Retrofitting buildings, training and improved skills, and financing energy efficiency in buildings.
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Brussels, 21 June 2013
TrainRebuild Final Report Reveals that the Key Driver for Demand of Energy Efficiency in Buildings is Closely Linked to Improved Property Value.
The Final Report of the project TrainRebuild will be an invaluable instrument to communicate the retrofit value and return of investment to property owners, thus creating a scale effect of energy efficient renovations in Europe.
"The TrainRebuild project did not only propose an integrated approach to training and communication, but also an instrument to change public and private property owners’ mindset", explained Günther H. Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy in his foreword to the TrainRebuild Final Report.
The recast Energy Performance of Buildings Directive calls for more information and training to assist property owners and their advisors. Currently, there is a lack of independent, authoritative and understandable information on what measures property owners should take to retrofit their buildings and how these solutions can be procured. The complexity of the renovation work and the insufficient knowledge on the best available cost-effective technologies, funding schemes and how to access these are main barriers to the energy efficiency improvement of buildings.
The TrainRebuild project produced training toolkits (for property owners, multi-family building managers, financiers and local authorities), national "service packages" and ran 29 training events in 11 EU countries (Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, UK, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Portugal).
“Identifying the appropriate energy efficiency measures for the rental sector and informing landlords was an invaluable experience and great learning opportunity for all” summed up Martin Russell-Croucher, Director of Sustainability at RICS. “The availability of the toolkit is an ongoing resource for assisting anybody wanting to make energy efficiency improvements to their property”.
The Final Report of the TrainRebuild project highlights the need for:
1. Capacity Building and Training
Capacity building of property owners is crucial to inform and empower them to take the right investment decisions and confidently engage in business relations with professionals. The TrainRebuild training events provided property owners with instruments to assess the benefits of increased energy efficiency of dwellings not only in terms of reduced energy bills, but also increased property capital and rental value, improved comfort and health, tenant retention and reduced void periods. Capacity building for local authorities is needed to provide knowledge and tools for civil servants on the legal, financial, technological and policy aspects of energy efficient retrofitting as well as on awareness raising techniques for property owners.
2. Large Scale Retrofit Programmes
Energy efficiency retrofit represents a relatively long term, high volume and low value investment for financiers which carries a high administrative burden (large number of small loans) as well as high risk as there are no recognised ‘experts’ on which to rely for risk assessment. Mechanisms to aggregate energy efficiency projects could make investments in this field more attractive with potential aggregator roles for municipalities Consistent and long term regulatory framework and funding programmes would further help to realise the cost-effective energy saving potential of the building sector. This is the only way for the industry to realise the market development potential, for financiers to support the process and for property owners to get involved.
3. Partnerships Property Owners - Local Authorities
Property owners should be encouraged to develop community projects and form partnerships with local authorities to facilitate the large scale retrofit and benefit from preferential interest rates as well as economies of scale. General guidelines could develop the skills set of property owners and local authorities to facilitate the initiation, implementation and overall management of such community projects.
4. Specialised and Independent Advice
Property owners require independent and trusted guidance from energy advisors specialised in the building sector. Local authorities and property owners associations should be consulted about the training and accreditation of experts to ensure that assessors will provide comprehensive and relevant information on the most efficient technologies, available funding instruments, lists of certified building professionals and relevant legislation.
TrainRebuild identified several best practices, champions and innovative tools in EU Member States. In addition, voluntary commitments have been taken by property owners associations to further disseminate the learning points gained during the project and continue to assist property owners on retrofit projects. By organising further training events, property owners associations will foster the uptake of energy efficient buildings and reach around 3 million property owners by 2020 all over Europe.
One of the lasting legacy of TrainRebuild is a European Forum on Training for Retrofitting. The Forum is an action-based meeting place to facilitate the exchange of established best practices and innovative solutions related to training for retrofitting. The key feature of the Forum is its holistic approach in involving the whole buildings chain (with a focus on the demand side) in a common, results-oriented process. The Forum partners are working on a roadmap of actions to be taken at ground level to create a scale effect and accelerate the upgrading of the existing EU building stock to best energy performance standards. The next event of the Forum will tentatively take place around 18-19-20 October in Brussels back to back the event: Salon ENERGIE 2013.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
TrainRebuild was an Intelligent Energy Europe supported project that commenced in December 2010; operated for 24 months until its conclusion in December 2012. TrainRebuild was the first EU supported project which had property owners and local authorities at the core of its consortium with the aim to train civil servants and property owners - the demand side of the renovation value chain - and encourage retrofitting in a wide range of residential buildings.
The project TrainRebuild involved the following ten partners: European Partners for the Environment (Coordinator), The Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors, The Architects Council of Europe, International Union of Property Owners, ESG Intelligence Consulting, Regional Environmental Centre, Citta' Studi Biella, Arene Ile-de-France, Belgian Association of Professional Building Managers, Agencia Municipal de Energia de Cascais.
For more information or to obtain a copy of the Final Report, please contact:
TrainRebuild Project Coordinator
European Partners for the Environment
T: +32 (0)486 71 30 26
 As translated from German by the TrainRebuild Consortium Partners
 Directive 2010/31/EU
 Grant Agreement IEE/09/741
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