REE Observatory in CEE: Rethinking Energy Efficiency in time of an energy crisis

This publication is the second product of an initiative of Habitat for Humanity International, the Residential Energy Efficiency (REE) Observatory in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).


REE Observatory in CEE Rethinking Energy Efficiency in time of an energy crisis

Today, Europe is facing an energy, climate, and social crisis. It is now more urgent than ever to showcase how energy, climate and social policy objectives can be combined. Current policies have proved to be inadequate to deliver a just energy transition. A more ambitious policy framework considering social fairness is needed. The second volume of articles by the HFHI Residential Energy Efficiency (REE) Observatory in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is dedicated to energy sufficiency, which aims to combine energy, climate and social policy objectives through delivering energy services equitably while respecting planetary boundaries.

The first article explores how needs (sufficient energy services) can be distinguished from wants, as well as considers whether, and how, such distinctions could be formulated and integrated into policies to reduce energy poverty. HFHI EME believes that community-led deep renovations of multi-apartment buildings can mitigate the negative impacts of the energy crisis on vulnerable households while providing a long-term solution towards just energy transition. Based on this view we collected the rest of the articles, one of which aims to understand the neglected aspects of energy poverty, especially how it appears in multi-apartment buildings in countries typically lacking welfare and less resilient to face social and economic shock. The third article assesses Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) in their wider social and policy context and their contribution to reaching a just energy transition in post-socialist countries. Results show that governments' commitments are low to support vulnerable households in this process, which should be changed through developing more robust, generous and targeted grant schemes and considering socially mixed financially situated ownership structures of multi-apartment buildings.

Based on the ground experience gained in North Macedonia, the fourth article shows why citizen and community engagement are essential in successfully delivering energy efficiency retrofits of multi- apartment buildings. It explains how Energy Efficiency Resource Centers providing advice and facilitation play a vital role in the renovation process. The last article explores the main motivation of homeowners for building renovation in Hungary and it introduces the first Hungarian Resource Center (One-stop-
shop), RenoPont, that helps residents through their entire renovation process.

We hope that this timely publication will prove a valuable addition to the conversation around the energy crisis, and will shed more light on the concept of energy efficiency, which is is still too often an overlooked solution in this ongoing debate.

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