The European Union needs to significantly increase its building renovation rates if it is to reach its 2050 target for complete decarbonisation of its building stock. The problem is that achieving these goals will require significant investment. Building owners are often reluctant to invest in building interventions though, being uncertain of the potential risks and returns, or having difficulty in accessing finance.

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) requires Member States to devise long-term renovation strategies, including considerations of access to finance. It specifically references the need for member states to look into project aggregation, reducing perception of investment risk, using public funding to leverage private investment, guiding investments using statistics, and providing advisory services, as essential interventions. 

To this end, the Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (EASME) has launched calls for projects under Horizon 2020 to support investment in sustainable energy. Four topics are particularly relevant for regional authorities, each with a deadline of 3 September 2019:

  • Integrated home renovation services (LC-SC3-EE-2-2018-2019) – Project promoters, including public authorities, often lack the skill and capacity to set-up and manage building projects. Funding under this topic aims to create or replicate innovative local or regional integrated home renovation services (‘one stop shops’). The service should cover technical and social diagnosis, technical offer, contracting of works, structuring and provision of finance, monitoring of works and quality assurance. Projects should have budgets of €500,000-€1.5million, and the call has a total budget of €10million, meaning up to 20 projects could be funded.
  • Aggregation - Project Development Assistance (LC-SC3-EE-11-2018-2019-2020) – This topic aims to develop technical assistance and build the technical, economic and legal expertise needed to develop sizable projects. It focuses on small and medium-sized energy investments of €7.5-50million (larger investments are covered by the ELENA facility). The topic has a total budget of €6million, with projects expected to have budgets of €500,000-€1.5million (maximum 12 projects to be funded).
  • Innovative financing for energy efficiency investments (LC-SC3-EE-9-2018-2019) – Innovative schemes are needed to mobilise private investment, leveraged by public funds. This topic calls for projects to develop or replicate innovative financing schemes for energy efficiency investments, including guarantee facilities, citizen financing and on-bill financing schemes. It provides €4million total for project budgets of €1-1.5million.
  • Mainstreaming energy efficiency finance (LC-SC3-EE-10-2018-2019-2020) – This topic seeks to improve the attractiveness of energy efficiency investments through the development of standardisation and benchmarking of investments (e.g. labelling, project rating methodologies, and risk assessment tools), capacity building for banks and investors, and gathering, processing and disclosing data on the performance of energy efficiency investments. €6million are available for projects of €1-1.5 million. 

More information and support for applicants is available at the EASME website.

You can find out more about how Interreg Europe is supporting new financial instruments in the Policy Brief, ‘Funding energy efficiency through financial instruments’.