EAEME European postgraduate programme 1997/1998 in environmental management



(ΟΔΗΓΙΕΣ μείωσης των εκπομπών CO2 που οφείλονται στην κατανάλωση ενέργειας σε δημόσια κτήρια)

(for decision makers at local administration level)






Vourvoutsiotis, Apostolos



Prof. W. A. Hafkamp, Erasmus University, Rotterdam



Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Seiler, Director of IFU

Fraunhofer Institut für Atmosphärische Umweltforschung (IFU)




September 1998


















This project was designed to support Local Agenda 21 processes and to encourage more European communes to participate. The general objective of the project is to derive guidelines for the decision makers at the local administrative level for successful strategies to reduce the CO2 emissions due to energy consumption in public buildings. The project will focus on the management aspects of the CO2 emission reduction, i.e., on the development and description of a comprehensive or holistic approach, instead of discussing individual technical solutions.

The consumption of energy in public buildings for heating, air conditioning and illumination purposes and thus the CO2 emissions of these buildings are often very high, and there is frequently not sufficient knowledge at the local level about the nature of the problem and potential remedies. This appears to be the main reason why the implementation of efficient strategies to control energy consumption and thus reduce the CO2 emissions of public buildings is still rather slow.


2. The aim of the project and the approach undertaken

The aim of the project is to derive guidelines for decision makers at local administrative level for successful strategies to reduce the CO2 emissions due to energy consumption in public buildings.

The project is an ‘action research’ (Rob Van Tulder, 1996) in order to provide a ‘prescription’ to decision makers at local administration level for CO2 reduction in public buildings.

The aim of the project is to ‘design’ guidelines for communes which intend to implement energy management in public buildings.

The subsequent report is subdivided in four parts:

- Diagnosis of the Problem

- Prerequisites for Energy Management in Public Buildings

- Guidelines for Decision Makers at the Local Administrative Level

- Case Study: The City of Schwabach in Germany



3. Energy Saving / CO2 Potential in building sector

The building sector in Europe is responsible for approximately 40% of the total energy consumption, approximately 60% of which is for space heating. This consumption results in CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, a factor which contributes significantly to the greenhouse effect and climate change (Scheer, May 1998). Cutting down the energy consumption in the building sector (residential and commercial) can reduce the CO2 emission by 1 to 15% .


There is a growing recognition that some of the greatest and most cost effective opportunities involve improving end use efficiency by providing the same energy service with less energy input or the achievement of more energy services with the same energy input. There are two types of energy efficiency measures:

- more efficient end use of energy in existing installations through improved operation and maintenance/or replacement of some components.

- more efficient end use of energy in new installations, equipment.


4. The Role and Opportunities of the Communes in Energy Efficiency Policy

The communes (local authorities and municipalities) have an important and active role for the implementation of the Local Agenda 21. The Agenda 21 from Rio de Janeiro includes a proposal (Chapter 28) made by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) to support local authorities in the development of their own Local Agendas 21.


A map of Europe illustrating the powers and jurisdiction of communes in energy matters, would distinguish the communes in two groups of countries:

- countries in which the communes have considerable influence: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and (in part) Italy.

- countries in which the communes have little or limited influence: the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Greece.


Taking into account the fact that 75% (Energie-Cites, 1994) of the energy is consumed in cities in Europe, communes have a considerable role to play:

- close to energy consumers and also consumers themselves, they are at a level ideally suited for local energy management activities;

- close to the field, they are in an advantageous position with respect to the utilisation of local and renewable resources, including waste;

- responsible for urban development and transport policies, they make decisions which have a considerable impact on the energy consumed by the citizens;

- concerned with environmental protection, and in particular with the reduction of atmospheric pollution, they have an obligation to promote better energy efficiency;

- attentive to economic and social problems, they are concerned with seeking new activities.


5. Barriers and problems in implementing a local energy policy

Economic barriers: Savings due to enhanced energy efficiency cannot be invested in advance. The annual budget of the communes available for the operation and energy consumption costs is not sufficient for long-term energy efficiency investment. (W. Sshneider, 1998)

Currently, the energy prices, the prices both for electricity and fuels, are often rather low, due to rebates and other special arrangements of the utility companies with the communes, so that the payback period of the energy investments is too long (EC, COM(97)514 final, 15.10.97).

The lack of relevant market instruments to internalise external environmental costs, such as the widely discussed energy tax, causes problems for financing CHP systems and district heating networks (EC, COM(97)514 final, 15.10.97).


