Background to Request2Action

The starting point for Request2Action was the huge potential for low carbon retrofit in Europe’s existing housing stock. 

European national energy agencies came together in the project REQUEST (2008-2011) to plan new ways of engaging supply side actors in home energy retrofit. Several pilot projects were conducted, testing new approaches to deliver energy efficiency. These pilot projects were a success, and new opportunities to achieve actual retrofit impact across Europe were identified.

The central insight from Request was that accurate, trustworthy, information is vital to everyone with an interest in the area – home owners themselves, governments and the private sector. And national energy agencies, using data and systems based around Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), are uniquely well placed to provide that information.

It was in that context that Request2Action was planned: a programme to overcome barriers to home energy efficiency. The project focused on making best use of EPC data for different market actors and - in line with the original Request project - bringing together demand (home owners) and supply-side (providers of retrofit services, financers, etc.) actors.

What opportunities did the Request to Action tackled? 
Home owner

Promote home owners trust in suppliers, through making available within the national retrofit action hub a wide network of professional suppliers/installers who can implement the EPC recommendations.

Providing support and advice about retrofit opportunities, namely allowing householders to assess the impact, costs and benefits of different combinations of energy saving measures on their home and family in an easy and understandable way.

There is information that supports landlords in planning improvements to their housing stock, making best use of EPC data alongside other data about their own housing stock.
Policy makers and national energy agencies
The development of effective monitoring regimes for EPCs can play an important role in enabling national governments to understand the energy and carbon saving potential of the housing stock, to plan interventions, stimulate uptake of key measures and track national policy progress in support of National Energy Efficiency Action Plans and progress towards energy efficiency.

Across Europe there is a focus on developing new large scale financing initiatives for retrofit. The key issue for investors is to understand risk and returns. To do that they need to have a clear understanding of the housing stock and  its investing potential. This is information that EPC data at an aggregated level can provide.
Retailers and installers of low carbon retrofit measures
The supply chain for retrofit low carbon measures is highly fragmented and characterised by large numbers of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). Without large marketing budgets and programmes, finding customers and promoting their products can be challenging. Insight from EPC can drive market efficiency, which means higher levels of uptake.
Local Authorities
Municipalities can play an important role in stimulating retrofit action in their communities through their role as community leaders. Local authorities may have access to their own data sets about their building stock (eg. housing surveys): these can be combined with data from EPCs or other sources to identify the best retrofit opportunities – whether in terms of finding homes that offer the most cost-effective energy saving opportunities, or finding the homes where residents are at most risk of fuel poverty.