As part of the European Commission’s “Fit for 55 package”, a set of policy proposals to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 were published in July last year, including the revision of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). Inside this revised Directive, there is a call for further actions that support market development and stimulate the role of market intermediaries such as one-stop-shops (OSS). The mention of the concept in the Directive is important for our project and for all cities that are willing to look into the concept.
We all agree now that most of the existing buildings in the EU with no renovation or superficial renovation should be deeply renovated or demolished by 2030. This should be done at an intense rate of 3 to 4% of renovated buildings per year if we want to be on target. According to a report published by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, titled “One-stop-shops for energy renovations of buildings”, OSS could well be the solution to help owners and tenants to start this renovation or refurbishment process and overcome the many hurdles along the way.
There is no single concept however of a One-Stop Shop, and they will take a variety of forms and each city, municipality or country.
In most cases, when we say “One-Stop Shop” we mean: a single point, or a supplier, that is in charge of an entire renovation project. Most importantly, OSS are an interface between the beneficiary (homeowner, building owner association) and the entire supply chain and decision-making process, including financial and legal aspects, monitoring and delivery. As you can imagine, there is a lot of work to be done with any renovation project. Therefore, for an OSS to be viable in the long term, they need a robust business model.
In the JRC report aforementioned, the authors studied the viability of a number of OSS across 22 Member States, 57 of which were operational in 2020. The study also focuses on how OSS engage with vulnerable groups, such as tenants of social housing, by assisting them mostly with financial advice. The role of OSS in fighting energy poverty is also a strong advantage point of such structures.
But let us go back to the most important, aspect: the customer base. What are the main motivations for citizens to renovate their homes and to use OSS in that process? Renovations for energy efficiency purposes are usually undertaken to save money on energy costs, create more general and thermal comfort and a healthier indoor environment. Motivations may be strong, but are they strong enough when faced with barriers to renovating? Barriers such as lack of technical knowledge and skills to organise a complex renovation or knowledge of the procedures involved. Most importantly, it comes down to the finances, as costs of renovation are high and not easy to calculate and follow by homeowners.
In the case they are set up well and gain traction, OSS can help homeowners overcome such barriers. In addition, they have a large set of strategies to reduce the number of dropout moments when owners lose momentum or decide not to engage in the renovation process, and abandon their ‘customer journey’.
At PadovaFIT Expanded, we believe that OSS can and should build momentum for the renovation wave that is so badly needed across the European Union today.