ENSMOV Plus: Sharing knowledge about the full policy cycle of Article 7 EED

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AMSTERDAM — Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) requires Member States to implement an Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme or alternative measures to achieve a cumulative energy savings target over an obligation period (currently 2021-2030).

ENSMOV Plus is a three-year European project of the LIFE programme, launched in December 2022. It builds on the previous ENSMOV project to provide support to public authorities and key stakeholders on the implementation of Article 7 EED.

The activities and resources developed by the project will cover the whole policy cycle, facilitate experience sharing and make knowledge and information easy to find and use. The project will deal with both short-term and concrete issues and longer-term strategic approaches to improving the effectiveness of energy efficiency policies. The challenges of meeting the 2023 recast of the EED and its relation to the wider ‘Fit for 55’ package will be a key focus of the project.

The project will also continue the development of the ENSMOV knowledge sharing platform where all relevant information on Article 7 EED and its implementation is available.

The consortium, of which RAP is part, includes partners from 12 Member States: Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovenia.

Note: with the EED recast, Article 7 will become Article 8. However, as the recast is not yet adopted and most stakeholders are still used to the current numbering, we speak here of Article 7 EED.

For more information on the ENSMOV Plus project:


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A European framework for minimum energy performance standards

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As part of the Fit for 55 legislative package, the European Commission proposed a recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive in December 2021. The proposal introduces a new policy to boost renovation of existing buildings across the European Union: ­minimum energy performance standards (MEPS). MEPS require selected existing buildings to meet a minimum level of energy performance by a future date or trigger point in the building lifecycle, for example at the time of sale or rent. As a next step, EU legislators – the European Parliament and the Council of the EU – have to agree on a common design of the EU framework. Boosting building renovation this decade is vital to meet the EU’s climate goals and to reduce reliance on Russian gas. Renovating the worst-performing buildings is also a key strategy to alleviate energy poverty.

RAP’s Louise Sunderland analysed the negotiations already undertaken on this policy as of 4 May 2023, to assess the key factors in each of the negotiators’ texts: the main design features, the impact and the contribution to the 2030 climate target. She identifies the important issues and options for decision-makers who are looking to introduce a workable MEPS framework, to deliver on the goals of the Renovation Wave Strategy, within the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

Zestaw narzędzi do wdrożenia pomp ciepła globalnie i na masową skalę

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Pompy ciepła to jedna z kluczowych technologii na drodze transformacji energetycznej, już niedługo stanie się najważniejszą technologią dla dekarbonizacji ogrzewnictwa. Obecnie zdecydowana większość ciepła do gospodarstw domowych jest dostarczana przez paliwa kopalne. W celu promowania i zachęcania do instalowania pomp ciepła na całym świecie, w ramach wspólnego projektu Regulatory Assistance Project, CLASP i Global Buildings Performance Network, opracowany został niniejszy poradnik w zakresie pomp ciepła, który zawiera zestaw narzędzi i porad dotyczących ich stosowania, przeznaczonych dla decydentów zainteresowanych promowaniem tej niezbędnej technologii.

Struktura niniejszego poradnika jest luźno oparta na strukturze greckiej świątyni, z fundamentem i filarami, wspierającymi szybko rozwijający się rynek pomp ciepła. Interaktywny zestaw narzędzi (zawierający klikalne linki) zawiera również krótkie filmy wideo, które przedstawiają kluczowe aspekty każdego istotnego elementu.

Niniejszy zestaw narzędzi stanowi syntezę różnych sposobów promowania wdrażania pomp ciepła oraz przewodnik po projektowaniu najlepszych pakietów polityk. Kompletny pakiet polityk musi uwzględniać fundament, ale także brać pod uwagę każdy filar. Przedstawiamy szczegóły, przykłady i potencjalne problemy oraz rozwiązania w ramach różnych omawianych elementów polityk.


Fundament tego zestawu narzędzi to potrzeba koordynacji i komunikacji wokół działań, strategii i polityk dotyczących pomp ciepła.

W filarze 1 rozważane są instrumenty ekonomiczne i rynkowe. Instrumenty te są zasadniczo związane z równoważeniem ekonomiki różnych technologii grzewczych w kierunku czystych opcji, takich jak pompy ciepła, tak, aby ich koszty w całym okresie użytkowania były niższe niż alternatywy oparte na paliwach kopalnych.

