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Webinar Recap: Funding Options for Energy-Efficient Building Renovations Across Europe


Energy renovation can be very expensive. Incentives and Funding to renovate underperforming buildings are crucial for achieving a decarbonized building stock in all EU countries. These incentives can take the form of obligations, such as phasing out fossil-fueled boilers, or financial support in the form of funding programs, tax reductions, subsidies for individual renovation roadmaps, or mandatory and subsidized energy efficiency advice. These funding schemes can influence investment decisions and motivate people to invest in the energy efficiency of their buildings.

The revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive emphasizes the importance of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) as tools not only to express the measured energy efficiency grade of a building but also as a marketing tool for citizens to demonstrate the value of their properties.


Rui Fragoso, Head of Buildings and Efficiency of Resources at ADENE, Portugal's National Energy Agency, Jana Lange, Expert for Energy Efficiency and Heating in Buildings at the Franco-German Office for Energy Transition (OFATE), Nicole Hartl, Senior Expert at the Centre for Climate Neutral Buildings & Neighbourhoods at the Austrian Energy Agency

    Webinar Recap

    This webinar delved into funding schemes for energy-efficient building renovations and the significance of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in accessing these subsidies. Rui Fragoso began with a presentation underscoring the pivotal role of EPCs in guiding policy-making and facilitating renovation efforts. He emphasized their importance in Portugal's support programs and the forthcoming EPBD changes.The panel discussion featuried Rui Fragoso, Jana Lange, and Nicole Hartl, providing insights into financing programs across four European countries. They highlighted the integration of funding programs with regulatory frameworks, information dissemination, and training initiatives. In closing, panelists offered recommendations for countries without funding programs, emphasizing simplicity, alignment with building needs, long-term planning, and streamlined processes.

      This online event started with a presentation by Rui Fragoso, in which he addressed the crucial role of energy performance certificates in supporting policy-making, promoting renovation efforts and supporting stakeholders. "Gaining insight into the building stock has been key to creating tools to facilitate its improvement," said Rui Fragoso, who has been following and influencing the development of EPCs at both national and European levels for many years.

      He outlined the important role played by EPCs in Portugal in support programmes, as well as in the CASA+ one-stop-shop, before concluding with some news on EPCs in the forthcoming EPBD. He also highlighted the important role of financial institutions in providing the capital needed to successfully meet the challenge of energy efficient building renovation.

      Following the presentation, during the panel discussion, Mr Fragoso discussed with Jana Lange, and Nicole Hartl the current national funding landscape drivers of energy efficient renovations and the role of EPCs. This discussion gave us a good overview of the specificities of financing programmes for energy renovation in these 4 European countries.

      The three speakers agreed that funding programmes do not exist in isolation, but are intertwined with other instruments such as regulatory frameworks, information centres, specialised training and effective communication strategies. Funding programmes are mostly similar across Europe. They focus mainly on insulation, replacement of windows and doors, and optimisation of heating systems, as in France and Germany. "France prioritises deep renovation programmes and gives considerable importance to social aspects in the support programmes.  In Germany, on the other hand, social aspects have only recently been taken into account in the design of the new support programme for heating systems, e.g. by granting an additional bonus for low-income households," says Jana Lange.

      Another special feature in Germany is the possibility of receiving funding for the cost of materials if homeowners carry out the energy renovation work themselves. In France, do-it-yourself energy renovation projects are supported by several agencies. Energy advisors work closely with homeowners to provide helpful advice. This can be a very effective solution, especially in that part of the renovation market where there is a shortage of skilled craft.

        Nicole Hartl highlighted the need for better communication between energy advisors, architects and building owners regarding thermal refurbishment. This includes discussing the benefits of retrofitting, the work involved and the future benefits. She emphasised the absolute need for long-term funding programmes to enable work to be planned. One-year funding programmes are too short for businesses or apartment blocks. Planning energy renovation work takes time, especially for multi-family houses, but also financial guarantees, which are not guaranteed when subsidy programmes change regularly. Mr Fragoso made the same observation for  Portugal: "Subsidy programmes have a lot of stop-and-go, and this makes work planning very difficult, even for professionals".

        In the discussions,  the role of EPCs in the funding system were also explored. EPCs are an integral part of the Portuguese funding system. The challenge in Portugal, which revised the EPCs a few years ago (to make them more attractive, more consumer-oriented and less technical), is to get people to read them, Rui Fragoso mentioned. Most EPC owners do not read them. In Austria, an EPC or Energy Performance Certificate is required to obtain funding, making it a  fundamental tool in a building renovation journey. Ms Hartl emphasised that even if an EPC is not mandatory to receive funding, the role of EPC issuers (and estate agents) is key to the EPC as they are often in direct contact with property owners. They would be in a position to explain the EPC and possible renovation measures.

        In the same time, in France, EPCs play a secondary role, except for deep renovation, Ms Lange added. In the meantime, Germany has already introduced renovation roadmaps, which allow people to get a 5% bonus when they apply for a subsidy for carrying out the recommended renovation measures.

        Portugal and Austria noted that the nature of the funding applications submitted in most cases, consist of individual renovation measures or changes to the heating system, thus deep renovation plays only a secondary role.

        Funding programmes for renovation measures for inefficient housing is not necessarily available in every EU country. Participants and the webinar experts key advice for policy-makers for these countries, based on their insights and experiences are to:

        • Keep it as simple as possible.
        • Give assessment of the current building needs high priority and design the funding schemes according to these building needs.
        • Plan a long-term funding scheme and design quick and easy administrative processes.