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Energy Cities is the European association of local authorities inventing their energy future supporting a.o. prestigious campaigns such as Engage and the Covenant of Mayors. Peter Schilken has reported about the value of effectively communicating energy efficiency as a tool to create demand and stimulate political engagement in this field.

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Significant and increasingly number of examples for new passive house and/or nearly zero energy buildings exists in several EU member states and will become European standard through systematic implementation of the EPBD. Therefore the URBACT programme should focus entirely on renovation of the building stock.

Lighthouse projects for building renovation can be find in almost all member states, however still few examples for large extended renovation on the district level exists.

Deep renovation can easily realize 60-70% energy savings! Aiming the passive house or the nearly zero energy standard requests high additional costs which can’t be recovered through energy savings.

Cities have to play a prominent role in the process, stimulating energy efficient renovation has to become a central part of the sustainable energy action plan (SEAP) of all cities committed to the Covenant of Mayor, not only related to their own (public) building stock but also in stimulating relevant stakeholders and citizens to act on their buildings.

Energy efficient renovation has a significant impact on the local economy. A recent evaluation of the City of Hannover’s Proklima fund for the year 2010 has shown that every Euro given as incentive to a grant applier has triggered (activated) an investment of almost 20 Euros by the building owner. It is the local economy who profits most of this investment.

Local authorities have to organize and manage the process through a local funding programme (it can become partly a revolving fund) which has to be fitted through the ERDF.

Communication has to become a focus of the SEAP too. Cities and stakeholders have to communicate with the building users and tenants, they has to make them aware that they can also contribute to the improvement of the building’s energy- (but also environmental- and water-) performance. Renovation actions have to be displayed in the building itself and success of the action has to be monitored. The Display Campaign is an excellent tool to communicate with the target group and to show the progress that has been made.