Filar 2 dotyczy wsparcia finansowego. W ramach tego filaru identyfikujemy trzy kluczowe elementy wsparcia finansowego dla pomp ciepła – dotacje i ulgi podatkowe, pożyczki oraz rozwiązania typu heat-as-a-service (ciepło jako usługa).

Filar 3 uwzględnia regulacje i standardy. Przyglądamy się kodeksom budowlanym i normom dotyczącym budynków, normom dotyczącym urządzeń oraz planowaniu i strefowaniu ogrzewania.

Aby zbudować skuteczny pakiet polityk dotyczących pomp ciepła, decydenci muszą wziąć pod uwagę tak fundament, jak również każdy z filarów, dostosować je do specyfiki lokalnej, wdrożyć oraz monitorować skuteczność ich funkcjonowania.

A Chance to Transform Weatherization Programs

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Across the country, state and local governments are awaiting a windfall investment from the federal government to modernize infrastructure and ensure energy security. Everything from housing to bridges, airports and the electric grid will receive an injection of funds to provide safer, more efficient, more equitable and more climate-aligned basic services to everyone living in the United States. In the housing sector alone, historic and new programs will be receiving billions of dollars instead of their usual millions. States Building Modernization Legislative Toolkit will receive between a threefold and thirtyfold increase in funds through the historic Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and millions of dollars from the State Energy Program and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. And in the coming years, states will have access to over $50 billion in federal funding to invest in energy projects for buildings thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with the potential to transform the building retrofit industry. How states use, leverage and stack these weatherization and energy security funds could have a monumental impact on housing infrastructure, families’ daily lives and our climate. This is an opportunity states cannot let slip by.

Compounding Burdens

Recent years have more glaringly exposed the compounding economic, health care and environmental burdens that are constantly knocking on the door of U.S. households:

  • Nearly 52% of low-income households reduced or forwent expenses for basic necessities, such as medicine or food, in order to pay an energy bill for at least one month in the last year.
  • Thirty-four million U.S. households reported facing energy insecurity at some point in 2020, with a disproportionate impact on low-income households, renters, Black and Hispanic households and households with children.
  • Some 34.6 million U.S. homes contain lead-based paint.
  • Over 700 million metric tons of climate pollution are emitted from the direct combustion of fossil fuels in U.S. homes every single year.
  • Children in homes with gas stoves have a 42% higher risk of experiencing asthma symptoms.
  • Lower-income populations and communities of color may be disproportionately impacted by risk factors such as a greater likelihood of living in an older home and increased exposure to air pollution, causing higher rates of asthma.

These combined drains on families require holistic solutions: We must act with more urgency and ambition to make housing healthier and more energy-efficient. A keystone tool to accomplish this is hiding in plain sight — evolved weatherization assistance programs that can be expanded to deliver whole-home retrofits.

State of Play and Ongoing Innovation in Program Delivery

Since its inception in the 1970s, the federal WAP has delivered tangible energy efficiency interventions (energy audits, envelope upgrades, appliance replacement, etc.) to qualifying households across the nation and has resourced and trained a network of state programs and local organizations. Despite its successes, WAP has shortcomings. Homes that have faulty wiring, structural problems, or mold, lead or other toxins present may be deferred from WAP — meaning that weatherization upgrades cannot be done until those other issues are addressed, which may require a new program and new point of contact. WAP funds cannot always be leveraged for electrical upgrades and structural repair or to address mold and dampness issues, nor can the funds be used to directly assist households with burdensome energy costs.

To properly address the systemic burdens in the housing stock, we need products and programs that deliver whole-home retrofits to low-income households. A whole-home retrofit delivers five critical products:

  1. Health and safety interventions.
  2. Weatherization and energy efficiency measures.
  3. Appliance electrification.
  4. Energy assistance.
  5. Renewable energy (where possible, including on-site generation or community renewables).

These whole-home retrofits will be best delivered by a “one-stop-shop” program that guides a participant through the entire process of connecting with technical assistance and contractors, getting verification and, critically, securing financial support. To deliver this model, federal, state and local governments, utilities and other providers need to be working together to ensure that funding sources can be stacked and braided together — not running competing programs that create barriers to access. In a whole-home retrofit approach, WAP funds could be seamlessly combined and delivered to a household in one package with lead remediation funds, federal tax credits, local utility rebates, climate change mitigation and resilience funds, energy bill assistance funds, health care funds and more.

