European Commission > Energy > Intelligent Energy Europe

FRESH – Social Housing comprehEnsive Refurbishment through energy Performance contrActing (FRESH)

Project brief
Key action: Buildings
Status: Closed
Coordinator: Laziza Rakhimova
Tel: +33 (0)
Partners: Bulgarian Housing Association, Bulgaria
Housing Company of the National Railway Company (ICF Group), France
Acer Reggio Emilia (ACER), Italy
Fontenergy Ltd (Fontenergy), United Kingdom
Places for People Group Ltd (Places for People), United Kingdom
Benefits: Opening the way to energy performance contracting for social housing operators
Keywords: energy performance contracting, social housing
Duration: 01/06/2009 - 31/05/2012
Budget: EUR 1 182 465 (EU contribution: 75%)
Contract number: IEE/08/668/SI2.528421


FRESH – Financing energy Refurbishment for Social Housing – was a project that aimed at demonstrating to Social Housing Operators that Energy Performance Contract (EPC) can be used for low energy refurbishment on a large scale. The main objective of this project was to test EPC in 4 countries (France, UK, Italy and Bulgaria) and to develop generic tools for the broader dissemination of EPC in social housings.

  • Tested implementation of energy performance contracting in the social housing sector in France, UK and Italy.
  • Publication of the first handbooks on EPC in Social Housing, giving a major contribution to the definition and clarification of the market.
  • Recommendations to national and European authorities for the diffusion of EPC’s in social housing.
  • Continuous information of stakeholders and professional branches at national and European level in order to disseminate the project’s results. For instance, 50.000 detailed EPC "handbooks" were disseminated in France throughout "Le Moniteur", the largest French construction industry magazine.

Lessons learnt
  • Strict application of the most commonly admitted EPC model is made difficult in the social housing sector, due to its specificities. Adaptation of the general scheme had to be made to successfully sign an EPC in each country. The project has shown that the major problem SHO’s are facing in energy retrofitting is that they are often not allowed to recoup energy savings from tenants.
  • The first difficulties encountered while applying EPC in Social Housing are of a legal nature. For instance, there is not explicit operational definition of EPC in most countries and there is a variety of possible contracts. Other legal obstacles are related to the procedures for awarding such contracts in the public sector and the integration of EPC in the pre-existing contractual framework.
  • The Return on Equity (ROE) associated with comprehensive energy retrofitting is lower than usual practices, and the payback period is longer. The requirements from banks and other financial institutions are generally too high to be met in comprehensive refurbishment investments at current energy prices.

EPC financial simulation tool
(LSX, 1612 kB)
EU Handbook -energy performance contracting in SHO
(PDF, 885 kB)
FRESH final publishable report
(PDF, 1499 kB)
All downloadable files >
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