A growing number of European cities and regions share the vision of a low energy city with a high quality of life for all. They voluntarily commit to ambitious energy and climate objectives and design local sustainable energy policies, strategies and action plans that guide their energy transition.
On average, the largest energy consumers in a city are residential buildings (37%), followed by transport (29%), industry (16%) and tertiary buildings (15%). Public buildings, equipment and public lighting which are under the direct responsibility of local authorities represent only about 3% of final energy consumption.
There is a huge potential for achieving energy savings and CO2 reductions in the residential sector.
Several cities and regions have developed and tested out this financial tool in their territories including the city of Riga (LV), Parma (IT), Frederikshavn (DK), Delft (NL), Bordeaux Metropole (FR), Hauts-de-France Region (FR), Centre-Loire Valley Region (FR). Soft loan financing schemes have also been developed at the national level, for example in France, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and Germany.
The basic principle of soft loans is to enable homeowners to borrow money to carry out energy-efficient renovation work in their homes at lower interest rates than standard market conditions. Soft loans provide access to more attractive financing. They are an incentive for homeowners.
Bordeaux Metropole provides soft loans only to homeowners of buildings built before 1st January 1990. Owner-occupied housing units are the main target, however, rented properties are also eligible. Riga offers soft loans to condominiums. Brussels Capital Region targets single family houses and individual apartments. In Frederikshavn, Delft and Parma, all types of housing units in private ownership are eligible for soft loans. In Stuttgart, all kind of buildings can benefit from a ‘care-free energy renovation package’, however, only condominiums with at least 20 appartments or energy consumption of 200,000 kWh / year are eligible for financing of the heating system through energy supply contracting.