Momentum in States and Local Governments

The whole-home retrofit model is being tried by states and cities across the country, which are starting to launch programs that layer funds together and deliver combinations of those five key products. Philadelphia’s Built to Last program braids together 20 funding streams to deliver whole-home retrofits. The D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility launched a low-income decarbonization pilot to electrify and provide solar access to participants’ homes. California’s Low-Income Weatherization Program has provided efficiency and electrification measures, solar, health and safety retrofits, and energy assistance benefits to thousands of households. The Maryland General Assembly passed a bipartisan bill in 2022 that was ultimately vetoed by the governor but would have required better leveraging of housing health and safety improvement dollars and utility energy efficiency incentive programs, established a specific energy savings target for utility-funded energy efficiency programs, and convened a new interagency task force to chart a course to retrofit all low-income housing over the next decade. The federal government is taking note, too: The WAP initiative announced millions of dollars for the Weatherization Readiness Fund for states to use to address health and safety concerns that would otherwise result in a deferral. And the Department of Housing and Urban Development recently followed through on a federal grant to initiate better coordination between lead remediation and WAP programs.

These examples indicate that braiding together existing programs can work, but doing this requires effort and will. Legislative direction can provide helpful guidance to state agencies. Legislation in California called for improved coordination among state agencies for weatherization. Washington state legislation expanded WAP and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at the state level with health additions, known as WAP Plus Health. Such policy direction helps fill the gaps in the federal WAP program to provide the most benefit to building occupants.

Where Do We Go From Here?

A number of factors are driving an evolution in weatherization policies, including a recognition of increasing energy and housing costs and the numerous benefits from a holistic approach to improving buildings, particularly for low- and moderate-income residents. Consequently, we expect to see state policy efforts building upon successes in other states and innovating to respond to the needs of families. Besides the holistic, one-stop-shop and coordinated approach we describe above, states could look to policy solutions that feature:

  • Accounting of non-energy benefits in any cost-benefit tests applied to weatherization programs, including but not limited to health benefits, comfort benefits and environmental and climate benefits.
  • Investments in workforce development programs and strong labor standards for careers in the building, construction, efficiency, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning sectors.

The growth of the whole-home-retrofit approach could not be coming at a more critical moment. As a result of the American Rescue Plan Act, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the IRA, billions of dollars are flowing to states and local governments to invest in communities and families. The federal WAP received an investment of over $3 billion; $500 million was allocated to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program; hundreds of millions are going to LIHEAP to help with direct energy assistance and weatherization; nearly $9 billion will be delivered to states for new efficiency and electrification rebate programs; and so much more.

With this influx of funding, states can begin early preparation by creating cross-agency task forces and public stakeholder engagement processes, allowing them to plan out and then implement retrofit programs that are collaborative, whole-home, human centered and climate aligned. Now is the opportunity for states and local governments to think creatively, innovate, leverage existing WAP networks and braid together sources of funding for more holistic approaches to housing sector retrofit programs.

ENSMOV Plus shares experience to meet the challenge of higher energy savings targets

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AMSTERDAM — Energy savings and efficiency have become central topics in the last years, having faced multiple crises. This has made many reconsider how they consume energy individually and globally. In European Green Deal, the EU is clearly increasing its climate ambition and aims at becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) is a key element of the European Union’s Fit for 55 Package. To meet the EU’s 55% net emissions reduction target and address energy poverty, national energy efficiency policy measures will be essential complements to EU law, such as eco-design and carbon pricing regulations.

With the EED recast, Article 7 will soon become Article 8, and will keep requiring Member States to achieve final energy savings. The changes brought by the EED recast are under final negotiations. What is clear already is that, likely from 2024 on, the rate of energy savings required will significantly increase, a share of these savings will need to be delivered amongst energy poor households (or other priority groups), and savings from new fossil fuel technologies would be excluded.

This means that Member States will need to ramp up the ambition of their policy measures, target specific end-users and shift the focus of technology support towards low-carbon options. These ambitious changes are entirely consistent with the 55% target, the EU Green Deal and the Renovation Wave, but they are also challenging. To meet these challenges, they can build on successes of the first Art. 7 EED obligation period (2014-2020) and continue to improve evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V) practices to provide confidence in the impacts of policy measures.

