Analysis: Consolidating the INTERREG IVC energy efficiency projects

This chapter begins with an overview of the 12 energy efficiency projects which have been selected for analysis. This is intended to show what each of the projects are aiming to achieve and what they are about. The chapter then moves on to discuss the common features and innovative aspects of the projects. Issues where the projects could potentially learn from each other are also discussed. The chapter ends with a detailed description of ten interesting and innovative good practices in energy efficiency that the projects have identified.

1. Overview of the INTERREG IVC Energy Efficiency Projects

Among the 204 INTERREG IVC projects, there are 12 projects with a clear energy efficiency focus, which have been selected for analysis. These projects include 122 partners and will receive in total some 17.8m EUR of funding. Three of the projects have recently been completed, two will finish in 2013, but the remaining seven started in 2012, so are at a relatively early stage in their development.

It is important to point out that there are many other INTERREG IVC projects in the other themes of this capitalisation exercise where energy efficiency is of very high importance, particularly in those related to climate change, renewable energy, eco-innovation and transport. The fact that energy efficiency overlaps with these other themes illustrates its importance and its cross-cutting and cross-sectoral nature. These crossovers represent the reality and need to be recognised and respected, for example:

  • Climate change – there are opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of buildings at the same time as they are refurbished (or initially constructed) to better deal with the implications of climate change. The system of emissions trading is arguably a combination of energy efficiency and climate change policy goals.
  • Renewable energy – the zero or low-carbon approach to energy use is only possible through a combination of energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. This reflects the need to minimise energy use before seeking to provide it from a renewable source.
  • Innovation – has a clear overlap with many eco-innovation projects (as resource efficiency usually implies energy efficiency), but also has energy benefits that often come from other technical advances.
  • Transport - there are major energy savings to be made from the modal shifts encouraged through sustainable transport projects.
  • The table below lists and summarises the 12 projects selected for more detailed analysis.
    • Table 3.1 Overview of the 12 INTERREG IVC projects selected for energy efficiency
      ProjectDescriptionStart – End Partners and LP Country


      European networks, experience and recommendations helping cities and citizens to become Energy Efficient

      Provide Information on energy efficiency to citizens. Explores ways on how citizens can get involved. Includes sustainable transport, the implementation of European directives, climatic planning tools

      Outputs include: Training for local authorities, study visits and training sessions.

      2010 - 2013




      Low-Carbon Economy Regions

      New Climate, New Energy and New Leadership

      Themes for the conferences

      5 sub themes: Renewables, Carbon Capture and Carbon Sinks, Procurement Practices, Low Carbon Territorial Planning, Empowerment.

      Conference, Site Visits, Workshop on 'Building Low Carbon Regions' The sub-projects started in 2011.

      2010 – 2013




      Public Lighting Strategies for Sustainable Urban Spaces

      Cities develop their lighting policies. Stimulate the development, testing and use of sustainable lighting by offering public spaces as test beds. Contribute to public lighting strategies and implementation plans for each partner city. Aims to increase awareness of the benefits among policymakers

      Every partner city identifies its good practices. And then determines its successes and shortcomings, compared to other partners' experiences.

      Includes a set of recommendations to improve public lighting strategies.

      2010 – 2012




      Cooperating 2 Foster Renewables and Energy Efficiency

      Aims to translate good practice on energy issues in regional Action Plans (APs) into the Operational Programmes (OPs) of the EU SF (Obj 1 and 2 OPs). Good practice examples in Bioenergy, Green ICT, ICT control mechanisms, wood-burning systems, Non-Food Use of Crops and Wind Turbine Training programmes, e-mobility, renewable energy sources (intelligent, ICT based control system), Sustainable Development of Enterprises, a Research Institute for Renewable Energies (RIRE).

      2010 – 2012



      EU 2020 going local

      From detached Lisbon and Gothenburg Strategies to a regionalised indigenous EU 2020

      Focuses on the transfer of good practices, leading to regional Action plans. The Summary contains 42 Good Practice Examples from 10 partner regions. Thematic areas: Local/regional climate impact and Sustainable management control system, Renewable energy and waste to energy, Energy efficiency measures, and Sustainable public transport and non-motorised transport. Communication targeted at stakeholders, including politicians.

      2010 – 2012




      Integrated Measures for an Energy Efficiency Approach

      Aims to support local and regional authorities in improving the energy efficiency of the built environment. Focus on Eastern Europe.

      1. Tackling cognitive barriers,
      2. Tackling economic barriers,
      3. Developing change strategies and implementation plans
      4. To disseminate good practices to all public authorities in the EU and to facilitate exchange via a learning platform.

      2012 – 2014




      Surpassing Energy Targets through Efficient Public Buildings

      Promotes energy efficiency in publicly owned or managed buildings through improved public policies. Addresses public policy making from the top down (policy makers) and the bottom up (citizen involvement).

      Aims to promote theoretical understanding and practical application of energy efficiency initiatives,
      • to provide information to and raise awareness among policy makers and citizens,
      • to promote responsible energy consumption among public building users,
      • to foster proactive involvement of local stakeholders in public policy,
      • to enhance energy performance of publicly owned/managed buildings through the development of a manual which includes practical advice for policy makers and citizens.

      2012 – 2014




      Improving Communities' Sustainable Energy Policy Tools

      Aims to foster local level policies supporting energy efficiency and energy self-sufficiency derived from national/regional policies.
      • Exchange and transfer of policy practices and a comprehensive interregional policy guide
      • To support by identifying adequate financing possibilities
      • elaboration of specific implementation plans
      • Networking and interregional capacity building of local authorities’ staff in
      • Fostering subsidiarity

      8 policy good practices resulting in 3 thematic policy practice guides.

      2012 - 2014




      Low Energy Cities

      Focuses on knowledge exchange - enable cities to review and assess their own transition strategy and to elaborate Local Energy Roadmaps 2050 via the engagement of local stakeholders around local authorities (LAs). The outputs of this will then be integrated into the LA’s policies and action plans.

