Policy paper on interpreting energy poverty on a building level and policy recommendations

Policy paper on interpreting energy poverty on a building level and policy recommendations

The current deliverable aims to summarise the main findings of the ComAct project based on the experience of five pilot countries, more specifically the municipalities of Burgas in Bulgaria, Budapest in Hungary, Karpoš (Skopje) and Kavadarci in North Macedonia, Odessa in Ukraine, and Kaišiadorys and Tauragė in Lithuania.


ComAct’s work has been based on the underlying assumption that building level communities are very specific entities – mostly working in a legally binding framework, – and their operational difficulties are prevalent behind the lack of energy efficiency investments. The project specifically targeted buildings that were just under the threshold of being able to carry out energy efficiency investments with the help of standard national subsidy schemes. The assumption has been that providing them with complex help that included tailored technical advice, specific financial products and community empowerment will allow them to partake in the process of energy efficient renovation, thus lowering the threshold for energy efficiency investments in multi-family apartment buildings. This original assumption was expanded with a new concept – that of building-level energy poverty – seen as essential to place the discussion about energy efficiency on a higher policy level.


This new concept of energy poor buildings is an extrapolation of the well-known term of energy poverty. We believe that this new concept can be utilised to transform energy efficiency ambitions into policy actions in this specific region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the former Soviet Republics (Commonwealth of Independent States – CIS), and the Balkans. What is special about this region is that the overwhelming majority of the housing stock is privately owned, and with their socially mixed household composition they accommodate a high share of energy poor owners.


Policy debates on the European level around energy efficiency and energy poverty show that there is still a shortage of knowledge on energy poverty in a highly privatised housing environment. While there are more and more inspiring ideas about how to avoid ‘renoviction’ in the private or public rental stock (e.g. not letting rent increase until the apartment reaches a certain energy class), there is still little information about how to implement the transition in a socially just manner in the private homeownership environment, where the owners carry the financial burden of renovations.

The report is divided into three main chapters:

  • Concept of energy poverty on a household and on a building level, describing how they are interrelated, and what makes the development of a building level concept necessary.
  • Most important takeaways from the work in the five ComAct pilots
  • Policy recommendations based on the ComAct experience.

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