Informal get-together in Brussels on the challenges of home renovation services in Europe

The discussion on financing, in visual terms

Map of OSS initiatives across Europe at the workshop

Group discussions

Value proposal and scenario for OSS service provision

Giovanni and Masha of PadovaFIT Expanded project

The event was the perfect occasion to get a bird view of the several OSS initiatives and dive into the hot topic of how to make these services available and viable in the long run.

On September 29th this year, several stakeholders in the area of integrated home renovation (service providers, EU projects teams, EU institutions, etc.) came together in Brussels' La Tricoterie venue to network and brainstorm the sector’s hot topics. Anette Jahn, Head of Sector at the European Commission's agency for climate (CINEA) welcomed the more than 50 participants, encouraging us to keep positive and open-minded in the “grim circumstance of energy poverty and crisis”.

After the intro, each project owner presented their project or service, with many projects also displaying posters detailing their value proposals. Throughout the day, we discussed a number of topics in small groups, ranging from “engaging with homeowners” to “financing” and “achieving a high quality of the renovations”.

Key challenge: financing

Undoubtedly, one of the main challenges for OSS and Integrated Home Renovation Services (IHRS) is related to financing. It is not only about financing the renovation works of a building or home, but more importantly, how to finance the very services that can make renovation more accessible and less complicated for citizens.

We all agreed that the main objective is to increase the renovation rate all across Europe, but this can only be done if OSS will have enough resources to operate. In many cases, OSSs have a good start, but then fail to develop truly self-sustaining business models.

From the point of view of homeowners, barriers include high up-front costs, long payback periods for loans and perceived credit risk. What is most needed is an affordable, long-term and up-front financing scheme for retrofitting in every country and location. In order to tackle these and other issues, the next steps may be to set up a community of practitioners who could provide guidance and support to existing and future local integrated home renovation services across the EU.

Although several efforts have been made in the last years, financing the renovation wave remains a complex challenge. The current world economic situation, together with the energy crisis, is adding more pressure to Europe’s buildings renovation process and demand more than ever an innovative financial instrument, both for integrated home service providers (OSS) and homeowners.

The event was organized by the EU-funded ORFEE project and supported by PadovaFIT Expanded, amongst others (including but not limited to EUROPA project, Opengela, Save the Homes, etc.). For the PadovaFIT project, this constituted a relevant in-person EU Capacity building; a much-needed eye-opener on other One-Stop Shop (OSS) projects and service providers’ perspectives.

For more information, stay tuned to our website and also have a look at the most recent LIFE Call for proposals here.