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<EUROPEAN COURT OF AUDITORS: EU spending on building energy efficiency not cost-effective
June 3, 2020

The ECA complains that the EU funding is not geared to deep renovation, much of it being wasted on light renovations or lighting or boiler improvements that do not substantially improve the energy efficiency of the building, have easier pay-back that the owners could have taken on themselves without funding, and that have the perverse effect of pushing a deep renovation farther into the future.

In its response attached to the ECA report, the European Commission acknowledges that under EU law, deep renovation is the key goal for member state action plans and long-term building renovation strategies, but points out that the funding being analysed here is Cohesion Funding and European Regional Development Funding which have much broader goals than just energy efficiency. For instance, the simple upgrades of the Irish "Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme" (dry lining, attic insulation, lagging jackets for hot water tanks and cavity wall insulation; average project costs only €3 161) fall far short of deep renovation and have little or no impact on the EPC grade, but help to reduce energy poverty now, and helping poor regions is the core purpose of EU Cohesion and Regional funding.

Usefully for entities seeking government project funding, the report also reviews the Commission's instructions to the member states on the procedures they have to follow - from programme design to programme implementation to programme management & evaluation - to secure Cohesion policy funding (to date, the only big-ticket EU grant allocation) for energy renovation of buildings, including detailed definition of:

  • eligible buildings and final recipients
  • targeted level of renovation and energy savings

EPF Secretariat analysis under epf20-35 of 07.05.2020