EU facilitates investments in energy efficiency for public buildings

EPA/SEBASTIAO MOREIRA/FILE PICTURE

Some trees surround buildings down town Sao Paulo, Brazil. Energy efficiency measures are an important means to combat energy poverty, which the European Commission has said it aims at tackling at the roots.

Eurostat clarifies how to record energy performance contracts in national accounts


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On September 19, Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Commission, published an updated guidance note on the recording of energy performance contracts (EPCs) in government accounts, the European Commission has said.

European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete noted that thanks to the revised guidance published on September 19, “it will be easier for schools, hospitals, and other public buildings – which make up more than 10% of the overall EU building stock – to invest for the purpose of improving energy efficiency. Energy efficiency measures are also an important means to combat energy poverty, which this Commission aims at tackling at the roots”.

The revised guidance note clarifies the accounting rules applied to the treatment of energy performance contracts, according to the Commission. It follows up on the work already undertaken by Eurostat to clarify the accounting rules for various types of public investment, including the Guide to the Statistical Treatment of Public Private Partnerships published last year, the Commission said in a press release.

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, and responsible for Eurostat, said that Europe needs investments. “With this guidance we show how public authorities can invest in full respect of the principles of public accounting, now also in the energy sector. Facilitating investments in energy efficiency measures has also an important social function, as public buildings such as social housing facilities will benefit from it too,” Thyssen said.

Energy performance contracts in the public sector offer a practical solution to make public buildings and other public infrastructures more energy efficient, as the initial investment can be covered by a private partner and repaid by guaranteed energy savings, the Commission said. However, frequently this type of contract simultaneously contains elements of a rental, service, lease, purchase or loan agreement, making its recording complex.

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