      2012 – 2014




      Regional Strategies for Energy Conscious Communities

      Aims to improve effectiveness of local/regional sustainable energy policies/strategies by
      (1) Demonstrating the relevance of a take local needs, into account,
      (2) emphasising the crucial role of the energy business
      (3) emphasising the role of local/regional governance bodies.

      3 Case Studies and Energy Labs (a new platform concept for dialogue and cooperation between experts, producers/suppliers and end-users).

      2012 – 2014




      Green IT Network Europe

      Aims to assess actions and analyse policies on Green IT. Cooperation and exchange of experience to pool resources and expertise.

      To develop a systematic Green IT policy framework and select a number of good practises and effective policies.

      2012 – 2014




      REgional policies towards GREEN buildings

      Focuses on the building sector. Aims to help regions in improving, developing and implementing green building policies - energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies. Green public procurement.

      Includes the exchange of experiences, to identify and transfer good practices and develop new policy tools. Study visits complemented with interregional workshops. Implementation plans will be carried out by local/regional public authorities with the support of self-assessment reports and good practice guides.

      2012 – 2014



      Source: Ecorys/Triple E Consulting on basis of Application Forms

2. Common issues, solutions, challenges and difficulties

The project representatives were asked to indicate which barriers and / or drivers they feel their projects contribute to overcoming or promoting. This followed a presentation of the drivers and barriers, as described in section 2 of this report.

In the tables presented below, the most striking point is the number of barriers and drivers that each project feels it addresses. This is a clear indication of the cross-cutting nature of energy efficiency and the way in which single projects need to be aware of all the relevant issues in order to encourage and bring about change.

When these issues were discussed with the projects, there were some interesting points raised about awareness and engagement. With regard to awareness among local politicians, it was agreed that energy efficiency is not a subject that they are usually interested in, but that their interest and commitment is very useful (if not vital) in getting projects implemented. Popular ways of raising their interest included linking energy efficiency with business opportunities and revenue savings. However, the point was raised that, while this may be true, the environmental reasons for pursuing energy efficiency should not be forgotten, even if some politicians may be sceptical, as some projects are much harder to justify on financial grounds and these projects may get excluded if financial benefit is the only factor considered in approving them.

It would appear that the level of interest among the public and politicians in environmental issues may dwindle when the economy goes through a downturn. This makes motivating them to support energy efficiency solely because of its environmental benefits more difficult. The financial and economic motivations mentioned above help to counter this, but it could also be argued that reminding the public and politicians of environmental issues becomes even more important during less successful economic periods because, without this reminder, behaviours may either slip back or not improve.

Table 3.2 Overview of projects according to which barriers they think they help overcome and drivers they help to promote
Key Energy Efficiency driversNo.Projects
• Reduction in greenhouse gas and other emissions
• Utilisation of waste / underutilised streams
• Regulatory compliance with EU/ MS legislation and targets
• Reduction in operating cost
• Improvement in energy supply security
• Government/utility incentives/rebates
• Business opportunity
11EnercitEE, IMEA, RENERGY, Co2Free, Regree, SERPENTE, GreenGrowth, IMAGINE, Green IT NET, EU2020 going local, LoCaRe
Political and Social
• Progress against EU/ MS legislation and targets
• Attracting, retaining of employees
• Enhanced brand or public image
• Fuel affordability and quality of life
4EnercitEE, GreenIT Net, RENERGY
Key Energy Efficiency Barriers 
• Access to finance
• Capital cost – payback
• Competing financial priorities
• Price signals - lack of internalisation of external costs
Institutional and Administrative
• Market failures – market structure, administrative and regulatory complexity and enforcement, equipment availability
• Policy (local, regional, MS, EU) slow process
Information and Awareness
• Consumer awareness
• Professional and political awareness (and skills) Political focus & knowledge
•  Linkage between the technical possibilities and political decision
• Separate expenditure and benefit (landlord/tenant)
• Inertia (tradition / lifestyle)
3EnercitEE, SERPENTE, Green IT Net

Source: Ecorys / Triple E Consulting

The following figure shows the distribution of the drivers and barriers that the projects feel they are addressing. The most commonly addressed barrier or driver relates to the economic benefits that energy efficiency can bring. This confirms that saving money remains the best way of interesting consumers in energy efficiency. The next most popular addresses information and awareness barriers. This reflects both the importance of this barrier and the suitability of the INTERREG IVC programme for sharing and promoting best practice. The least common barrier or driver refers to the political desire to achieve progress in energy efficiency. This reflects the fact that this is an issue of much more interest to European and member state level policymakers, who are not among the project leaders or partners.

Figure 1: Drivers promoted and Barriers addressed by the 12 Energy Efficiency Projects

To help gain additional insight into the focus of each project, table 3.3 shows our analysis of the projects’ strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities.

The table shows that:

  • 8 of the 12 projects build on strengths, especially:
    • the energy related resources and skills in the region.
  • 11 projects aim to remediate the energy efficiency weaknesses of the partners, especially:
    • the need to adapt energy efficiency polices to the local level (10);
    • the need to engage local citizens in policy development and action (6)
    • the need to involve all levels of local governance in policies and decisions in this area (5);
    • the need to develop local authority skills and awareness (7);
    • the need to develop trust in new technologies (4).
  • All (12) projects take advantage of new developments, market opportunities and technologies:
    • the opportunities of new technology (3);
    • funding opportunities (5)
    • policy synergies (12) – reflecting the cross-cutting nature of energy efficiency.
  • All (12) of the projects recognise the threat of CO2 and energy pollution. With half also recognising (and including) the role of renewable energy.
Table 3.3. Overview of the energy efficiency projects’ strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities

