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More European funds to support energy efficiency in residential buildings

The European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) facility will benefit from EUR 97 million of new funding from the European Commission for residential buildings, with the budget supporting project development of energy-efficiency investments in privately and publicly owned housing, the European Investment Bank has told the Budapest Business Journal.

The EIB has been a major supporter of energy sector developments in the EU for decades.

ELENA will be helped by the expertise and assistance of the European Investment Bank. Since 1990, the EIB has granted a total of EUR 1,262,569,045.78 in loans to Hungary alone for energy sector developments.

EU member states agreed last December to reduce energy consumption by 32.5% by 2030 compared to 1990. The target implies huge investments, especially in residential buildings, which account for around 40% of the EU’s final energy demand. The ELENA facilityʼs main focus is accelerating the energy-efficiency refurbishment of housing.

The new funds dedicated to the residential envelope are in line with the targets of the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings (SFSB) initiative to make investments in energy-efficiency projects in residential buildings more attractive to private investors.

Project development services will mostly be directed towards households and homeowner associations with in order to increase comfort and reduce energy bills.

Assistance will also be made available to other organizations, such as financial institutions (including commercial banks), to help them set up and deploy financial instruments and loan products for energy-efficiency improvements in the residential sector. Public entities may also be supported with the implementation of large-scale energy rehabilitation programs the sector.

Great Example

"ELENA is a great example of the effective use of public money. Every euro we have spent over the past years has attracted an additional EUR 40 in investments – for lower energy bills, greater comfort and lower GHG emissions," European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete says.

"Consequently, we decided to fund up to 90% of the energy-related project development costs of the investments with ELENA. I want to encourage potential beneficiaries especially from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe to apply for the funds.”

"Accelerating energy efficiency investments in residential buildings to reduce carbon emissions and better cope with a changing climate is crucial," EIB vice-president in charge of energy Andrew McDowell adds.

ELENA celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2019. During its decade of operation, more than 80 beneficiaries have received financial support of more than EUR 160 mln, mobilizing EUR 6 billion in investments.

The grants are distributed via commercial banks to homeowner associations for preparing and implementing energy-efficiency investments in multi-apartment buildings.

The list of energy sector projects supported by EIB in Hungary can be found here.