The step by step guide and a decision support tool for financing the renovation of public buildings

Written by Eurac Research

Improving energy efficiency in public buildings is at the core of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD). The eCentral project has developed a step by step guide to support key stakeholders in the renovation of public buildings and a decision support tool to identify the right financial scheme. 

Five step by step guides have been developed in different languages. Each guide refers to the respective legislative and public procurement contexts of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia which are the countries directly involved in the project. Moreover, the project has developed an English guide which refers to the European context of EU regulations and public tenders. This Step by step guide on how to turn public buildings into nZEB standard aims to support public authorities to identify and manage the renovation process. It identifies the main important phases of the renovation process, from the early stage of the project development, through the design and construction phase, up to the service life of the buildings. Moreover, it collects the most important EU regulation that establish the rules for the public tenders and for achieving the nZEB targets. 

The guide also aims to boost the investments in a standardized process managed by the public know-how. In relation to the professional (technical) and economic know-how of the public authorities and final needs, different approaches can be chosen to (i) develop the project design, (ii) organize the construction phase, and (iii) manage the service life of the building. The level of involvement of each stakeholder from public authorities, building experts (architects, engineers, constructors) or energy/development agencies, ESCOs, SMEs - equipment manufacturers, financing institutions, can be different case by case. Public tenders are the crucial tools for the success of the project renovation and final target achievement: how they are defined and managed can have an impact on the later stages of the process.

The public tender will include all the specification, the rules and the roles of each stakeholders and can cover from one to all phases of the renovation process (design, construction and operation phase). It is important that all requirements (energy saving, energy performance, RES, indoor quality, costs, …) will be well defined in term of indicators, values, calculation method (tools) and verification process to facilitate a strong and robust investment. 

Concerning the decision support tool, the aim is to facilitate the decision on the type of financing schemes to implement during the renovation project. The first point to consider is to estimate the level of equity rate for the project. It is suggested to have major public monetary resources before commencing a PPP model to keep financial part of the project in public responsibility. If public resources are not enough to implement the project, crowdfunding or subsidies can be used to increase equity. Then, the technical and economic know-how, the number of human resources, and the risk spread must be assessed. Moreover, the eCentral project has tested various financial instruments, such as public-private partnerships (PPP), energy performance contracting (EPC) and crowdfunding in Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia.