Extending the scope of energy efficiency policies via peer-to-peer learning on standardised saving methods

30 Sep 2019

National authorities in the European Union indicate that they would benefit from the pooling of best practices regarding deemed savings methods and standardised calculation formulas. It would assist them in delivering rapidly scalable savings and hence maximise their chances of successfully achieving their national energy savings targets as set under the Energy Efficiency Directive. A recent survey among national stakeholders indicated the sectors and individual energy savings actions that national stakeholders consider as the highest priority for the development and exchange of such standardised calculation methods.

An initiative much welcomed by public authorities 

During a workshop run by the European Copper Institute (ECI) in May 2018, stakeholders in the European Union (EU) already welcomed the idea of improved peer-to-peer learning between Member States on cost-effective standardised energy savings actions implemented under article 7 and article 3 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). Public authorities expressed their interest in an initiative that would support them by facilitating the exchange of experiences and best practices, while leaving the room for tailoring to specific country requirements. As a follow-up to that workshop, and with the help of several partners, the authors of this paper conducted a survey to get more in-depth intelligence on the areas of concern at Member State level. The goal of the survey was to identify the gaps in standardised or deemed savings calculation methodologies for those sectors and individual actions with high energy savings potential and considered a priority by national authorities.

The call for streamlining 

Standardised calculation formulas are based on transparent calculation methodologies, which are easily applicable for market actors to build into their business delivery models and facilitate rapid deployment. Furthermore, they can be designed to ensure true additionality of the energy savings delivered. However, it takes time to establish and verify such methodologies, to develop confidence in the savings delivered and to roll them out at scale. The facilitation of bi-lateral and/or multilateral exchange of standardised calculation methods between Member States, would assist them to deliver rapidly scalable savings and hence maximise their chances of successfully achieving the EED energy savings targets. Methodologies developed in this way could be used on a voluntary basis. They would benefit from the pooling of European expertise and experience, and thus support best practice while avoiding duplicative effort.

Survey outcome: Main issues at stake

An online questionnaire with a set of predefined answers was sent to over 100 individual contacts through various other networks, and it was used on the spot during the eceee 2019 Summer Study. The survey gathered 32 responses from a variety of stakeholders spread across the European Union (EU28). Over half of the respondents represented public authorities (national and regional authorities and their energy agencies responsible for the policies to achieve EED national targets) and energy suppliers. All respondents reported to be personally involved in the implementation of article 7 of the EED and most of them also - to some extent - in the issues and questions regarding article 3. The survey is not to be taken as exhaustive and representative for all EU28 Member States. Nevertheless, the answers provide useful insights about the views and needs of stakeholders.

Overall, the survey clearly confirms the need of national stakeholders for knowledge exchange and for the streamlining of energy savings calculations. The main conclusions can be summarized as follows (a more detailed discussion and the original survey is available at simple request to the authors):

  1. In response to the question for which sectors they would most welcome the development of standardised calculation methods, 78% of the respondents highlighted the public building sector, followed by the residential (75%) and the industrial (72%) sector. Then comes ex aequo at 59% the services and the transport sector (fig.1).


Figure 1 – Three sectors were indicated as high priority by over 70% of the respondents: public buildings, residential sector, and industrial sector.

A second central question in the survey probed for which energy saving technologies (individual actions) the respondents would welcome the development of standardised calculation methods. This list was headed by building energy management systems and building automation and control systems, followed by electric transport (electric vehicles, e-vehicle infrastructure, public transport fleet electrification), refrigeration systems (commercial as well as industrial), lighting (public and street lighting, lighting systems), and heat recovery (fig.2).

Figure 2 – Gap analysis per technology group for the development of standardised calculation methods. 

Regarding the Member States’ needs of calculation methodologies, almost all respondents agreed that they would benefit from knowledge exchange regarding calculation methodologies for estimating realistic deemed savings, and regarding calculation methodologies for estimating scaled savings. A large majority believed that they would benefit from harmonisation of indicative values or estimation methodologies of, for example, the lifetime of savings, in case of standardised measures. The respondents indicated a strong need for a knowledge facility that would provide a better understanding of cost effectiveness of standardised measures, correction factors (e.g. rebound effects), baselines for individual savings actions as well as savings additionality (e.g. free-rider, successive updates in Ecodesign regulations) to allow estimations of more realistic energy savings. 

