The renovation of buildings can bring economic and financial benefits while improving the health and wellbeing of owners, tenants and communities, and contributing to the targets and objectives of energy efficiency.
In order to achieve a climate-neutral building stock, 90% of existing buildings in the EU with no renovation or superficial ‘shallow’ renovation should be deeply renovated or demolished by 2030, at a rate of 3-4% of renovated buildings per year.
As part of the Commission’s new Fit for 55 package, a set of policy proposals to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 were published last week, including the revision of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).
The revised EED calls for further actions that support market development and stimulate the role of market intermediaries such as one-stop-shops (OSS).
One-stop-shops: an approach to boost building renovation rate
According to a study published by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, OSS could be the integrated solution helping owners and tenants to overcome difficulties and start a renovation or refurbishment process.
OSS are single suppliers who could be in charge of an entire renovation project and an interface between the beneficiary and the entire supply chain and decision-making process, including financial and legal aspects, monitoring and delivery.
The viability of 63 OSS in 22 Member States, 57 of which were operational in 2020, was analysed in order to see whether they can be a successful concept or model in decarbonizing the European building stock.
The study also focuses on how OSS engage with vulnerable groups (such as tenants of social housing) by assisting them mostly with financial advice, highlighting the OSS’s contribution to alleviate energy poverty.
Closing the gaps between fragmented suppliers and reluctant customers
According to the study, OSS touch on the main motivators of owners for energy renovation, among which are saving money, creating general and thermal comfort, a healthier indoor environment, protecting the environment and social pressure to make renovations.
The OSS have the skills and the resources to overcome some of the key barriers that owners face, mainly the lack of technical knowledge, financial resources, skills to arrange a complex renovation or knowledge of the procedures involved.
OSS have also a large set of strategies to reduce the number of dropout moments when owners lose momentum, do not finally engage in the renovation process, and leave the ‘customer journey’.
A market with latent potential
Around 2/3 of the EU Member States have at least one OSS in their renovation markets, with current levels of EU-wide activity estimated to be around 100,000 projects per year.
This represents about 4-5% of the renovation projects. If the OSS renovation volume was to increase by 10% per year in the next 10 years, then OSS could cover about 5-6% of the renovation volume of 35 million buildings by 2030 (the target set in the Renovation Wave Strategy) at low social costs, integrating private investments with client-friendly methods.
The renovation market employed 882,900 people in 2015. The share of the renovation works has overtaken the share of new buildings related works, with the tipping point occurring in 2009 during the financial and construction sector crisis.
Estimates about the full renovation market size of the EU revolve around 100 billion EUR per year. The residential sector represented 65% of this potential and 45% belonged to the tertiary building sector.
Different OSS models, same support needs
The study identified six types of OSS: Government-driven (local or regional), Industry driven, Energy Service Company (ESCO) based, Facilitator, Cooperative, and Store.
22 of the identified OSS are government driven, 18 are run by consultants or other private small organisations, 9 of them are subsidiaries of industrial actors, and 2 of them work as shops that have an OSS section.
The report also identifies structural, legislative, financial, and information policies at different levels that could contribute to energy renovations through OSS such as Horizon Europe; Climate and energy targets; Renovation pledges; Administration and public sector leading by example in successful building renovation; Energy efficiency policy framework; Local grants or tax reliefs etc.