• Ivana (Communic... profile
    Ivana (Communic...
    4 February 2019 - updated 2 months ago
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What is the specific problem?

In the EU, buildings are responsible for 40% of total energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions. More specifically, households are responsible for around 68% of the energy use in European buildings. Approximately 70% of the energy consumption in homes is used for heating water and spaces. The fact is that most houses require retrofitting to increase their energy efficiency. Additionally, it is estimated that 11% of Europe´s population suffer from energy (fuel) poverty. This a consequence of a combination of poor building quality, especially thermal efficiency, and the low incomes of their inhabitants.

The energy efficiency challenge is immensely significant. There are around 250 million homes in the EU which will need to be retrofitted to achieve the energy transition before 2050. This translates to an extraordinarily high rate of retrofits which need to be carried out each and every day. The retrofitting needs of these buildings include improving the insulation of the building envelope, renovating their heating and cooling installations and installing smart meters, and controls and management systems consistent with energy transition objectives. These can be undertaken in conjunction with addressing other structural issues and social objectives, such as the universal accessibility of energy.

This big challenge highlights the need to deliver large-scale retrofitting in cities, which are ideal to be accompanied by potential funding mechanisms. The creation and operation of ‘Deployment Desks’, which would function mainly as projects development units as well as providers of advice (for the municipalities and the property owners), offers a potential solution to this challenge. 

---> Deployment Desks are to be dedicated public offices, at the local or regional level, to impulse urban regeneration and energy retrofitting (mainly dwelling buildings but other typologies could be included in their targets). This is done by promoting retrofitting among property owners, as well as helping them with the process. Its functions would also require coordination between public administrations and the integration of private agents for a successful urban renewal process aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and other co-benefits. Helping property owners might include mediation to reach agreements (dwelling buildings with different property owners), advice on technical solutions, management of public subsidies, quality control of works, help to obtain favourable bank loans, etc.


Energy retrofitted building in Pamplona


What action is needed?

For Deployment Desks to be effective, they need to be created and operate at a local/regional level.  They need to be based in and led by public bodies, whereby professionals are hired with a range of different skills so that an integrated service is offered in order to facilitate the retrofitting of existing buildings and districts. Technical staff are required to have more than just technical skills, thus also possessing administrative, legal, social, and financial skills. This is due to the fact that one of the key challenges for home energy retrofit is weak or non-existent coordination between advice on technical and financial issues. Additionally, there is a need for social mediation when agreements are sought in collective housing or multi-family buildings and administrative support for paperwork to get grants and licenses.

Projects in Navarra, like Lourdes Renove (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MbUa-d8H1E), financed by EU Program CONCERTO, and  Efidistrict (https://www.efidistrict.eu/), financed by EU Program MLEI-PDA / CIP-IEE-2013, have been particularly useful for creating an organisational structure at the regional level. These have led to the integrated retrofitting of an entire neighbourhood and this can be considered to already function as a kind of Deployment Desk.

Other examples in Europe have focused on promoting housing energy retrofitting by providing integrated support solutions. These have sought to coordinate the relevant elements in order to make the home-owners’ retrofitting processes easier. Examples include Picardie Pass in France or One Stop Shops in Sweden. The for seeds developing these projects can be considered as very similar to the seeds required for the Deployment Desks, as they have different contexts but provide similar solutions.

When establishing Deployment Desks, the cities or regions also need to have Public Master Plans for Building Renovation. These allocate financial resources and establish management models that are delivered by the Deployment Desks. Such plans could initially focus on public buildings (dwellings) and also on districts with urgent regeneration needs. Later, they can also extend their activities, for instance, to impulse and project development of urban regeneration projects, or to privately owned buildings, such as communities of owners, which is the most common property model in Europe.

Considering the general social benefits of housing retrofitting, as well as its specific focus on energy efficiency improvements, one key activity is to ensure coordination between different policies and departments at a local and regional level. These include Housing, Climate Change and Energy Transition, Environment, Transport and Social


How to implement the action?

Short term (Year 1): The Action will develop a guidance document that will be delivered in the first semester. The guidance document will set out how to create, develop and operationalise the ‘Deployment Desk’ concept in cities and regions. This will include:

Identification of already existing structures which could be considered as Deployment Desks, and thereby study how they function (regional/local, public/private cooperation, allocation, retrofitting plans, etc.);Defining the contents of Public Master Plans for Building Renovation at a city or regional level;Identifying the types of training (for example technical, financial and engagement support) needed by the Deployment Desk teams and awareness-raising programs for households;Identifying the kind of partnerships and agreements, including innovative Public-Private-Partnerships, that will be necessarily made to support the successful activity of Deployment Desks. These are likely to include utilities, Energy Service Companies (ESCO), and financial bodies;During the second semester, this guidance document will be distributed among EU regional and local governments, through existing structures and networks in the EU related to energy transition and urban regeneration.

Future activities could include:

Medium term: Establishment of investment funds linked to energy efficiency and specifically for housing retrofitting and urban regeneration (regional level, local level);Searching for European and national funds to develop renovation plans;Promoting flexibility and adapting the urban regulations to make it feasible for energy retrofitting, allowing for the implementation of bioclimatic technical solutions;Increasing European, national and regional funds allocated to deep renovation and urban regeneration (including the acquisition of privately-owned housing buildings by public entities for their renovation and subsequent provision to the market as social housing);To get know-how and sharing best practices in terms of technical, financial, legal, regulatory and management solutions from the different Member States. This is in order to replicate good practices and increase, year by year, the number of residential buildings retrofitted. Completed projects which have included EU funding such as EU-GUGLE can provide recommendations and information on good practices (http://eu-gugle.eu/es/);Promoting technical assistance and information exchange among Deployment Desks by EU instruments such as TAIEX (https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/tenders/taiex_en) including workshops, expert missions and study visits.

Long term: Harmonising the application of the regulation and building codes, from European directives to municipal legislation;Continuing the allocation of funds to energy refurbishment and urban regeneration, as a way to drastically reduce CO2 emissions and to strengthen the economic sectors related to building and retrofitting;Continuing to search for and sharing best practices, as well as promoting technical assistance and information exchange. 


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