When we link this with the confrontation matrix below, we can conclude that two of the projects (Europe 2020 and EnercitEE) can be seen as ‘offensive’, in that their clearest justification lies in making the most of existing strengths, while all of the others focus on addressing weaknesses and threats or making the most of opportunities. Some of the opportunities and threats are very closely linked, with the decision as to which category the issue comes under being open to debate. For example, should the poor energy performance of buildings been seen as a threat / weakness or an opportunity, as there are often cost-effective investments available.



make the most of these


restore strengths



watch competition closely


turn around

  • 2.1 Consolidating/analysing the innovative aspects of the projects
    • We asked participants to describe the innovative aspects of their projects. We have summarised these innovative aspects under a number of themes as follows:

      With regard to the focus of the projects, the efforts made by the SERPENTE project were interesting. The project sought to make a link between the energy efficiency improvements that can be brought about by regeneration activities with the additional social benefits these can bring. This focus was also mentioned by the IMEA project with their aim of integrating social and business expertise into their project. The choice of partners is an area where projects can demonstrate some innovation. For example, the RENERGY project included policymakers, businesses and research organisations. The focus on private homeowners, and the need to present them with a business case so as to support their investments in energy efficiency in the IMEA project was also interesting.

      With regard to innovation in the content of the projects, there are a number of interesting and innovative examples. The development and promotion of ESCO financial models for improving the energy efficiency of public buildings in the STEP project, and the emphasis on public procurement options in the REGREEN projects are in line with the current policy priorities of the EC. A number of projects, e.g. RENERGY, have placed emphasis on the need to promote behavioural change. The GreenITNet project includes a good combination of technologies and sectors in its activities aimed at providing information to public transport users through the use of ICT. This combination is a very good match with the recent SSC programme.

      A degree of innovation can be seen in the tools and techniques developed by the projects. For example, the RENERGY project uses ‘energy labs’ to promote sharing of best practice between diverse players who might not otherwise interact. Linking together and utilising the skills of key players in energy efficiency can also be seen in IMEA, where they are linking energy businesses to the delivery of a local authority programme, which helps to give credibility to the energy efficiency services offered by these businesses. IMEA also provides 1:1 follow up on the advice given to households, which both helps to ensure that the householders have understood the advice and enables the savings achieved to be verified. The IMEA project has also made use of local individual champions to promote action on energy efficiency. Local champions are known individuals within a community who have adopted measures and can be used as real and known examples to persuade others to take the same action. The individuals also act to promote the energy efficiency behaviour through their day-to-day interactions with other members of the community.

      The specific needs of local authorities in defining and implementing an energy efficiency policy are recognised in a number of project tools, for example, in REGREEN, they have developed an indicator system for local authorities to help them find their strengths and weaknesses. The STEP project aims to help each of their partner regions to fill in the gaps in their approach, and REGREEN focuses on developing an integrated toolkit. The IMAGINE project focuses on creating ‘roadmaps’ for energy use in its partner cities by 2050 – to illustrate how quality of life, economic success etc. (i.e. Europe 2020 goals) can be achieved. This is intended to be an inspirational guide and uses a bottom-up approach with local citizens to develop the roadmap, with a view to matching citizen aspirations, priorities and understanding with policy development. Citizen involvement is partly enabled through the use of back-casting techniques in workshops. These help ‘plot the route’ from the current situation to the one being aspired to by looking at how the current situation was arrived at. The IMAGINE project is also developing a way for local authorities to review their relevant policies (e.g. transport, housing, spatial planning) in terms of how well they recognise energy efficiency issues and promote good practice in their policies.

  • 2.2 Consolidating/analysing the effectiveness of the projects
    • An interesting point that was raised in discussions with the projects regarding their effectiveness and transferability was the fact that the majority of the projects concerned ‘soft’ issues as opposed to technology issues. The discussion on why this was the case indicated that, in general, the problem (in terms of low uptake of energy efficiency) is not due to a lack of technology but much more a question of adaptation and application of technology, where ‘soft’ issues, such as attitude, awareness and finance are key.

      During the workshop presentations and subsequent discussions with projects, a number of points were made as to the effectiveness of projects, i.e. what each project thought was most effective about their approach and outputs in terms of sharing best practice on energy efficiency and overcoming the barriers to its uptake.

      Some of the issues focused on appear to have been more popular than others. This higher level of interest is a good indicator of their potential effectiveness. There were a number of projects aimed at translating European and national level policies and targets for use at the local and regional level. The RENERGY project did this by providing examples on how building regulations could be translated for use at a local level (e.g. typical local building types). The STEP project also stated that this was a popular issue and mentioned the importance of this issue for its local authority partners, and the key role that these partners have in achieving this goal. The REGREEN project evoked the importance of the need to adopt action that is tailored to the local policy process and the importance of illustrating that there are multiple paths to a common goal. The tailoring of the format and style of the content developed by projects – to match the needs of the target audience - is also key to their effectiveness. The SERPENTE project noted the importance of developing and piloting country specific implementation plans and EnercitEE stated that it had looked for good practice examples in differents sectors and regions to inform its region specific energy efficiency and RES guide for buildings.

      An effective project approach consisted in enabling energy efficiency in a cross-sectoral and innovative way. For example, the GreenITNet project stated that ideas which may not originally be motivated by energy efficiency can nevertheless lead to good energy efficiency benefits, such as the the travel cost ‘app’ they have developed, which reduces travel time and helps promote modal shift (to public transport away from cars). This idea also brought some social inclusion benefits by enabling more people to better use public transport. Its development required the combination of data sources from multiple sources. The CO2FREE project gave a similar cross-sectoral example, a good practice on charging electric cars, involving ICT, buildings and sustainable transport, which was the most popular good practice they listed.

