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Policy Guide

How to combine policies and measures for energy efficiency in buildings

This guide is designed to help you find an appropriate combination of policies and measures to gradually make Ultra-Low-Energy buildings the standard in new buildings and to achieve high energy savings in building retrofit and operation.

In our recommended package, bigEE distinguishes between two sets of Specific policies and measures for energy efficiency in new or existing buildings (see below) and the common Governance Framework policies needed to guide and enable the former, shown in the graph here.

Value chains for buildings are complex, and many different actors have to work together to achieve an optimal outcome. Therefore, policies and measures need to be combined to a well-designed package. We recommend a combination here that has been proven by analysing what advanced countries do and what market actors need. However, policymakers need to consider demand- and supply-side actors, national circumstances and the most important market barriers in their country and then select their priorities. Each type of instrument has a certain aim, such as to disallow energy-wasting technologies, promote the most energy-efficient ones, or stimulate innovation. The impact of well-combined policies is therefore often larger than the sum of the individual expected impact.

Overall Policy Package for Energy Efficiency in Buildings

The graph presents policy interaction and dynamics towards making Ultra-Low-Energy buildings the standard in new buildings.

Mandatory Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) are the most important policy for energy efficiency in new build, to prevent the construction of energy-wasting buildings. To promote progress towards Low-Energy and finally Ultra-Low-Energy or even Plus-Energy Buildings, policies are needed that help to tackle the substantial information deficits and financing barriers, such as Financial Incentives, Financing, and Energy Performance Certification, as well as Education and Training for building professionals. RD&D and BAT promotion will drive the development of more innovative and energy-efficient building concepts.

Note: In our footer you can find the full analysis on which policies to combine and how they should work together to improve energy efficiency in new and existing buildings

The graph presents policy interaction and dynamics towards achieving high energy savings in renovation of existing buildings.

Improving energy efficiency in existing buildings has two dimensions: Achieving very energy-efficient and comprehensive, “deep” retrofits whenever a building is renovated, and increasing the rate at which buildings undergo such “deep” energetic renovations. Even more than for new build, policies need to tackle the substantial information deficits and financing barriers, such as Individual Advice and Coaching, Financial Incentives, and Financing, as well as Education and Training for building professionals. Other instruments need to create awareness, ensure compliance, and ensure savings during operation.

Note: In our footer you can find the full analysis on which policies to combine and how they should work together to improve energy efficiency in new and existing buildings


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