Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, the QualitEE project aims to increase investment in energy efficiency services in the building sector within the EU and improve trust in service providers. This will be achieved by developing quality assessment criteria and implementing quality assurance schemes.
The QualitEE consortium comprises 12 partner organisations covering 18 European countries, an expert advisory board including the European standards body CEN/CENELEC, and 59 supporters from major financial institutions, government bodies, trade associations and certification bodies.
The European Union has recently set a binding energy efficiency target of 27% by 2030, yet it has identified that there is currently insufficient investment in energy efficiency from energy users and financial institutions to achieve this target.
Energy efficiency services are expected to make a key contribution to the achievement of targets in public, commercial and large residential buildings.
The specific challenges for energy efficiency services have been identified by European Union backed initiatives – including the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group and the Transparense project – to be:
-Lack of trust from clients and financial institutions in energy efficiency services and providers
-Lack of skills and assessment tools to identify whether energy efficiency services are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ quality
-Individual energy efficiency services are too small to access cost effective finance
-Heterogeneity / lack of standardisation of energy efficiency services makes them…
-Difficult for investors to compare and assess quality
-Difficult for financial institutions to aggregate into large funds to access cost effective finance
-Energy efficiency services are complex causing…
-Difficulty in assessing technical risk, leading to hesitation in investment decisions
-High due diligence costs that harm the investment case
-Financial institutions receive too much irrelevant information
QualitEE builds upon the Transparense project, which established the European Code of Conduct for Energy Performance Contracting in 2014. Signed by over 200 EPC providers and facilitators, the code defines the basic values and principles that are considered fundamental for EPC projects and represents an important first step to increasing transparency and trust for these services.
However, the code does not provide the assessment criteria or verification procedures that are required to enforce the quality of EPC. The QualitEE project looks to address this, whilst broadening the scope to include a wider range of energy efficiency services.
-Publish technical quality assessment criteria and assessment processes – core criteria harmonised across Europe with National adaptations – View draft European criteria here
-Implement quality assurance schemes and establish sustainable business cases for quality assurance with active promoters to ensure long term market uptake beyond the end of the project in 2020
-In order to achieve these objectives the project will:
-Engage key stakeholders via national discussion platforms, training seminars and extensive market research surveys
-Test quality criteria and assessment processes in pilot projects
-Deliver focussed training seminars to increase knowledge and skills
-Publish guidelines on minimum financial information, in order to expedite investment decisions
-Publish a procurement handbook to ensure uptake of quality criteria in projects from the outset