      If the energy efficiency issue is best addressed to a well defined target group it appears that projects need to focus on producing and promoting outputs which are technically detailed and tailored enough to be of practical use. For example, the EnercitEE project cited the climate change planning tools it has developed and tested as well as the practical users guide for passive house schools, which they felt recognised the day-to-day practical information users of such school buildings would need. The targeting of technically specific and detailed information is well illustrated by the PLUS project, which has a clear focus on public lighting and existing best practices in making this lighting more efficient. A number of the projects have used projects funded by other EC schemes (e.g. the Framework Programme, LIFE+) as best practice examples. This ensures a certain quality in the examples (as, in order to receive EC funding, the project must have passed quality criteria), and it is a good way of disseminating the results of these other funding streams.

      Certain tools and approaches appear to be effective in promoting awareness and take-up of energy efficiency. Echoing the points made above, features that appear to make tools effective and popular include the importance of making them locally and target group specific as well as practical. The IMEA project cited the importance of developing a business case / change strategy to transform ideas into actions. The EnercitEE project mentioned its involvement in a successful scheme to provide practical training (using student interns) on the energy and climate issue to local authority policy and planning officers, and the IMAGINE project, it its whole approach of developing energy roadmaps stressed the importance of finding what citizens and businesses really want.

      The involvement of certain types of partners in a project was cited as an important for producing outputs that are likely to be effective. IMEA mentioned a number of partners they felt were helpful. They felt that having a national focus point to collect member state specific expertise / experience was important. This issue was also mentioned by the PLUS project as being important for collecting the national examples of innovative practices in a specific technology. IMEA also mentioned the benefits that they felt had been brought by involving energy efficiency equipment installation businesses, as this promoted action by giving the project a ‘one-stop shop’ character (i.e. users could get credible advice and practical input on how to install the equipment). IMEA also mentioned the effectivness of the ‘local champions’ approach, which also brought extra positive impacts in terms of social cohesion. Involving partners who are already well networked in terms of their knowledge on energy efficiency is clearly a good approach. For example, the REGREEN project mentioned the benefits arising from their partners’ existing links to CoM and Energeecities, which helped give the project a good head start.

      There are a number of approaches and links to existing policy levers that can help a project to be successful in promoting the uptake of energy efficiency. The REGREEN project cited a number of these approaches, including: encouraging public authorities to lead by example (e.g. green public procurement); including high standards of energy efficiency within regeneration projects – e.g. social housing, as this utilises existing spending plans and helps spread the knowledge further. IMEA partners have estimated that the approach using local champions and business involvement, which they promote, can achieve a x10 multiplier between programme spending and final individual spending on energy efficiency. Another high profile policy concept that offers good leverage is the creating of links between low-carbon and economic growth. The employment and company profitability benefits that energy efficiency investments can create were cited by REGREEN and LoCaRe as very important positive influences.

  • 2.3 Analysing the transferability of the projects
    • A key issue for energy efficiency is the ability to transfer technologies, tools and techniques from one location to another. There are often fears that location specific issues will limit transferability. These issues can be physical, e.g.: climate (what works in cold and wet countries might not work in hot and dry ones) or building techniques, which vary between countries (entailing that certain technologies or approaches won’t work). The issues that limit transferability can also be political and/or social. For example the details of spatial planning procedures, such as the influence local politicians have on decisions, varies. The primary influences on decision-making related to energy efficiency, e.g. when and how to replace electrical appliances, are also affected by social norms which vary across geographical areas.

      During the discussions with project partners, the following points were made about the transferability of the approaches, findings and results from the projects.

      A number of projects made the point that there are certain energy efficiency technology issues that are very widely transferable. For example, SERPENTE mentioned that there are common building types across Europe, which have a number of common issues. For projects focused on specific technologies, such as the PLUS project with its focus on public lighting, the issue of transferability is central. PLUS addressed this issue by using a ‘deep-dive’ peer review process, involving a detailed analysis of the technologies in use by particular partners. This helped to clarify the issues that could cause problems of transferability and, in some cases, illustrated that there can be unforeseen problems, e.g. it became apparent that LED lighting is not the universally best solution for public lighting.

      Many of the approaches and techniques used by the projects to promote and facilitate the uptake of energy efficiency are widely transferable between countries and regions. A number of these focus on the process related barriers that tend to have a high degree of commonality across Europe. For example, the IMEA project focussed on the ways in which ideas can be turned into action, involving a need for finance and action plans, creating a common language between the participants (as opposed to each using their own specific terms and goals – accountant with numbering systems, engineers with technical issues, housing officers with social inclusion etc.) and encouraging local individual and community involvement. The transferability of community involvement was also mentioned by EnercitEE, (which considers its use of local citizens as ‘climate idols’ as a successful and transferable model) and by IMAGINE (with its bottom-up (i.e. community involvement) approach to policy-making). The LoCaRe project also raised this issue, mentioning that leadership is a common need and that the involvement of citizens is a beneficial approach. They use the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach and the European sustainable citizen ambassador cascade system to raise awareness. This works with schools where the top level of information dissemination is performed by teachers, the next level by pupils and the third layer by the families of the pupils. The master plan concept, involving enterprises, the community, and energy supply and demand side was another transferable approach involving a multitude of players. Another issue where there should be good potential for transferability is with projects which make use of common data that is held in many (particularly urban) locations. For example, the GreenITNet project mentioned the commonality of the transport flow and public service data, which they use for their journey planning app.

      The way in which information is presented and tools are structured was another issue where making the right choices can help transferability. The REGREEN project mentioned that the toolkits they have developed (with indicators on energy efficiency policy design for local authorities) include specific advice on how to tailor them to local needs. The use of innovative communication methods, particularly, the more visual ones, such as videos, were mentioned by the EnercitEE project (and others) as  transferability facilitators.

