Energy retrofitting of family houses owned by citizens at risk of energy poverty
About this good practice
In 2020, the EPEEF, under the direction of the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction, and State Assets, published a first national call for financing energy retrofitting of single-family homes owned by citizens at risk of energy poverty. The call was part of the implementation of the national programme for energy retrofitting of single-family houses for the period from 2014-2020.
The main aim of the call was to increase the share of renovated buildings by providing financial and technical support to vulnerable citizens to reduce energy consumption, liberate homeowners from economic burden of renovation, and improve their living conditions, which correspond with goals of the Social Green project.
Stakeholders include the EPEEF as the implementation body, vulnerable citizens as beneficiaries, regional social welfare centres as main contact points to vulnerable citizens, and local energy efficiency experts responsible for technical assistance during preparation and implementation processes.
As the first of its kind, the call had goals to test: the scope of energy retrofitting measures, eligibility conditions, level of financial support, operations related to contacting and technical assistance, market conditions.
COVID-19 restrictions aggravated communication between social services and citizens and limited the direct engagement of EE experts with citizens. The EPEEF developed an IT solution to streamline the application process.
The call is financed and managed by the EPEEF. 4.3 mil. € was secured from auctions of emissions allowances for the 1st national call. All Croatian regional social welfare centres and at least the same number of EPC experts were involved as technical assistants in the application process.
Evidence of success
This was Croatia’s first call for energy retrofitting of single-family houses owned by citizens at risk of energy poverty. It is considered a pilot project within the framework of the national programme for energy retrofitting of single-family houses. In total, building envelopes and heating/cooling systems on 89 houses will be improved, reducing the energy consumption from 30 to 60%, leaving citizens more money to ease the burden of recent energy price hikes and COVID-19 related economic woes.
Potential for learning or transfer
Financially, almost all new EU MS countries could explore options of using revenues from ETS credits to mitigate energy poverty. As CO2 prices increase, financial resources for such policy instruments can also increase, leading to more energy retrofitting projects. The call also emphasises greater flexibility with retrofitting conditions. Financing individual retrofitting measures instead of extensive retrofitting is more attractive due to less investment burden and better results.
Another learning opportunity comes from the decentralisation of funds and operations, which leads to a greater reliance on local/regional stakeholders which will bring better results.
Finally, regarding COVID-19, the level of digitalisation in many segments such as energy retrofitting, is low, especially with less affluent populations, and this prevents or hinders action. From this pilot call, we can learn that a more personal approach is needed to engage with the population.