This is why the ENSMOV Plus project will therefore play a central role by helping Member States to better navigate policy development, implementation and evaluation, and to learn from each other. This will be done through experience-sharing activities and resources tailored to the achievement of Article 7 EED objectives. Launched in December 2022, ENSMOV Plus is a three-year European project of the LIFE programme and builds on the previous ENSMOV project with a strong consortium that includes national energy agencies, national associations of stakeholders and research institutes from 12 Member States: Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Slovenia.

Based on the Commission’s report on the achievement of the 2020 energy efficiency targets, 21 Member States achieved their headline target in terms of final energy consumption not to exceed in 2020. And the EU headline energy efficiency target for 2020 was achieved. But this was partly due to COVID and the resulting lower energy demand,” says Jean-Sébastien Broc, coordinator of ENSMOV Plus at IEECP.  

“The picture is even more mixed when looking at the Article 7 target about cumulative energy savings over 2014-2020: 14 Member States met their energy savings, with seven of them overachieving their target by more than 20% (and even sometimes by more than 50%). Whereas ten other Member States did not meet their energy savings obligation, with five of them missing their target by 25% or more. The over-achievements show that doing more is feasible, whereas the under-achievements remind us that not all policies have been successful. Every country and stakeholder can learn from what happened in other countries, provided that experience is analysed and discussed. This is what ENSMOV and now ENSMOV Plus are doing. In addition to make state-of-the-art knowledge easy to find and acquire, the project provides a unique forum for public bodies and private stakeholders from all EU27 countries to exchange.”

National authorities and market stakeholders have welcomed the opportunity to share experiences, and discuss challenges and solutions related to energy efficiency obligation schemes (EEOSs) and alternative measures. The previous ENSMOV project organised more than 100 events (EU & regional workshops, webinars and national meetings), gathering a total of more than 1,500 unique participants.

ENSMOV Plus will provide solutions to facilitate and expand sharing of knowledge and experience amongst Member States for the implementation of policies under Art.7 EED, and will further develop the already existing knowledge transfer platform.

For more information on the ENSMOV Plus project:

Axelle Gallerand, Communication lead
[email protected]
+33 640 606 673

Clean heat standards: New tools for the fossil fuel phaseout in Europe

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Europe is heavily reliant on fossil fuels in the heating sector. The EU has set itself a goal of deploying 30 million additional heat pumps by 2030. To advance the transition away from fossil fuels in the heating sector, the EU and its Member States have recently proposed or agreed on several heat-related policies. This includes an emissions trading scheme for greenhouse gases from heating and transport. The European Commission also announced that it will propose a revision of ecodesign rules for heating appliances, meaning a de facto ban on the sale of standalone fossil fuel boilers by 2029.  Despite these positive actions, additional policy measures are needed to achieve rapid, effective and fair decarbonisation of heating. 

This paper explores how novel policy tools called ‘clean heat standards’ could reinforce the EU framework for heat decarbonisation. Clean heat standards place a quantitative target on market actors, such as energy network companies, energy suppliers and manufacturers of heating equipment, to decarbonise heating and provide some flexibility in how to achieve it. This definition captures different tools, including some already discussed or in use in France, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. These tools can complement other clean transition policies, for instance appliance standards and bans can directly rule out certain technologies from the market, while clean heat standards could provide a positive target for market actors to meet.  

Clean heat standards, coupled with complementary policies, can help accelerate the transition away from fossil fuel heating. RAP offers recommendations to help decision-makers make the most of these tools.

‘Hydrogen-ready’ boilers – a lifeline for fossil fuel heating in Europe

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The heating industry is in turmoil. The need to decarbonise energy demand as well as the gas crisis caused by the war in Ukraine have led to governments around Europe setting phase-out dates for the installation of fossil fuel heating systems — something also being considered by EU legislators.

Despite the urgent need to decarbonise and remove fossil fuels, there is a concerning pushback that attempts to preserve the status quo.

Enter ‘hydrogen-ready’ or ‘renewable fuel-ready’ boilers; the fossil fuel heating industry’s latest attempt to slow down clean heating.

During negotiations of the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) some members of the European Parliament proposed that “boilers certified to run on renewable fuels … shall not be considered fossil heating systems”.

