The first step of the analysis involved a review of existing policies and programmes. In order to be selected, best practices had to be aimed at influencing the mainstream of buildings, and be well documented with a clearly identifiable mode of operation; having been shown to have a good impact on the market and on reducing targeted barriers. In general, there seems to be insufficient attention for analysing and addressing key barriers in programmes. There is also very little reliable information about the impact of policies, and very few include a monitoring programme. Another observation is that organisational support warrants more attention in policies and programmes. Few policies include organisational support programmes, but when they are applied, it is often to good effect.
Next, the strengths and weaknesses of best practice programmes were described. The analysis concluded that regulatory policy instruments may produce particular policy outcomes if weaknesses like compliance and legitimacy are mitigated, if the behaviour of occupants does not create rebound effects, and if the dilemma of low-income households is addressed. Economic instruments providing incentives for energy-efficient improvements are needed to promote energy efficiency through market-led measures and price signals, and more targeted policy measures should be aimed at specific dilemmas, like the capture of benefits in the residential sector. Communication and organisational instruments are clearly supporting
tools, but necessary to address knowledge and implementation barriers. An interesting approach, not listed in the previous sections but very relevant nevertheless, is the work of the Danish Electricity-Saving Trust (see fact sheet no 28). This trust promotes electricity savings with a combination of various instruments from a single budget, which is an approach that could also be applied to building energy efficiency.
As a further step in the analysis, prototype instruments (core mode of operation of a programme, applied similarly in different contexts, but always adapted to circumstances) were presented according to the typology of policy instruments and the application area. This part of the analysis prepared the
ground for the next phase of the study, describing successful means of endorsing building energy efficiency improvements, if the barrier addressed by a given prototype instrument was relevant in a particular country or segment of the market.
The analysis was concluded with an inventory of the main barriers in various sectors of the building market (taking into account building types and tenure) and recommendations for promising policy instruments, based on the analysis of prototypes, strengths and weaknesses of best practices and the results of an expert workshop.
As each prototype instrument has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the programme needs to address more than one barrier at the same time (for example, simultaneously addressing the lack of upfront money, knowledge and obligations), a combination of instruments is required in each setting. There are also considerable differences inside a sector or tenure that call for the use of combined instruments or even differentiated policies; for instance, for policies based on energy prices, there are two main problem groups: high income households or building owners who do not have to react to price signals, and low income households who cannot afford to respond to them. Regulations can be imposed on the former, while the latter need financial incentives. Commercial owners and landlords are very reactive to market signals and
public building owners can be made to meet more stringent requirements than the private sector.
The analysis of sectors, tenure and regions resulted in a suggestion for different policy packages for different setting: What can work together to address a specific setting? The results indicate that one or two coherent packages can be formulated for each sector and tenure. The packages are a combination of two or three prototype instruments, which address the key barriers in that particular sector and tenure situation and are based on best practices. Between sectors and tenure, there are both overlaps and differences in packages, which are explained by the similarities and differences in key barriers. Regional differences appear to be of less importance, although the practical set-up of a policy or programme, like a preferential loan scheme or organisational support, will differ between parts of Europe.
The European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is a key policy instrument to further energy efficiency in buildings. The EPBD energy certificates requirement offers great scope for combination with other policy instruments. The requirement alone may have a limited impact on building energy efficiency improvements, as it targets only (a part of ) the knowledge barrier, but it can be combined with instruments
that target other barriers, to create a strong policy package. For example, preferential loans could be combined with EPBD energy certificates, and improvement by one or two certificate levels (similar to the A to G classes for household appliances) could constitute a prerequisite for a fiscal incentive.
Despite initiatives like the EPBD, broad variation among, and sometimes within, Member States complicates the implementation of a uniform policy for energy efficiency in housing stock. Uniform requirements for EU building stock are unable to address variations in energy-saving potential, while uniform policies cannot fully respond to differences in purchasing power, structural and organisational matters or the perceptions of building owners. Most programmes require national or local implementation, to address the local context and create proximity to the target group. Indeed, many successful programmes are characterised by a local presence, and work closely with the building owners, who are the subjects of the approach. However, if responsibility is delegated to local governments, they must be guaranteed sufficient resources, funding and multi-disciplinary knowledge to accomplish the tasks entrusted to them.
It has been observed that many policies and programmes lack sufficient foundation in a barrier analysis, and have no clear focus on the instruments needed to support building owners in their efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their properties. National and local parties implementing policies and programmes should place greater emphasis on this, as part of a European effort to capitalise on the considerable energy-saving potential in buildings. The European dimension in this area should involve setting strategic objectives, which oblige and support implementing parties to analyse and address barriers, and monitor the results. The EU also has a considerable role to play in transferring knowledge (e.g. with regard to European best practices).
An interesting perspective, for the longer term, that merits further investigation might be combining building regulation standards with EPBD energy certificate levels. The adoption of this approach would imply that a dwelling could not be sold or let unless its thermal performance were upgraded to an acceptable minimum level for each type of building and tenure. In the rental sector, property owners could be obliged to meet minimum energy performance standards. Such a requirement could be introduced in the course of
a market transformation strategy, designed to gradually improve the energy efficiency of building stock. Economic incentives will probably be needed, however, to ensure that low-income households can meet the demands, and that the right to adequate housing is not jeopardised.
The analysis and recommended policy packages presented in this report are the result of a quick scan based on a number of successful programmes, focusing in particular on the main characteristics and key barriers identified in the building sector. Further in-depth analysis of the selected best practice programmes may provide greater insight into effective and targeted policy packages. European efforts are needed to disseminate and discuss the results of this quick scan, and to assist policy makers in describing and
understanding the particular situation and specific barriers in the sector they are responsible for. This will increase the level of attention to good policy programmes and enhance the impact of the European building energy efficiency strategy.