European Court of Auditors: cost-effectiveness does not guide EU spending on energy efficiency in buildings

Cost-effectiveness is not a determining factor for allocating public funding to energy efficiency measures in residential buildings, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. Despite improved guidance from the European Commission, EU-funded projects still do not focus on achieving the greatest potential energy savings per euro invested. The overall contribution of EU funding to the Union’s energy efficiency targets is not clear, say the auditors.

Faced with the challenge of mitigating climate change, EU leaders have committed to saving 20 % of the EU Member States’ projected energy consumption by 2020 and 32.5 % by 2030. Buildings consume the greatest share of energy and have the largest energy-saving potential. They therefore play a pivotal role in meeting the EU’s energy savings targets. For 2014-2020, the EU allocated some €14 billion to improving the energy efficiency of buildings, €4.6 billion of which was for residential buildings. In addition, Member States budgeted €5.4 billion in national co- financing for improvements to all types of building, around €2 billion of which was for residential buildings.

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings is key to achieving the EU’s commitment to reduce energy consumption”, said João Figueiredo, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “This means EU money must prioritise projects that deliver energy savings and other benefits in a cost-effective way.”