50-year payback on EU-funded retrofits

16th January 2013


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Management/saving ,
  • EU ,
  • Public sector ,
  • Central government

Author

IEMA

Billions of Euros aimed at helping member states improve energy-efficiency are being spent on uneconomical refurbishment of public buildings, warn auditors

In a report examining energy-efficiency programmes co-funded by the EU, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) concluded that member states were failing to consider payback times or whether energy-saving measures were cost effective when investing in retrofitting public buildings. It found that the average payback time for projects was 50 years.

It also claimed that the need to refurbish buildings was generally seen as “a more important consideration” than energy efficiency in projects, resulting in just 10%–20% of support earmarked for energy-saving directly funding such measures.

The ECA looked at energy saving programmes and projects in the Czech Republic, Italy and Lithaunia, which received more than 41% of the €5 billion available for energy-efficiency during 2007–2013 under EU “cohesion policies” (the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund).

The auditors found that the member states examined did not have the baseline data they needed to make informed decisions as to which sectors held the most cost-effective opportunities for cutting energy consumption, and that none of programmes considered cost-effectiveness as a determining factor in allocating funds.

The report also argues that the member states had inadequate energy auditing and monitoring programmes, revealing that in 18 of the 24 projects examined energy savings could not be verified due to a lack of reliable data.

“Energy efficiency is the cheapest way to reach the EU’s goal of a 20% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2020, that’s why we should only invest in energy saving measures and not in others like refurbishment or renovation,” said Harald Wögerbauer, co-author of the report.

The ECA recommends that the European Commission set maximum acceptable payback periods for projects; require national governments to collect data on energy savings from EU-funded programmes; and ensure that member states examine the energy needs of their entire economy and cost-effective solutions for each sector.

Responding to the ECA’s findings, the commission argued that the funds were not solely aimed at energy efficiency improvements and that projects should be considered as “leading to the overall improvement of a particular building”.

It did, however, acknowledge that the commission is working to improve the performance of programmes, including proposing new monitoring indicators for all member states in the next funding period (2014–2020). Under the proposals, national governments would have to report the number of households that had improved energy consumption; the decrease in primary energy consumption of public buildings; and the number of additional energy users connected to smart grids.

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

Fifth of UK food firms unprepared for deforestation regulation

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Dr Julie Riggs issues a call to arms to tackle a modern-day human tragedy

15th March 2024

Read more

The UK’s new biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirements could create 15,000 hectares of woodlands, heath, grasslands, and wetlands and absorb 650,000 tonnes of carbon each year.

13th March 2024

Read more

Campaign group Wild Justice has accused the UK government of trying to relax pollution rules for housebuilders “through the backdoor”.

14th February 2024

Read more

Digital tracking, packaging data delays and new collections provide a waste focus for this edition’s environmental round-up by legislation expert Neil Howe

28th November 2023

Read more

Environmental crimes could result in prison sentences of up to 10 years and company fines of 5% of turnover under a proposed EU law agreed by the European parliament and council.

21st November 2023

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close