Tackling energy poverty in North-West Europe brings several benefits to the region, including savings for the health sector, better air quality, lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as increased comfort and well-being. With this objective in mind, the Climate Active Neighbourhoods (CAN) project addresses underprivileged neighbourhoods that require renovation in municipalities and regions of varying size throughout the territory. The project’s bottom-up approach encourages NWE residents to find appropriate financing for investing in energy efficiency measures, which leads, in the end, to a mix of exemplary refurbishments, resident investment schemes and behavioural change. The topic of energy poverty was not one of the project's main objectives but was later identified through the cooperation of the partners – learning from the approach of Brest metropole (FR) – who came to see it as a very pressing issue. The partners from Arnhem (NL), Brest (FR), Hastings (UK) and Plymouth (UK) especially are now working towards implementing specific measures to tackle energy poverty and to offer support to residents affected by it.
“A social worker in the district put me in contact with the project. With empathy and without judgement, she examined the whole home. The most urgent work was carried out within a few weeks. The efficiency of this networking between different stakeholders has allowed me to spend winter in the warmth”, says a Brest resident who received an energy visit from CAN.
Thanks to the project - over 1200 households from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK have been reached, 1500 tons of GHG emissions have been saved, and EUR 14 million of funding have gone into the regions covered by the project. CAN was the winner of the 2019 REGIOSTARS award under the category “Building climate-resilient cities”.
Similarly, another initiative focuses on: “Accelerating Condominium Energy (ACE) Retrofitting”, as its name suggests. By targeting condominiums (tenements and flatted buildings), the project addresses a solid number of private owners who can benefit from more energy efficient homes while creating significant financial and carbon savings (50-70%). ACE-retrofitting introduces an innovative approach via the use of an online collaborative tool developed by the Paris Climate Agency that intends to overcome legal, human and financial barriers of retrofitting. In France, this free platform has already successfully assisted condominium owners (demand) and building professionals (supply) through an interactive process which cultivates trust relationships and generates direct and indirect jobs (potentially 19 net jobs created per €1M investment).
A total of 165 retrofitting plans were already voted in Paris (FR), Maastricht (NL), Liège (BE), Frankfurt (DE) and Antwerp (BE). Combined, they are expected to lead to an annual decrease of 6488 tons CO2 emissions.
Together, the NWE initiatives are making an impact on citizens' life and also contribute to the implementation of low-carbon strategies that reduce GHG emissions on the territory and facilitate the uptake of low carbon technologies and products by the energy sector.
© Union européenne 2019 / Studio Arnography