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Cost Efficient Options and Financing Mechanisms for nearly Zero Energy Renovation of existing Buildings Stock (CERtuS)

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Southern European countries undergo a severe economic crisis. This hinders the compliance to the latest Energy Efficiency Directive, demanding strict energy efficiency measures for the public sector. Investments required to renovate public buildings and achieve nearly zero energy consumption have long payback times. So the interest of financing entities and ESCOs is small, especially when banks have limited resources. Many of the municipal buildings in Southern Europe require deep renovations to become nZEB and this should not be regarded as a threat but rather as an opportunity for the energy service and the financing sector.The objective of the proposed action is to help stakeholders gain confidence in such investments and initiate the growth of this energy service sector. Municipalities, energy service companies and financing entities in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal are involved in this project. The plan is to produce representative deep renovation projects that will act as models for replication. Twelve buildings in four municipalities in each country have been selected. The partners will adapt existing energy service models and procedures and will work out financing schemes suitable for the 12 projects.


  1. Twelve deep renovation schemes fully substantiated technically and economically for Messina (Italy), Alimos (Greece), Coimbra (Portugal), Errenteria (Spain).  It is expected that deep renovations will yield 75% to 80% energy performance improvement.
  2. Energy Service models suitable for each Municipality.
  3. Feasible financing schemes.
  4. Four workshop in all participant Southern European countries following by four training courses for capacity buildings to triggering the uptake of the nZEB renovations in Municipalities.
  5. A web tool to facilitate the preparation pf implementation schemes regarding nZEB renovation in Municipality buildings.

Lessons learned

  1. Financial barriers are considered by the stakeholders as the main barrier for nZEB renovations.This fact is worsened by the lack of willingness and political decision and the shortage of public funds.The promulgation of ambitious energy plan, and accompanied by a suitable tax policy, is seen necessary to boost energetic renovation.
  2. The lack of knowledge about the retrofitting technologies (especially the innovative ones) and the unclear energetic policies has been identified, from the technical point of view as the main barrier. Moreover, this lack of knowledge is supported by the absence of credible data related to savings, maintenance costs or complexity of the installation.
  3. Financial unsustainability, subject to market conditions, is mainly due to several factors, as:
    1. technological solutions, currently available in the market, are quite expensive if compared to savings with a negative impact on project’s economic and financial sustainability;
    2. the cost of interventions with medium  and long term payback time;
    3. the additional cost of special constructions or systems, compared with conventional, which are required for listed buildings;
    4. energy efficiency interventions may improve the ability of Public Authority to identify appropriate maintenance frequency compared with the initial situation with an increase of maintenance annual costs entirely sustained by the ESCO;
    5. the relevant VAT paid for the project and, in particular, that part which is not covered by VAT facilities.

Partners and coordinator

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ENEA, Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, L'energia e l'Ambiente
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In brief

01/03/2014 to 31/08/2016
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