Lack of awareness: In many cases where a commune has still not developed an energy efficiency programme this is due to the lack of knowledge. The decision makers themselves are not aware of the potential for saving costs and for improving their image by adopting an energy efficient policy at the communal level.

There is also lack of information concerning the steps and appropriate measures which need to be taken in order to introduce energy management into public buildings.


Public buildings, organisational-structural problems: The stock of public buildings is often distributed over a large area. Energy efficient solutions are unique for every building so that each building has to be examined as separate case.

Due to the limited staff, there is a problem with the development of an efficient energy management in public buildings. The available staff is usually not obligated to obtain for authorisation, even if that would be cost efficient (W. Sshneider, 1998).

Due to the traditional organisation schemes, the communes are not able to react as would be necessary to train available staff and carry out new tasks such as setting up an energy management system without organisational changes in their infrastructure (W. Sshneider, 1998).


Regulatory barriers: These barriers include emissions and planning regulations, bureaucratic time-consuming or expensive procedures for obtaining operating licences (EC, COM(97)514 final, 15.10.97).

Institutional barriers: These barriers include the attitude of utility companies toward the connection of CHP plants, delays and lack of transparency in obtaining permits, etc. There are very few countries where access to the electricity network is totally unrestricted (EC, COM(97)514 final, 15.10.97). Due to the liberation of the electricity market, this will probably change in Europe in the near future.


6. Prerequisites for energy management in public buildings

Implementing an energy efficiency strategy requires human, technical and financial resources as well as legal and administrative framework, not currently presented in all of the communes. A strategy for energy saving in public buildings requires knowledge, technical and administrative infrastructure, clear objectives, and a long-term perspective (for about 10 years).


·         Energy and Environmental planning

·         Organisation of an energy office/agency

·         Communication.

·         Facilities and Building Management

Facilities Management maintains public buildings, grounds and utility distribution systems; provides skilled crafts for minor alteration and refurbishment projects; and provides immediate response capability for minor as well as major facilities emergencies. Facilities Management provides schematic design, cost-estimating and scheduling projections. ( UCLA, 1996)

Building management is the technical, commercial and infrastructure services of the building over operative phase. (W. Schneider, 1998)

·         Finance

The major problem in adoption energy saving measures is the available commune’s budget. The communes usually do not have a sufficiently large budget to invest in energy saving measures and they consider the energy management as an expense, in most cases.

Financial instruments:

1. Third party finance. (Performance Contracting)

The debated "contracting model" is in increasing demand, especially in communes in Germany. For the moment it is the main economic tool that communes are adopting to optimise the energy performance of their facilities.

What is Contracting? a measurable or verifiable service regulated by a third party at fixed prices at a guaranteed performance. With this type of Leasing, financing is not the same aim but the agreement on service packets for the user. (W. Schneider, 1998)

The basic principle of the Contracting is the transfer of responsibility for planning, installation, depreciation, management, maintenance, guaranty and liability as well as for all accountancy tasks to the contractor.




·           No initial investment is needed

·       No risk for the communes

·       zero impact on operating expenses

·        Know-how transfer to the communes

·           There is interest only on heating systems

·           Expensive equipment is sold by the contractor through contracting

·        Dead end

·        Lopsided information of the commune by the contractor

·        Interest conflict contractor/commune

·        Long lasting contract

·       Communes are loosing money through the operation costs

·       Terms "thermal comfort," "hygiene," "operation safety," etc. need to be clearly defined



·        Potential; for a large number of public buildings the energy performance can be optimised

·           Non clear legal framework

·        Implications in case of non-expected profit in the side of the contractor


Table 3.3. SWOT analysis for performance contracting


2. Aid under national programs, EU programs

The participation of the local energy office/agency is vital in applying for financial support with national and international programs. EU programs which promote energy efficiency, SAVE, TACIS, PHARE, Altener, Joule-Thermie

3. Sponsorship support by companies

Common actions, mainly for demonstration, like photovoltaic installations in a public building, could be financially supported/sponsored by big companies active in the region or by energy supply and production companies.



7. Guidelines for Successful Strategies to Reduce CO2 Emission and Setting up an Energy Management in Public Buildings

These guidelines are intended for communes which decide to reduce their impact on the local and global environment by launching an energy saving programme. Improving energy efficiency in public buildings is a good start for communes which intend to implement an energy efficiency plan. The target group is the decision makers at the local administrative level, i.e., elected representatives as well as administrative and technical managers.


A. Selection of relevant Data

Sufficiently accurate and detailed data are a prerequisite for successfully adapted measures. Every data collection should include: basic data regarding the building, climate data, proxy data, energy Bills, plans of the building(s), data from building inspection, users comfort.

