Sharing the successful results of eCentral project

Written by Eurac Research

February 2021 marks the end of three and half years of eCentral project. The final conference held on 23rd February summed up the successful results and prosperous collaboration among the eight partners among external guests´ presentations and panel discussions. The project allowed the transnational collaboration among five countries and fostered the implementation of solutions for increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy usage in public buildings. Indeed, the main aim of the project was to support key stakeholders and motivate public authorities to renovate public buildings to reach the nZEB standards while testing the applicability of innovative financing.

Successful indicators achieved by the projects are:

  • 1,7 mil EUR of direct investments in CE regions
  • 19 mil EUR of investment in public buildings estimated in project documentation
  • 15 strategic local and regional documents for sustainable energy planning
  • 38 feasibility studies of energy renovation projects worth 20,5 mil EUR. 

The project has tested the financing models in three pilot actions in Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia.

  1. In Croatia the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model has been tested for the construction of a new kindergarten in Sveta Nedelja. The investment and the renovation project which were initially planned have been downsized so the reduced investment was not appealing for a PPP model. However, two feasibility studies have been created to evaluate the PPP model in Marija Bistrica and Stupnik.
  2. In Hungary the Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) model has been tested for the renovation of Vakor kindergarten in Budapest. Some issues with the buildings slowed down the process and reduced the project. Moreover, the low electricity prices in the country did not facilitate the implementation of EPC. The project has eventually applied a traditional financing method.
  3. In Slovenia the crowdfunding model was tested for the renovation of the Lifelong Learning Centre in Velenjie. Crowdfunding for energy renovation projects was a novelty in the country which was also lacking proper legislation on this type of financing. Hence, even though it did not reach the amount of money needed, it was the first project of this type in Slovenia and hopefully it will pave the way for future crowdfunding projects.

eCentral has also developed five innovative technical and financial tools to support public authorities to implement complex energy efficiency projects. The Living EPC Tool which is a web-based tool offering different combinations of cost-optimal measures for reaching nZEB requirements. It also includes the Living EPC Tool Database which enables better insight into the state of the local building stock and renovation potential.

Another tool is the step-by-step guide on how to turn public buildings into nZEB which highlights and explains each phases of the renovation process, including information on nZEB targets, innovative financing schemes and regulation on tenders. The guide is available in five different languages (those of the project). This schematic guide is complemented by the decision support tool which provides information on how to choose between PPP, EPC and crowdfunding during the renovation process with best practice examples.

Finally, the nZEB Living Lab is a user-centred, web-based knowledge sharing platform on nZEB standards, financing schemes, legislation, including insights from the experiences obtained through the project's pilot actions. 

Another way in which eCentral also supported public authorities was through the organization of 13 training events in three target countries, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia. The aim of the trainings was to transfer technical and financial knowledge on nZEB targets and develop new skills. The trainings were based on the nZEB curriculum and have been performed by Regional Working Groups, involving 118 participants.

Within the project, four strategies and roadmaps have also been developed for various levels of governance. In particular, three energy renovation roadmaps for each pilot actions have been created. Then, based on market assessment and the pilot actions, a joint strategy for the market uptake has been developed using a bottom-up approach to identify barriers on national level and to provide concrete policy improvements for Central European regions.

> READ the leaflet with project results