      Another interesting point raised on transferability was that the ease of transfer is affected by the nature of the potential recipient. The CO2FREE project felt that transfer works better between regions with a strategic energy / energy efficiency plan. They also felt that more advanced regions (in terms of energy efficiency uptake) would export more than they would import. The point was also made that regions should accept that not everything is transferable. GreenitNEt mentioned that a key issue in their area that could limit transferability is the regulatory situation on data openness. Other projects mentioned that citizens’ willingness to act and participate in some approaches would always be a barrier. The RENERGY project mentioned that they had evaluated each of their good practices in terms of transferability, by considering issues such as links to EU level legislation (EPBD) and its relevance to typical / common building types (e.g. schools).

  • 2.4 Synergy between projects
    • We are aware that discussions have already taken place between the SERPENTE and RE-GREEN project partners who recognised clear similarities in subject matter (energy efficiency in public buildings) during the workshop, which was part of this capitalisation process. There is also potential for the IMEA project to share its findings and approaches on this issue.

      Our analysis of the common target issues between the projects can also be used to indicate areas of potential synergy. We have reclassified the barriers and opportunities from this table in terms of project focus, project tools and target groups.

      A common way in which INTERREG IVC supports improvements in local and regional policies is by sharing best practice on how national / EC policies are implemented to fit local and regional priorities and circumstances. As discussed in the section on transferability, this is of particular relevance for energy efficiency, as the presence of a region specific energy policy and baseline is a very important factor in how well best practices will be taken up and therefore how effectively a region can improve its energy efficiency. This issue reflects the findings of other energy efficiency programmes. For example, signatories of the Covenant of Mayors are required to produce a Sustainable Energy Action Plan, which in effect sets out a region/ city specific energy policy and plan.

      Another common issue, where there is potential for the projects to learn from each other, is green public procurement. This is an effective way for local authorities to lead by example and help to create a market and demand for, in this case, energy efficient products and services. Green public procurement is an approach where there are many other sources of advice and inspiration that could be looked to by the projects that deal with this aspect is some way. (LoCaRe, SERPENTE, IMEA, IMAGINE, EnercitEE, RE-GREEN)

      The promotion and use of Energy Services Companies (ESCOs) and other innovative finance models are looked upon by national and international policymakers as an important mechanism for enabling the installation of energy efficient technologies, particularly now given the increasing constraints on the availability of public sector capital to fund these. There are a number of programmes designed to promote the use of ESCOs that have valuable case studies and information for the projects looking into ESCOs, most notably the ELENA programme, which provides project development assistance. All four of the projects target this issue (STEP, RENERGY, IMEA and IMAGINE) have time to learn from these good practices and, if the project activities are successful, could potentially go on to consider their own ELENA applications.

      A number of the projects (EnercitEE, RENERGY, SERPENTE, IMEA, IMAGINE and GreenITNet) are interested in the use of tools to promote and enhance citizen involvement. This ranges from engaging citizens in policy development (e.g. IMAGINE) to the use of local individuals to promote the uptake / installation of technologies (e.g. EnercitEE). These projects can all learn from each other with regard to promoting citizen involvement at different stages and in different aspects of their projects. A related issue to citizen involvement is the synergies that exist between projects seeking to involve a wide range of energy stakeholders, politicians, and local citizens in the development of local energy efficiency policies and actions. The now completed CO2FREE project drew some interesting conclusions on the importance of involving local politicians and the importance of a well-researched regional energy baseline for this process that the other ongoing projects could learn from. The efforts made to engage and involve energy businesses by projects such as IMEA also offer an interesting lesson to those projects seeking to maximise stakeholder involvement – as this is a key group that can bring a lot in terms of commercial credibility and the desire to turn an intention into an installation – but often gets overlooked.

      The importance of developing the skills and awareness of policy officers in local authorities is recognised by a number of projects. The interesting approach of the EnercitEE project of placing energy and climate student interns within local authority offices, so as to pass on their knowledge, could be of interest to a number of other projects, such as STEP, RENERGY and SERPENTE.

      The projects analysed under the sustainable transport theme are likely to provide useful pointers for the GREENITNET project – given that the use of traffic and travel electronic data is a key issue.

      Table 3.4 Overview of the potential synergies between projects

3. Innovative approaches in the Good Practices

The projects are required to list a variety of good practices of relevance to their activities. These are not necessarily activities undertaken within the project but they should be of direct relevance to the project and illustrate its objectives. Given their relatively recent starting dates, not all of the projects have yet listed good practices in the INTERREG IVC database, though five of the other projects do have details on their websites, or provided these to us, of good practices that have not yet been placed on the INTERREG IVC database.

From the 12 projects, 10 Good practices have been selected. These are not intended to be the 10 best good practices but more of a representative sample. The goal was to look for innovative approaches and strategies that met some or all of the following criteria:

  • For smart, sustainable and inclusive growth ( EU2020).
  • Where the approach and/or subject matter is of interest to a wide variety of EU regions.
  • They tackle barriers to energy efficiency in a new way.
  • Were considered most innovative at the thematic workshop.
  • Have been most transferred between partners.
  • Are the basis of the whole project (e.g. the action plans in EU2020 and IMAGINE).

The sample contains different types of Good Practices, but as can be seen in the table below, most have an element of stakeholder engagement. This reflects the importance of improving awareness and understanding, which is the vital first step in encouraging the necessary behavioural change, at the heart of successful energy efficiency practices.

Table 3.5 Selection of 10 Energy Efficiency INTERREG IVC good practices
Good PracticeProjectCountryTopic
Energy AmbassadorsEnercitEEFranceHelp social workers and vulnerable groups to fight against fuel poverty
Energy efficiency in historic Saxony buildingsEnercitEEGermanyGuide to energy efficiency refurbishment of historic buildings
Business Opportunities for Suppliers LoCaReDenmarkGrouped green public procurement, with supplier engagement
Zero tradeLoCaReItalyInvolvement of industry and resource efficiency links
Stakeholder testing of LEDsPLUSEstoniaTesting of multiple new technologies in use
LED street lights and controlsPLUSUKPrivate finance scheme for high efficiency street lighting in Birmingham
Energy Targeting & MonitoringCO2FREEIrelandEnergy Management in public and commercial buildings
Local Action PlansEU2020, IMAGINENL, UKRegional energy policies – developed to reflect local strengths and opinions
Wi-MoveGreenITNetItalyGreen travel information services for citizens and visitors.
Potsdam Garden cityRE-GREENPolandRefurbishment of 1980s housing, using interesting finance methods

Source: Triple E Consulting

The good practices are explained below. For each good practice, the following points are covered

  • What is the innovative approach?
  • How is it innovative?
  • How is it transferable to other regions?
  • When, where?
  • More information (contact details and web link).
  • 3.1 Energy Ambassadors
    • Good practiceEnergy Ambassadors
      What is the innovative approach?