Responsible for data collection could be: maintenance assistants, engineers or technicians from the technical, environmental, or energy department of the commune.


B. Evaluation of Data

Data evaluation is vital for the decision making processes in energy management for public buildings. Important parameters for decision making are:

1. Types of energy sources and use, average energy consumption and energy costs;

2. Energy ratio for a given public building (the energy ratio for a given public building is obtained by dividing its average energy consumption (heating, warm water, and total energy consumption) by the heated gross floor area;

3. Energy saving potential

C. Proposed energy efficient techniques

The proposed techniques are the most common and applicable. They should be selected using the following criteria: energy efficiency, cost efficiency, availability.

·         Metering and Control of Energy Consumption

·         Interventions to the outer shell

·         Interventions in the Thermal System

·         Integration of Renewable Energy Systems - Application to public buildings

·         Lighting Optimisation


D. Measures for assemblages of buildings and sections of communes

District heating or cooling means centralised production and distribution of thermal energy. The heat is produced in thermal plants, and is circulated through a pipe network to the users in the form of steam or hot water. The DH&C system can be thought as the sum of the production facilities and distribution / return network. The most common competitor to DH are individual heating systems. District Heating is produced by boilers, CHP-plants, solar heat supply systems, biomass and biogas CHP-plants.


E. Influence users behaviour

User behaviour is important for the maintenance of the building, particularly as far as energy saving measures and other activities in the building are concerned. The role of the users is more important in non-automatic systems (thermal, lighting control systems) than in automatic systems, and their participation is vital for the success of any energy saving programme.

Measures to influence user behaviour: information, encouraging, recommending.

A closer examination to the users behaviour and to the relevant literature, showed that the users are not usually co-operative (therefor the automatic control systems) and the energy saving is an ecological-social dilemma. Which are the main solutions to social dilemmas and how communes can influence the users behaviour? The relevant literature suggests the following strategies:

- to enlarge group cohesion.

- to enlarge the visibility of behavioural choices.

- to change the delay of behavioural consequences.


8. Case study: the Town of Schwabach

The town of Schwabach is situated in Germany in the vicinity of Nuremberg, Bavaria. It is a middle-sized town with 37 500 inhabitants and covers an area of 4 071 km2. Metal industry and agriculture are the main economical activities. The town of Schwabach has to maintain 72 public buildings.


Plan towards City-Ecology 1993-2003 of the Town of Schwabach

With broad participation of the population (according to Local Agenda 21), the council of the town of Schwabach decided in October 1996 to develop a regional action plan towards sustainable development with the title 'The Schwabach Plan towards City-Ecology 1993-2003'. The fields which were covered by the program were traffic, economy, social affairs (urban and rural planning, traffic planning, noise, water management as well as waste Management), and energy. The city council has made a commitment for an annual municipal meeting with the theme 'Ecological City', open to all citizens in order to gain feedback and upgrade the programme.

The programme in energy includes the following topics:

·         Allocation of energy management responsibility, 1993/1994,

·         Evaluation of energy concepts with extrapolation,

·         Rational use of energy and use of renewable energy sources, 1994,


- Reduction of energy consumption in municipal facilities by about 3 % annually,

- Public relations work aimed at reducing private energy consumption by about 1 % annually,

- CO2 reduction by use of CHP and by favouring renewable energy sources;

·         Monitoring energy consumption and preparation of annual energy reports.


Measures taken:

·         Installation of three CHP units which supply heat and power

- for the hospital and the nearby nurses residence,

- for communal apartment buildings, and

- for a whole section of town (this CHP is using biogas which originates from a landfill and an old water treatment plant);

·         Installation of three photovoltaic power systems (1,1 kW) in schools and one (1 kW) in a municipal administration building for demonstration.


8. Conclusions

The scope of this project has been to derive guidelines for local decision makers for strategies to reduce CO2 emissions in public buildings and for establishing a building energy management in a commune. These guidelines are presented in Chapter 4.


During the diagnosis stage, when the energy and environmental management systems for the town of Schwabach as well as for the regions North-Rhine-Westfalia (Germany) and Vorarlberg (Austria) were studied, it became clear that the communes can implement an energy efficiency program starting with the public buildings but only under the conditions/circumstances which have been described in Chapter 3 (Prerequisites).


The message of the project is that local decision makers should realise that elevated CO2 emissions are an indication that money is lost from their budget due to unnecessarily high energy consumption in the communal facilities.