‘Renewable fuels’ could include hydrogen or biomass-based fuels, such as biogas and bio-oil – both seen to have only a very limited growth potential.

Rather than require all new buildings to be fitted with clean heating systems, such as heat pumps, or be connected to district heating, the proposal would allow the installation of fossil fuel heating systems as long as they could, in theory, one day also run on renewable fuels.

The problem is that a hydrogen-ready boiler is a fossil fuel boiler as long as there is no green hydrogen to supply it. Currently only 0.04% of global hydrogen production is green hydrogen.

Hydrogen or renewable ready boilers have been proposed by the incumbent EU heating industry despite the fact that the EU’s own analysis points towards primarily heat pumps and district heating as the core clean heating technologies.

Calling it ‘clean’ doesn’t make it so

We have seen such approaches before: when the coal industry came under pressure to reduce emissions it promised ‘clean coal’ using carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Significant policy support was subsequently offered, and clean coal attracted a lot of attention from policymakers and the media. The idea was to build CCS-ready coal plants.

However, after years of pilot projects and substantial public investment in coal power plants with CCS, only a single commercially operating facility remains – one 115 megawatt unit of the Boundary Dam Power Station in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Its primary purpose is to provide a low-cost source of carbon dioxide to the Weyburn Oil Field for enhanced oil recovery. In the U.S., after $163 million in public subsidies awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the last commercially operating coal power plant with CCS, Petra Nova, retired in 2021.

The European Union spent €587 million to support the development of clean coal and has little to show for it. If we can learn anything from the history of clean coal, then it is this: great expectations and promises by incumbent industries do not guarantee good outcomes.

We already know what will work and what won’t

We already know that heating homes with hydrogen is a more expensive, less efficient and more environmentally harmful option than proven alternatives. More than 30 independent studies have come to this conclusion.

Green hydrogen from renewable electricity – the only zero-carbon form of hydrogen – will already stretch production for use in sectors where less costly alternatives are unavailable.

We also know that concerns over resource availability and sustainability limit the growth potential of any biomass-based heat sources. This is indeed recognised within the commission’s own impact assessments behind the Fitfor55 package.

The idea that we will have abundant green hydrogen or clean bioenergy supplies sufficient to replace fossil fuels for heating is fanciful. Yet off-the-shelf heat pumps and district heating can reduce primary energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions immediately and cost-effectively.

The International Energy Agency has said that after 2025, we should stop installing fossil fuel boilers. There is no guarantee, indeed it seems quite unlikely, that hydrogen will ever flow through gas distribution networks and biogas and bio-oil will always be limited.

Therefore, most fossil fuel heating systems installed are likely to always run on fossil fuels. Proven technologies, such as heat pumps and clean district heating, immediately reduce carbon emissions, and with the grid and heating supplies getting cleaner every year, those emission reductions will only increase going forward.

The EPBD could be the solution

We’re still in the middle of an energy crisis primarily linked to gas prices. With so much gas used for heating, the EU has the chance to course-correct this obviously problematic issue with the current EPBD.

Providing the energy industry and member states with clarity and direction on heating is vital to ensure investment is driven into the rapid deployment of actual clean heating technologies. The proposed greenwashing of fossil fuel boilers risks undermining progress in the buildings sector where rapid progress is needed.

The original version of this article appeared in Euractiv

Pump up the volume: Heat pumps for a decarbonised future

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The most powerful tool for rapidly decarbonising heating in buildings and homes is the humble heat pump. How powerful? The International Energy Agency’s recently released analysis estimates that potential global carbon dioxide emissions reductions from heat pumps can reach at least 500 million tonnes in 2030. This would be akin to eliminating the annual CO2 emissions from all of the cars in Europe today.

Evidence from the IEA underscores the ‘why’ of switching to heat pumps while the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), CLASP and the Global Buildings Performance Network offer further insights on the ‘how.’ The three organisations collaborated to create a toolkit to help policymakers develop packages to drive the heat pump market and deployment of the technology at scale.

On 15 December 2022, the Electrification Academy welcomed the lead author of the IEA report, Yannick Monschauer, and two of the heat pump toolkit authors, Richard Lowes of RAP and Matt Malinowski from CLASP. They shared:

We were delighted to have Caroline Haglund Stignor from RISE moderate the session.