Buildings have an important role to play in the EU's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Finnish Climate Panel (2014), increasing the energy efficiency of existing buildings and ensuring strong low-carbon standards for new buildings can reduce energy consumption by 50% by 2050. Energy renovation of existing buildings is the most effective way to save energy in the building sector, given that current buildings are expected to comprise 70% of all building stock in 2050.
The LIFE EconomisE project aimed to reduce emissions through a cooperative ‘EconomisE Platform’ that engages institutional investors and municipalities, while serving as a catalyst for a low-carbon and resilient economy. The project plans to contribute towards achieving the EU’s 2020, 2030 and 2050 GHG reductions targets along with its climate adaptation strategy. Promoting EU-level cooperation ensures that lessons from Member States inform the implementation of legislation and that results are shared.
Specifically, the project aimed to:
- Establish the EconomisE Platform, thus enabling coordinated multi-stakeholder action for achieving accelerated energy decarbonisation and resilience in Finnish buildings;
- Achieve a 75% shift among institutional investors towards low-carbon investment, especially the decarbonisation of buildings and improved climate resilience by 2020;
- Ensure that decision-makers and civil servants in 20 municipalities and cities make investment decisions based on life-cycle planning, taking into account best practices on energy-efficiency implementation to achieve the decarbonisation of buildings.
The project planned to ensure the sustainability of its actions through the establishment of an integrated monitoring process and evaluation strategy, along with supporting structures and advanced reporting. To boost replicability and transferability, the project would contact some 200 stakeholders in Member States via a range of dissemination channels, supported by effective networking initiatives through the project’s participation in 12 conferences, in order to disseminate lessons learned.
Set up by the project, the EconomisE platform has helped coordinate multi-stakeholder action on the development of new projects and business ideas. The platform has also improved cooperation among institutional investors to bring about a shift towards low-carbon investment, explicitly focused on decarbonisation of buildings and improved climate resilience. A further advantage of the platform is that it empowers decision-makers and civil servants to make investment decisions concerning building stock that take into account best practices and life cycle assessment.
The EcomomisE platform has brought together stakeholders from start-ups to municipalities, and institutional investors. Workshops and innovation and matchmaking events organised through the platform generated 28 new investable project ideas and 12 new business ideas. Engaging with institutional investors in this way has also resulted in a change in attitudes. Around two-thirds of these investors reported at the end of the project that they have a positive towards making low carbon investments in building, compared to just 13% at the outset of the project.
Another key outcome was the empowerment of decision-makers and building stock owners such as municipalities through training, guidance and the provision of information. They also received valuable support in energy-efficiency calculations and renovations. A total of 79 municipalities received training, leading to 143 clean-tech investments amounting to €4,572,336. The sharing of best practice, know-how and analysis was thus shown to be an effective means of realising the investment potential in this area.
Finally, the project contributed towards implementing EU climate and energy policy, especially the Effort Sharing Decision/Regulation and the EU Adaptation Strategy. The innovative projects and business ideas created in the framework of EconomisE platform also support the EU’s policy toolkit for competitiveness (EU New Regional Policy) – i.e. Smart Specialisation, which promotes regional economic transformation and investments through innovative activities in selected areas.
Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).