      It aims at helping families in difficulty to manage their water, heating and electricity consumption. More than 800 one to one advice sessions were supported, often linked to social workers.

      There were 3 main actions: raising awareness of households (via home visits, conference, group meetings, distribution of brochures and information tools), training social workers on energy efficiency matters and participation in the local Energy Fund committee.

      A practical guide on energy-saving at home was created in 2003; it contained practical advice on energy and water savings. Social workers can give it to families or ambassadors when they visit their homes. The guide was also sent by post.

      The ‘Bill mask’ was created in 2007 to help families with reading their electricity bill. It was an A4 form folder, with ‘opened flaps’ cut into the paper where households can place their bill. Important information is highlighted on the ‘flaps’. Collaboration with EDF (Électricité de France SA) allowed the printing of more than 1,000 bill masks in 2008, and the project Energy Ambassadors also made the printing of 1,000 more possible. An energy-saving calendar was created in 2008, with the help of local public housing associations, a sociologist, and a designer. Sometimes, a calendar is more practical than a guide. It can easily be put up in the kitchen or in the office. Each month, it shows energy advice and funny drawings to the targeted families and helps to reduce the gas, electricity and water consumption of the households. A table at the end of the calendar allows the family to calculate its annual consumption. The first page of the calendar is a reminder on how to read a meter, which is illustrated with drawings.

      The ‘guide fourmi’ (Ant’s guide) was made specifically for social workers. It lists the main energy issues in households and proposes solutions to help families with social needs. The guide was updated in 2009 during the Energy Ambassadors EU-project.

      Why is it innovative?The approach of using trusted professionals to deliver energy efficiency advice to often (otherwise) hard to reach groups is an interesting and innovative approach.
      Advice targeted directly at those in fuel poverty in such a way is unusual.
      How it is transferable to other regions?Vulnerable groups in European regions are usually contacted by non-energy professionals. Most of these professionals would be willing to receive some basic training in energy efficiency given the economic and health benefits that this could bring to the groups whose welfare is their concern.
      When, where?CENTRE-EST, Rhône-Alpes, France. 1999- 2008
  • 3.2 Energy efficiency in historic Saxony buildings
    • Good practice Saxon Guide for Energy-efficient Refurbishment of Buildings of Historic Importance
      What is the approach?

      The Saxon State Ministry of the Interior (SMI) published the guide for public authorities, owners of historic buildings, architects and engineers. This guide was developed by a group of experts led by the SMI that included ministries, the Saxon energy agency, universities, local authorities, associations, Chambers of Commerce and institutes.

      Old buildings account for the majority of Saxony’s building stock. More than two thirds of the region’s buildings were built before 1948, including more than 50% of all Saxon flats. Solutions should ensure that energy and climate policy goals are met and that economic necessities are taken into full consideration and ensure the future of Saxony’s architectural heritage. The guide does not impose new or additional requirements for the energy-efficient refurbishment of historic buildings, but simply offers advice based on existing legislation and technology.

      The average heat energy consumption of a historic Wilhelminian building is more than 200 kWh/m²/year, in contrast to a passive house building, which needs about 15 kWh/ m²/year. The guide gives an overview of measures for increasing energy efficiency in historic buildings with respect to the building structure, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and renewable energy sources and lists various risks concerning possible building damage and prevention thereof. In addition, the guide summarises the results of the pilot action.

      Why is it innovative?

      In general, the energy upgrading of historic buildings requires a set of architectural interventions. Historic preservationists consider the resulting changes to the building to be critical. To avoid conflicts, solutions have to be found that are consistent with the character of the historic building and, at the same time, meet energy and economic requirements.

      An evaluation matrix was developed for five building types, each with different energy characteristics. Both the energy-saving potential of the different measures and their impact on the historic building are included in the evaluation matrix. The table provides a good guide as to which energy-saving measures can be carried out without markedly interfering with the character of the building.

      How is it transferable to other regions?Most regions will have historic buildings with poor energy performance where the assumption would be that any improvements would be too damaging to the aesthetics of the building. This guide illustrates what is possible – whilst also dealing with the trade-offs that might occur.
      When, where?Germany 2010
      More informationWerner Sommer
      Saxon State Ministry for the Environment and Agriculture
  • 3.3 Green public procurement
    • Good practice Business Opportunities for Suppliers by enhancing Environmental friendly Production
      What is the approach?

      Since 2006, the Region Västra Götaland, Skåne, the Regional Council and Stockholm Country Council have been working together to promote social responsibility in procurement. 31 municipalities and the region have made an agreement regarding the implementation of procurement practices that promote a low-carbon economy.

      The participating organisations have all made commitments to use their purchasing power to put pressure on the regions’ common suppliers to work actively on the environment and social responsibility in connection with the products they supply. All participating organisations have made commitments to use their consumer power by demanding products with less of an impact on global warming than average products on the market.

      The steps in the process have been to:
      1. Make explicit low-carbon demands on the products
      2. Highlight the environmental benefits and results
      3. Involve the suppliers in the discussion about continuous improvements

      Example actions include: buying furniture from producers from a green list, using green electricity, making demands on vehicles and buying Ecological Food products.

