Governments could have done much more in the field of energy efficiency of public sector buildings

Toomas Mattson | 10/5/2018 | 11:00 AM

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BUDAPEST-BRATISLAVA-BRUSSELS-LISBON-RIGA-SOFIA-TALLINN-VILNIUS, 5 October 2018 – Eight European Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) have concluded a cooperative audit that found that the efforts towards fulfilling the public sector’s leading role in the field of energy efficiency of buildings – a central requirement of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) – should have been greater and more systematic.

Audited countries have mostly done well in transposing the concrete targets of the directives into national law. For example, most countries have put in place the 3% renovation or energy saving target for public sector buildings, devised necessary financial instruments, as well as established requirements for nearly zero-energy buildings and for public sector buildings to have and display energy performance certificates. Likewise, the systems for monitoring and control have been developed.

Nevertheless, implementation has remained a challenge. Looking more closely into how the targets, requirements and systems have been implemented, the national audits found that funding has mostly been incoherent, and the effectiveness of the financial support system has not been analysed in all but one country. And only one country could report that the funds spent for fulfilling the 3% target are being monitored.

Though both the 3% target and the deadline for nearly zero-energy buildings have been set in national legislation, proper planning and measuring for achieving the targets are lacking in some countries. Furthermore, monitoring and control systems tend not to fulfil their purpose. National audits have discovered that checking the quality and proper placement of energy performance certificates has been infrequent and, in some cases, checks have not been conducted in practice.

Though countries have been keen to use the options listed in the EED by choosing narrower definitions and smaller renovation and savings targets of central government buildings, over half of the participating countries are still struggling to meet the 3% target. According to the SAI’s this was mainly due to a lack of planning or a poor implementation of existing plans. Inadequate funding and the poor quality of data on renovations or energy saved, were also pointed out by participating SAIs.

In their national audit reports, participating SAIs have recommended to undertake systematic and improved planning, as well as comprehensive strategies to enhance the energy performance of public sector buildings. SAIs also stated that implementation of energy efficiency programmes could be more efficient and effective. Furthermore, participating SAIs noted that monitoring and control activities should be more systematic. Their results should be analysed and measures should be taken to eliminate any shortcomings. Another important issue SAIs pointed out is the need for improved funding of energy efficiency measures. This includes more information about funding options, as well as more ambition in devising measures.

Background information
The supreme audit institutions of the Flanders region of Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovakia have conducted a cooperative audit on the energy efficiency of public sector buildings. The cooperative audit was conducted within the framework of the Working Group for Environmental Auditing of the European Organization for Supreme Audit Institutions (EUROSAI WGEA). The aim of the audit was to determine how well the participating countries have implemented the respective requirements of the European Union Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive.

Buildings account for approximately 40% of the energy consumption and 36% of carbon dioxide emission in the European Union (EU). While approximately a third of the EU’s building stock is over 50 years old, just 0,4-1,2% is renovated each year. Publicly owned or occupied buildings represent about 10-12% by area of the EU building stock. A significant potential for energy savings therefore awaits to be tapped in this field. Public sector can lead the way in efforts to increase the rate of renovations by prioritizing energy efficiency in its own buildings and thus fostering the creation of necessary know-how in terms of new technologies and building methods.


Court of Audit of Belgium (Flemish Region)
Marc Galle, Communications officer
Phone: +32 2 551 86 65
E-mail: [email protected]

Terry Weytens, Communications officer
Phone: +32 2 551 84 66
E-mail: [email protected]

Bulgarian National Audit Office
Detelina Hadjieva, Chief Auditor, Performance Audit Directorate
Phone: +359 2811 6702
E-mail: [email protected]

Viara Angelova, Director, International Relations and Projects Directorate
Phone: +359 2811 6779; +359 2981 1929
E-mail: [email protected]   

National Audit Office of Estonia
Toomas Mattson, Communication Manager
Phone:  +372 640 0777; +372 513 4900
E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]

State Audit Office of Hungary
Gyula Pulay, Supervisory manager
Phone: +3614849223
E-mail: [email protected]

State Audit Office of Latvia
Jānis Salenieks, Senior Auditor
Phone: +371 67017581
E-mail: [email protected]

Līga Krapāne, Head of Public Relations and Internal Communications Division
Phone: +371 67017671
E-mail: [email protected]

National Audit Office of Lithuania
Julius Lukošius, Director of Economy Audit Department
Phone: +370 5 266 6760
E-mail: [email protected]

Court of Auditors of Portugal
Helena Abreu Lopes, Member of the Court
Phone: +351 21 794 51 40
E-mail: [email protected]

Supreme Audit Office of the Slovak Republic
Anna Dobrócsyová, Auditor
Phone: +421 2 501 14 105
E-mail: [email protected]

  • Posted: 10/5/2018 11:00 AM
  • Last Update: 10/5/2018 11:48 AM
  • Last Review: 10/5/2018 11:48 AM

The EU has set the target of achieving 20% energy savings by 2020 and 30% for 2030.

Scanpix/ PantherMedia / Francois Poirier

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