In an effort to support project development services for energy-efficiency investments in privately and publicly owned housing, the European Investment Bank (EIB) said on February 20 that the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) facility will benefit from €97 million of new funding from the European Commission for its envelope dedicated to residential buildings.

EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete hailed ELENA as a great example of the effective use of public money.

“Every euro we have spent over the past years has attracted an additional €40 in investments – for lower energy bills, greater comfort and lower GHG emissions. Consequently, we decided to fund up to 90% of the energy-related project development costs of the investments with ELENA. I want to encourage potential beneficiaries especially from central, eastern and south-eastern Europe to apply for the funds,” Cañete said.

The EU agreed in December 2018 to reduce energy consumption by 32.5 % by 2030 as compared to 1990. This target, a central provision of the clean energy package, implies huge investments, especially in residential buildings, which account for around 40% of the EU’s total final energy demand. Accelerating energy-efficiency refurbishment of housing is, therefore, a key European priority and the main focus of the ELENA facility. The new funds dedicated to the ELENA residential envelope are fully in line with the targets of the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings (SFSB) initiative to make investments in energy-efficiency projects in residential buildings more attractive to private investors, the EIB said in a press release.

Project development services will mainly be directed towards households and homeowner associations with a view to increasing comfort and reducing energy bills. In addition, assistance may be made available to other organisations – e.g. financial institutions including commercial banks – to help them set up and deploy financial instruments and loan products for energy-efficiency improvements in the residential sector. Public entities may also be supported by the implementation of large-scale energy rehabilitation programmes in this sector.

Ahead of the Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum, EIB Vice-President in charge of energy, Andrew McDowell, stressed that accelerating energy efficiency investments in residential buildings to reduce carbon emissions and better cope with a changing climate is crucial. “Schemes around the world already show how technical preparation and financing can make a huge difference in attracting investment into building renovation. I warmly welcome the new support given by the European Commission. With the assistance of the EIB, this new envelope will significantly boost energy efficiency in buildings and thus improve the lives of many European citizens,” McDowell said.