      Why is it innovative?Green public procurement is an effective way for local authorities to lead by example, as well as to support the growth of the green economy. Grouping separate authorities together is an effective way of increasing the influence of this activity and better motivating companies to take part. The direct engagement of the suppliers is a helpful approach.
      How transferable to other regions?Local authorities in any region could work together to influence their suppliers.
      When, where?Sweden, since 2006
      More informationBerit Mattsson, Region vaster Götaland
  • 3.4 Zero Trade
    • Good practice Zero Trade
      What is the approach?

      The main objective of the ZEROTRADE project is to jointly develop, test, and disseminate an innovative and effective governance model where public bodies become drivers for a low-carbon economy by implementing actions to reduce CO2 emissions in the trade sector. CO2 emissions will be reduced by improving the environmental performance of retail outlets, reducing emissions in retail selling and in procurement systems and improving the quality of sold goods.

      Ecoacquisti Trentino is a voluntary agreement between the Autonomous Province of Trento and retailers to reduce CO2 emissions in the trade sector. The ‘Eco-purchases’ label enables consumers to know the outlets where their purchases support a company taking steps to reduce waste and improve recycling. The ‘Eco-purchases’ award is subject to a rigorous procedure. This award is given by the Eco-purchase’ Provincial Committee, to companies that pass the inspection and comply with the mandatory and optional actions suggested in the agreement signed with each sales outlet.

      Last Minute Market is a sub-project designed to reduce waste in the Trade Sector. The main objective is to reduce food and goods waste by developing a market for unsold goods. Last Minute Market developed in 2000 is the first professional system in Italy to reuse unsold goods in a large retail chain. The logistical and organisational models allow the retrieval of many categories of unsold goods with security and quality, including fresh goods. The model has been expanded to other types of goods and to trade and manufacturing processes. Now, the system involves various companies, school canteens, shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, publishing houses etc.

      Why is it innovative?The innovation here lies in the links created between public authorities and the private sector, the links to resource efficiency, the links to social benefits and (in the last minute market) the links to ‘waste exchange’.
      How transferable to other regions?This model could be adopted in most regions of the EU.
      When, where?Bologna, Italy, since 1998
      More informationDr Matteo Guidi
  • 3.5 Stakeholder testing of LEDs
    • Good practice Stakeholder testing of LEDs
      What is the approach?

      The city of Tallinn has implemented a LED test street project to help develop a common understanding on the potential of this new lighting technology, including its limitations, among engineers, designers, and municipalities.

      This gives LED manufacturers a chance to show their lamps in real situations. The city has installed 42 LED street lamps and 2 luminaires with induction lamps on the test street with the help of 24 manufacturers. It has also installed 17 LED lights and 6 induction lamps in a park. The University of Tallin is a partner and is in charge of monitoring the energy consumption, power factor, total harmonic distortion and luminance.

      The project concluded with a stakeholder’s discussion where the consensus was that LED lamps are undergoing rapid development and that the technology has risks/threats that have to be addressed. The city plans to compose detailed technical procurement and warranty rules in cooperation with the university.

      Why is it innovative?

      The project involves the practical demonstration and testing of new technologies with cooperation between manufacturers and users. The involvement of local universities is also a positive aspect, as it builds local capacity and practical innovation skills.

      The results include the development of purchasing guidelines to enable the better implementation of the newest and most efficient technologies.

      How transferable to other regions?This approach could be tried with other technologies by forward-looking authorities, especially where they have good links with local universities.
      When, where?Estonia, Tallinn. 2011
  • 3.6 LED street lights and controls
    • Good practice LED street lights and controls
      What is the approach?

      In 2010, the UK city of Birmingham signed a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with the public service provider Amey for the design, implementation, financing and operational maintenance of the street lighting across the city. The contract lasts for 25 years and has a value of £2.7bn making it the largest local government highways sector contract in the UK. The project will see approximately 50% of Birmingham’s 90 000 street lighting points replaced with LEDs within 5 years. With the remainder being replaced during the contract’s lifetime.



      The contract includes a lighting control and management system that aims to connect every lighting point in the first 5 years of the project, to facilitate optimum management and maintenance of the lighting network with dynamic and flexible control of each lighting unit. The city will soon introduce dimming to vary light levels based on traffic and street activity levels. This approach will promote reduced energy consumption and over lighting.

      Why is it innovative?Birmingham is the first municipal authority to implement a control and monitoring system on this scale using LED technology.The PFI arrangement is also innovative.
      How is it transferable to other regions?The technology and financial approach could be transferred to most municipalities.
      When, where?Birmingham, UK, 2010
      More informationBirmingham City Council / Amey
      Ian Evans (Amey)
  • 3.7 Energy targeting and monitoring
    • Good practiceEnergy Targeting & Monitoring
      What is the approach?

      “You cannot save energy if you cannot measure it”. That simple motto prompted Derry City Council to install an IT system to monitor energy consumption in ten of its most energy-demanding buildings. By collecting data on energy use, Derry City Council can identify energy waste, reduce energy consumption and make the most efficient use of existing plant and equipment. The system also makes it possible to set both environmental and economic targets and to verify actual savings after project implementation. The project involved the installation of a Smart Metering system, which allows management to monitor energy consumption on a real time basis to assist with the elimination of waste and to improve the energy efficiency of the building and the installed mechanical and electrical equipment, combining the principles of energy usage and statistics.

      The most important stages in the project:
      - Anchoring among decision-makers.
      - Procurement of a system that met all demands.

      Benefits of the project were:
      - Reduced energy consumption in public buildings.
      - Reduced energy costs.
      - Verification of environmental investments, both environmentally and economically.
       - Reduced carbon dioxide footprint.
      - Set targets to reduce annual energy consumption by 3 % by identifying opportunities for improvement.

