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LEAF: Improving the energy efficiency of multi-occupancy apartment blocks

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LEAF Case Study - Telford Road - EWI install

LEAF case study: Solid wall insulation being installed - Edinburgh, Scotland Image © Changeworks

Low Energy Apartment Futures (LEAF) was a three year project that looked to improve the energy efficiency of multi-occupancy apartment blocks by overcoming the barriers experienced during the retrofit process. The project ran from March 2013 to March 2016 and was funded by the EU’s Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme and local organisations in each country.


Retrofit of multi-occupancy buildings is essential to meet climate change targets and reduce fuel poverty, as approximately 43% of Europeans live in flats[1]. However, they are notoriously difficult to retrofit due to short-comings of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and the challenges of engaging multiple owners.


Over the course of the project, LEAF partners worked with the residents and owners of 24 case study buildings across the partner countries (Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Sweden and the UK). These buildings included a range of ownership models, ages and construction types. The results were varied: some buildings progressed to install energy efficiency measures whereas others are still in the decision-making process. The experience of working with these buildings helped to establish the potential barriers and successes involved in the retrofit process of multi-occupancy buildings. Read more about the case studies on the LEAF website.


Lessons from the case studies were used to develop two free-to-use toolkits which provide advice for property managers, building owners and housing associations looking to embark on a retrofit project:


  • The technical toolkit provides additional information on measures recommended on EPCs including technical considerations and permissions required. For the UK and France, it also includes a tool to create a communal EPC using EPCs from individual apartments.
  • The engagement toolkit provides guidance on how to engage residents, reach decisions and manage the retrofit process.


The case studies also informed a series of local, national and European policy recommendations aimed at improving the retrofit process for multi-occupancy buildings. These recommendations primarily involve: improving the quality of EPCs, stimulating demand through minimum energy efficiency standards, developing the supply chain and improving the design of energy efficiency subsidy schemes.


An overview of the project is available as a summary in the Project Brochure or in detail in the LEAF final report; both can be downloaded here.


The LEAF project has been featured in a BUILD UP webinar; it is available on demand here.


For more information about the project visit the LEAF website.



[1] Source: Eurostat, European Union (2011). This refers to the 27 EU member states.


Image © Changeworks