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Countries can co-operate in many ways to learn from each others’ experience in policy-making and policy success. The opportunities for international co-operation are diverse. For example, countries can jointly develop energy performance standards for buildings so as to create regional markets with higher volumes and economies of scale. Furthermore they can jointly develop test procedures for the energy consumption and create harmonised energy labels. Countries can also co-operate in professional training and in the development and application of evaluation methods for energy savings, costs, and benefits.
Since energy efficiency is a universal opportunity and climate change is a global problem, international co-operations seem to be an appropriate way to tackle both. Countries can learn from each others’ experience in stimulating energy efficiency. Countries can support, influence and motivate each other to find appropriate ways to reduce the energy consumption with both technologies and policies.
International co-operations can have different aims, including jointly developed policies and measures. Examples, which are also the focus of this file, are the joint development of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), the establishment of harmonised energy efficiency labels, standardised test procedures, the joint development of evaluation methods, the joint planning and implementation of training and information programmes, knowledge exchange and management, and the development of international partnerships and organisations such as IPEEC or the IEA to structure and organise energy efficiency efforts. Joint demonstration programmes or energy efficiency awards are another opportunity for international co-operation.
National circumstances should be taken into account and policies and technologies should be adopted in accordance with the social, cultural, economic, climatic and geographical environment. Therefore a comprehensive assessment of the potential barriers should be conducted.
The participation in these different projects can be open for all interested countries or limited to certain countries. Countries can be categorised by geographic, economic or other factors. Usually such co-operations are initiated by an interested group of countries, who want to benefit from shared ideas and experiences and set international policy principles in order to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and to avoid disadvantages. Some co-operations give less developed countries access to energy efficiency related information and technologies as well as to finance for covering the cost of technology/knowledge transfer.
Given the various aims of international co-operation and the different designs of policies and measures, it is difficult to evaluate its general saving potentials. Generally, countries that participate in international co-operations can benefit from knowledge exchange and can reduce information and search costs.
Worldwide implementation status
International co-operation on energy efficiency has long taken place in many ways.
Co-operations of countries exist all over the world. They range from shared knowledge platforms like bigEE, international institutions that structure and organise energy efficiency efforts (from specialised organisations such as IPEEC and REEGLE to initiatives of international organisations such as UNEP and UNDP), and the joint development of concrete policies (standards, trainings, labels, etc.; examples include MED-ENEC, Energy+, and Energy Star).
International co-operations are by way of their nature trans-national. However, not only national governments can engage in such co-operation but also local governments, as with the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) or the Clinton 40 Cities, science, and private entities.
International co-operation can address the residential, industry, commercial, and public sector or combinations thereof.
International cooperation can address all kinds of buildings and equipment. The covered building components and buildings depend on the aim of the policy and the design and implementation. For example an international organisation covers a range of several technologies but a training programme can focus on e.g. energy-efficient windows only.
The target group and its involvements highly depends on the aims of the respective international co-operation.
In order to enhance its effectiveness, international co-operation that focuses on transfer of, or knowledge exchange on new technologies and policies needs to consider the enabling environment, which a comprehensive policy package can provide. The co-operation of countries will then contribute to improvement of the policy package in a country or elements thereof. This may concern both the governance framework that consists of targets and planning, an adequate infrastructure and funding mechanisms, and the sector-specific policies for energy efficiency in buildings of regulation, information and advice, financial incentives and financing, training, RD&D, and stimulation of the ESCO business for buildings.
The co-operation activities can thus include all kinds of specific policies which can achieve better results with international partnerships. These specific policies are for example minimum energy performance standards, energy labels, information campaigns, research and development, public sector programmes, and financial incentives.
The following pre-conditions are necessary to implement international co-operation:
Agencies or other actors responsible for implementation
An agency or institution that coordinates the international co-operation needs to be appointed or set up. An example is the International Energy Agency, IPEEC, OLADE or the SEAD initiative.
Depending on the design of the cooperation and the relating policies and measures a funding scheme needs to be available for the international co-operation.
No specific test procedures are needed to implement international co-operation in general. However, the co-operation may have or include the objective to develop or harmonise test procedures.
Steps of design and implementation depend on the aims of international co-operation. In general, it may include the following steps:
• Specifying the subject and scope of the international co-operation (it is often defined by the funding body)
• Defining the targets, specific objectives, and methods (also including monitoring and evaluation) of the project
• Identifying the participating countries and country partners, as well as their roles and contributions
• Monitoring by both project team and funding body
• Dissemination of monitoring results
Within international co-operations, quantified targets, such as potential energy saving, CO2 reduction, numbers of pilots, etc. can and should be defined. These should be appropriate regarding the scope and objective of the co-operation.
Monitoring depends on the aims of the international co-operation. For example, if the international co-operation aims to develop energy performance standards, the progress in their development and implementation in the partner countries is the major aspect to be monitored. Depending on the design and scope of the specific policies and measures these impacts should be evaluated.
For the future design of the international co-operation it is important to evaluate the interactions and processes. It is essential to figure out the barriers that occurred during the co-operation and to find solutions.
Thus, evaluation also varies depending on the focus of the international co-operation. The co-operation and the advantages and disadvantages should be analysed. This includes the management, the costs and the results.
Design for sustainability aspects
International co-operation such as promoting energy-efficient or green buildings can address other sustainable aspects (e.g. resource efficiency, health, etc.) than energy efficiency. Policies to increase the energy efficiency can also add additional water and other resource efficiency, or health aspects
International co-operation that creates regional markets with higher volumes and economies of scale for low energy buildings can open up job opportunities in the field of energy efficiency products and service.
If countries co-operate in the field of energy efficiency, this might also intensify their relations in other policy fields. International co-operations on energy efficiency can have an influence on economic relations (technology export/ import).
The possible energy savings highly depend on the focus of the international co-operation. Each international co-operation with its specific policy or measure can and should have a specific target of potential energy savings.
However, for some co-operations it may be difficult to estimate the potential savings (for example, if they concern exchange on training or education campaigns).
The costs of international cooperation will vary among different projects. Typically, they are in the range of a few 100,000 to several million Euros.
For example, the total investment of the passive house demonstration project, as a result of the collaboration of German Energy Agency (DENA) and the Chinese Center of Science and Technology of Construction (CSTC) associated with The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD), was 707,482 EUR.
However, the shared experience and the transfer of already implemented policies like minimum energy performance standards and energy labels can lower the costs of designing and implementing a policy significantly.
Given the large differences among different international co-operation projects, it is difficult to estimate their net benefits.
The passive houses in the collaborative demonstration project of DENA and CSTC consume about 75 percent less energy than the average new buildings in China. This project also served as a basis for the provincial passive house code and for the further improvement of the national building code in the mid term (DENA, 2013).
|There currently are no good practice policy examples at this time.|