      Success factors included:
      - Support from decision-makers.
      - Technological competence for developing and managing the IT system.
      - Competence in interpreting the system’s data and reports.
      - Real environmental & financial savings

      Why is it innovative?The approach has been a fundamental part of energy efficiency for a long time, but it is often overlooked in favour of more capital-intensive approaches. The political buy in is also an innovative aspect – as it helped ensure a committed take-up.
      How transferable to other regions?The approach is transferable to any building. The system installed is an internet/intranet based software application that is easily transferable to other organisations.
      When, where?Derry, Northern Ireland, since 2008
      More informationMr Leo Strawbridge.
      Telephone: +44 28 7136 5151
      More information about this Good
  • 3.8 Local action plans
    • Good practice Local Action Plans
      What is the approach?

      Two of the projects focus on the development of local action plans for energy efficiency. The Europe 2020 going local project uses the good practices it has collected from all of its partners, along with locally developed ideas and solutions, so as to develop region specific action plans. The objective of the Action Plans is to feed the selected Good Practices into the Structural Funds programme.

      The IMAGINE project is using a similar approach, but is looking towards developing an energy vision of the partner cities for the year 2050. IMAGINE was set up in 2006 by Energy Cities as an exchange platform to discuss the energy future of European cities. With the relationship between ‘Territory’ and ‘Energy’ as a core focus, the aim of this initiative is to provide a unique entry-point for the diverse players that are directly or indirectly connected to energy consumption and supply at the local and urban level.

      Stakeholders are invited to share and to be inspired by each other’s initiatives, to discuss common challenges and differing points of view and find synergies between them. IMAGINE’s specific environment gives local governments, entrepreneurs, energy agencies and citizen groups the opportunity to think outside of the box and beyond usual constraints, so as to reach a new understanding, commitment level, and find new solutions to current challenges.

      Why is it innovative?

      Both projects recognise the importance of region specific energy policies and plans.

      The innovation in the Europe 2020 project includes a linkage with structural funds – to help direct this future spending.

      The diverse stakeholder engagement of the IMAGINE project is an innovative aspect. The IMAGINE project also includes an assessment grid for each city to assess and benchmark its own energy related policies.

      How transferable to other regions?The approaches described here could be adopted by any suitably motivated region.
      When, where?EU2020 going local project partners from 2010 to 2012
      IMAGINE project partners from 2012 to 2014
      More informationEU2020 – local action plans at:
      Example of IMAGINE plan under development at:
  • 3.9 Wi-Move
    • Good practice Wi-Move
      What is the approach?

      Wi-Move's objective is to provide free and accessible solutions for large metropolitan areas, such as Rome, that help citizens and tourists optimise transit routes for costs, energy use and speed. Features include real-time information that can be accessed on board, in the proximity of bus stops, in intermodal exchange points and on mobile applications. Travel optimisation can take into account issues such as traffic jams road works, demonstrations, tourist services. The stakeholders involved included citizens, tourists, City of Rome, ATAC: Transport Authority, CATTID: research centre. The project was funded by the Elisa Programme - Regional Affairs Department, Italian National Government.Deliverables were mobile applications, a metropolitan Wi-Fi network and Sesamonet path: aides for visually impaired people. Impact indicators were CO, NOx, CO2, PM10 and VOC levels for traffic flows resulting from private vehicles and from public transport. CATTID's calculations showed a significant decline in private vehicle traffic and emissions.

      Why is it innovative?Real-time information about transportation and tourist information. An interesting combination of transport, energy, and IT.The use of multiple existing data sources for a new purpose.
      How transferable to other regions?The ease of transfer will relate to the relative progress in the various systems involved – and the willingness of the systems’ owners to combine them.The data security procedures may be an inhibiting factor for some cities and countries.
      When, where?Rome, Italy 2010
      More informationGiorgio Scavino
      Risorse per Roma
  • 3.10 Potsdam Garden City
    • Good practicePotsdam Garden City
      What is the approach?

      The urban district ‘Drewitz’ in Potsdam was erected in the 1980s. It is a residential district, with 6,000 inhabitants living in 2,900 apartments, made with precast concrete slab structure buildings.

      Drewitz is partly a low-income area with a high percentage of people receiving social benefits. The main target of the Garden city Drewitz towards zero-emission-city programme is to develop a modern and sustainable quarter with low CO2 emissions and with green infrastructure and good living conditions.

      The programme aims to improve the quality of everyday life through the energy related renovation of the residential and public buildings, the reorganisation of transport options, and the improvement of open-space quality.

      The programme is mostly financed by the KfW (Reconstruction Loan) Bank Group fund, under the new funding line ‘Energetic urban renewal’. This fund meets 65% of the total costs. The remaining 35% should be shared equally by the country's capital, the ProPotsdam (asset-holding company group of the state capital of Potsdam) and the Energy and water Potsdam (EWP) company.

      To implement the garden city concept and to ensure civic participation in the process, constant citizen engagement has been crucial to the decision-making process. A citizen representation group was set up to ensure the inhabitants’ interests, to provide updated information and to organise discussion sessions about the project’s next step.

      The total investment for the transformation of Drewitz into a garden city will reach about €300m between 2009 and 2025. Due to additional funding by the Federal state of Brandenburg (around €10m) the rents should stay at €5.50 per m² after the renovation.

      Why is it innovative?

      The innovative aspects include:

      * The use of a dedicated funding line.
      * The involvement of the citizens.
      * Energy and regeneration in combination.

      How transferable to other regions?The transferability is limited by the availability of KfW funds – which tend to focus around Germany.The citizen involvement and combination with regeneration approach is one which is much more transferable – assuming that other funds can be found.
      When, where?Potsdam, Germany. 2009 to 2025

This chapter has discussed the individual energy efficiency projects in some detail covering their common features and innovative approaches. The final chapter of this report summarises these points and uses them to form a number of conclusions and recommendations.

Previous chapter

As of 31 December 2015, this website is no longer updated. Follow news on interregional cooperation at