Conclusion: Building capacity

On the basis of these findings, in September 2019, a consortium submitted a project proposal to the H2020 programme to build capacity through the creation of an open dialogue focusing on streamlining calculation methodologies to estimate the bottom-up savings and to assess the cost-effectiveness of technical energy savings actions. The consortium brings together the policy and technology expertise from institutions such as VITO, IEECP, ISR-UC and CIRCE, with the know-how of implementing energy agencies in ten EU member states (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain). Complemented with two professional bodies (ECI and LGI), the consortium bridges the gap with market players and has a close connection to technology groups, experts, other market actors and industrial stakeholders. The proposal has been designed to target those sectors and actions with high energy savings potential and considered as a priority issue by national public authorities, as revealed by this preliminary survey. The result of this proposal should be known by the end of January 2020.

About the authors

Diedert Debusscher
(MSc) is project manager at the Clean Energy Transition programme of the European Copper Institute (ECI). His focus areas are energy efficiency, energy management and digitalization. He also supports the communication activities for the #DecarbEurope campaign (decarbeurope.org) and the Leonardo ENERGY initiative (leonardo-energy.info). Both communities are managed by ECI, in close cooperation with its international partners. Diedert holds a MSc in Bioengineering, Environmental Technology (Gent University, BE), and specialised in communication and business marketing.


Jean-Sébastien Broc
is a researcher at IEECP (Institute for a European Energy & Climate Policy). He has worked on the analysis, review, and evaluation of energy efficiency programmes and policies for 15 years. He holds an energy engineering degree from INSA Lyon (2003) and a PhD in energy engineering from Mines ParisTech (2006). Recently, he has been a core partner of the EPATEE project about evaluation practices for energy efficiency policies, and the convenor for ISO 50046 about general methods for predicting energy savings. He has published more than 20 papers in scientific journals or peer-reviewed proceedings of international conference, and is a regular reviewer for several scientific journals. He is a board member of Energy Evaluation (formerly IEPPEC) and was co-panel leader for the monitoring & evaluation panel at the ECEEE (European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy) Summer Study in 2009 and 2015. 

Nele Renders
is project manager at the Flemish institute for technology research VITO/EnergyVille.  She has almost 15 years of experience in energy & climate policy support towards regional & national governments as well as EU institutions.  She focuses on projects supporting Member States in the implementation of Article 7 of EED as well as capacity building on ex-post evaluations in the domain of Effort Sharing Legislation (DG Climate Action). Moreover, she was responsible for the effectiveness assessment of Article 17 of EED (DG Energy) and tracking the progress of Member States towards energy efficiency targets (European Environment Agency EEA). Nele holds a MSc in Bioengineering, Environmental Technology from KULeuven (BE).

Sarah Delvaux
is a junior researcher in Energy & Climate Strategy at the Flemish Institute for Technological Research VITO/Energyville. Her areas of study are policy and societal aspects of sustainable socio-technical energy systems. More specifically, since she joined the Institute, she has been involved in European and regional research projects related to citizen energy communities, deep geothermal energy and local multi-energy systems (COMETS, ROLECS, GEOENVI, SmILES), for which she focuses on policy analysis, co-creation, user engagement, user acceptance, and social perception. Sarah holds a double master’s degree in Political Science, from the University of Liège (BE) and a Master of Arts in European Studies on Society, Science and Technology from the University of Maastricht (NL).

Tomas Jezdinsky
is a Market Research Consultant and holds a Master degree in philology/ human arts and also strong technical background based on some years of coursing studies of applied physics. Over 20 years of experience in b2b market research in energy efficiency, power generation, electrical motors, automotive, chemical industry, building & construction. Focus of projects cover e.g. raw material and production process analysis, value chain analysis, product/ market opportunity assessment, stakeholder consultations. Native German and fluent in English, Spanish, French and Italian language, conducted several hundred in-depth f2f expert interviews and focus groups in European countries and USA. In the past years involved in several Horizon2020 projects as in-house consultant for ECI (European Copper Institute).