EuroPACE: Financing to improve the energy efficiency of buildings


UpSocial is one of the partners of the EuroPACE project, recipient of the EU Horizon 2020 grant, that is promoting a new financing mechaninsm to improve the access of general population to energy efficiency retrofits.

The model: on-tax financing

EuroPACE is the European adaptation of the American model PACE, a financing mechanism launched scarcely 10 years ago in California that in the past four years has facilitated investment for energy retrofits and renewable energies in over 200,000 homes and 1,500 companies, through over 5 billion dollars investment from the private sector.

The original approach pools investments to lend money to private individuals willing to renovate different types of existing buildings, ranging from homes to offices, hotels, multi-family and mixed-use properties. PACE covers up to 100% of a project’s costs and is repaid gradually and in small amounts. This is possible because repayment is done as a special assessment added to a property tax bill over a term of up to 20 years.

The positive impact of the initiative goes far beyond energy savings and environmental preservation, generating a direct impact in society. For UpSocial, the organisation that identified the potential of the original model and presented it in the European context, the key of PACE is its ability to scale.

Since the crisis of the construction sector, the building renovation market has been continually mentioned as a potential employment generator. Though the need does exist (in Spain, over half of the existing housing stock was built before 1980, the date on which the obligation of implementing thermal insulation measures was established) the market has not yeat reached maturity because of the inexistance of financial mechanisms that are suitable for the circumstances of most families. In terms of employment, figures are clear: since its inception, PACE has generated over 50,000 new jobs and has permitted the creation of hundreds of companies in the United States.

The consortium

EuroPACE is being promoted by a public-private consortium formed by 8 members from 4 European countries with complementary trajectories and backgrounds, forming a multidisciplinary team. 

With a three-year duration, the project aims to standardise the implementation process of the platform, drawing from a pilot project that will take place in 2019 in the Catalan city of Olot. UpSocial's role will consist of analysing the potential of the model to face two of the biggest social problems plaguing the continent: energy poverty and unemployment of vulnerable groups. After this first phase, the efforts of the consortium partners will be focused on deploying EuroPACE in Spain and in the rest of Europe, supporting four other leader cities willing to adopt the platform.

Forthcoming events:

  • October 10th: EU Regions Week Workshop. EuroPACE will be presented in a workshop framed by the European Week of Regions and Cities, which will take place in Brussels. Registrations are open here.
  • October 18th: 1st EuroPACE Forum. Webinar organised in collaboration with Climate Alliance in which the keys of the platform and the results of a study that has analysed the legal, fiscal and market suitability of EuroPACE in EU 28 will be shared with a broad stakeholder group. You can register here.