial assessment of profitability. The ESCo tool has been designed keeping in mind the end user, which might not be familiar to the ESCo concept and it also includes a user manual

Lessons learned

  • When engaging in activities dealing with public administration sufficient time should be allowed for the processes. The decision making in public administration takes time and cannot be rushed due to bureucratic reasons. This should be taken into account in designing ESCo operations as well as in designing research projects with public involvement
  • There is not enough knowledge about ESCos in Europe and this slows the uptake of biomass and/or solar ESCos. If the ESCo concept was better known clients, ESCos and financers would have better chances of working together and would easier find each other
  • Europe is slow to address the issue of using more renewables and in using ESCos as part of the solution for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. In some countries the companies and the governments respond quicker to the need for reducing GHG’s. Europe is still lacking the innovativeness and the quick decision making processes for taking the ESCo concept further

Partners and coordinator

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North Karelia University of Applied Sciences
Contact point: 
Ms. Kaija Saramäki
+358 50 441 2853


Key documents

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In brief

01/07/2008 to 30/06/2011
Contract number: 

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