Lessons learned from common and best practices

The analysis of mechanisms found in the available best practice tools for the promotion of low carbon housing renovation, revealed the importance of the following topics: consulting by the EP assessor, reference to further information in EPCs, communication, participation and networking, training, incentives, quality and control/inspection. Lessons learnt during the review and research can be summarised as follows :

  • Tools have to be integrated in wider policy programs that include communication and participation, in order to guarantee the higher impact.
  • As it was noticed in the survey, a systematic assessment of the impact of the tools has only been carried out in a few rare cases. It is however essential to encompass monitoring and evaluation, comprising appreciation by target groups, from the beginning of the action.
  • The communication component is essential for the success of the tools. A fair communication acted by skilled energy assessors convincing owners to make investments, is a powerful mechanism for stimulating the market. Promotion of available tools (e.g. by a recognizable logo), dissemination of best practices demonstration projects and campaigns advising home owners on how to take action on proposed renovation measures can be persuasive instruments.
  • Regular inspections should be integrated in certification procedures, especially for major renovation, thereby assuring quality and reducing risks.
  • Insurance arrangements and enhanced contracting can solve common customer's discontent about poor quality of renovation works and lack of compliance of the final product with manufacturer's specifications, and can therefore create the necessary conditions for collaborative working amongst several actors involved in renovation processes.
  • Financial incentives can make a relevant contribution when they are connected to the results of audits, to mandatory uptake of measures and to certification of the improvements realized after renovation (i.e. EP class upgrade). Control mechanisms, previewed from the beginning of the action, are to assure quality of implementation and monitor realized energy efficiency gains.

Focusing on the role that different actors involved can taken on, it is clear that energy agencies and research organizations can play an essential role in supporting authorities and policy makers to develop, implement and improve some of the exemplary mechanisms mentioned in this study. Efforts are required for the development of educational programmes for trades, assessors and energy experts imposing higher standards, and in monitoring effectiveness of various actions and tools. Moreover, energy agencies and research organizations can contribute in creating networks to disseminate and implement the tools. Furthermore, the building renovation industry is to be encouraged to integrate tools for quality assured renovation processes and uptake of EPC recommendations in their standard methods of work, making these better fitted and oriented towards implementing energy policy. As shown by a variety of tools examined in the survey, building industry associations can take on a key role by issuing requirements and recommendations towards their members, directing the building low-carbon renovation market towards a higher quality.