How well has EU Cohesion Policy supported energy efficiency in buildings?

Buildings are responsible for around 40 per cent of the European Union’s final energy consumption and approximately 36 per cent of the EU’s CO2 emissions. The EU has set a target of reducing energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2020; improving the energy efficiency of buildings plays a key role in achieving this target and forms one of the cornerstones of the EU’s climate and energy policy.

The EU’s regional policy is the main investment policy to support growth in Europe. It is delivered through structural and investment funds of which two, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF), were able to support energy efficiency in buildings in the 2007-2013 programming period. Over the period, the total allocations of ERDF/CF investment amounted to €269.6 billion across EU-27 with around €3.4 billion allocated to support energy efficiency in public and residential buildings.

IEEP, together with Danish consultancy Ramboll, has evaluated these investments in energy efficiency for the European Commission; identifying and analysing the rationale for support, types of interventions, and early evidence of results. The evaluation includes, for comparison, a review of national spending on energy efficiency in buildings in EU Member States. The report includes some rich statistical data on energy efficiency investment and provides operational details of the interventions in six case studies (the UK, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Greece, and Slovenia-Italy).

We identified a set of policy implications, bringing together the main ‘lessons learnt’ and offering recommendations on how future ERDF/CF support to energy efficiency in buildings can be improved, in particular by developing clearer and more specific rationales for intervention, maximizing the benefits delivered by the interventions, and better measurement of benefits.

The report and its annexes are available on the European Commission’s website.

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