The RenoHUb project is implemented within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme by a Hungarian consortium led by Energiaklub Climate Policy Institute and Applied Communications.
Strategic considerations of RenoHUb: The residential sector’s energy consumption represents about one third of the total final energy consumption in Hungary. The Hungarian residential building stock has a huge potential for energy savings: two-thirds of the 4.4 million homes are energetically outdated. The energy modernization of residential buildings is one of the means of reducing the overhead costs of the population and increasing the value of the real estate, and at the same time it can make a significant contribution to the fulfilment of the climate and energy policy objectives undertaken by Hungary. In order to avoid the critical aging of the building stock, significantly more homes, almost 80-100 thousand a year, should have to undergo a complete energy renovation.
The overall aim of RenoHUb project is to trigger an upscale of the energy retrofits of the Hungarian homes. Within the framework of the project, a one-stop shop system will be established in Hungary to support the energy renovation of residential buildings. The services of the one-stop scheme cover the full spectrum of the energy modernization process of family houses and condominiums, including preliminary energy savings calculations, individual surveys and technical advice, supplemented by financing options, model documents (e.g. request forms for proposals to recruit constructor, contract), guidance materials, market studies, the recommendation of qualified energy and technical experts and contractors, professional training and the presentation of case studies.
Why RenoHUb? RenoHUb is an intermediary, gap-filling umbrella organization that is unique in the field of energy modernization of residential buildings. It provides personalized assistance and a safety net specifically for the energy renovation of family and condominiums. RenoHUb defines itself as a system to support energy awareness in the residential sector.
Who is the project targeting? Basically every family and condominium owners.
According to recent nation-wide survey conducted by the Hungarian Energy Efficiency Institute in 2016, approximately 24% of the Hungarian households planned to implement full or staged energy saving refurbishments in their homes within the next 5 years. RenoHUb’s mission is to help the realization of these plans, along with the involvement of additional residential buildings.
The one-stop-shop service built by
the RenoHUb project is called RenoPont Home Energy Renovation Centre, which is based
on two pillars: a
complex, user-friendly RenoPont Online Platform (coming soon this Summer, in
Hungarian) and an advisory office network (information hotspots).
Introduction of the consortium
Energiaklub was founded in 1991, and its most important goal has not
changed since then: to create a sustainable energy management system in
Hungary. In the nearly 30 years since its foundation, it has become a leading
organization in the field of sustainable energy, both in theory and in
practice. Thanks to its international programs and networking activities, it
also has an extensive network of contacts in Central and Eastern Europe.
The organization’s main areas of expertise are energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, climate protection, conventional energy sources and energy policy.
Rational use of our dwindling resources; an economy based on diverse local resources; a change in energy-wasting consumer habits; they are all part of the solutions that are supported through the work of Energiaklub.
Energiaklub conducts research activities, analyzes, evaluates, develops local and regional climate and energy strategies, outlines policy proposals, conducts awareness-raising trainings and organizes communication campaigns.
As the leader of the RenoHUb project consortium, the most important task of Energiaklub is to manage the project and coordinate the management tasks at the consortium level. It also keeps in touch with the project’s sponsor, the European Commission. In addition to the project management tasks, Energiaklub leads the full communication of the project, also the implementation of communication campaigns and trainings due in the later stage of the project. Energiaklub also contributes to the development of the other work packages of the project.
Energiaklub participated in the research phase of the work plan, based on the organisation’s extensive experience in energy research. Energiaklub contacted numerous interested municipalities to introduce them to this unique initiative in Hungary and to encourage their participation, which will help to reduce their energy consumption.
AACM Central Europe
AACM Central Europe (AACM) is a Budapest-based consulting firm which has been operating for almost 25 years, and whose area of operation covers the Central and Eastern European region. Focusing on the transition to a green economy and ensuring environmental sustainability is at the heart of its business.
In the course of its work, it has gained extensive experience in financing and managing investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy development, in cooperation with international financial institutions, including the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and other international organizations. AACM has a comprehensive knowledge of the policy framework for the transition to a low-carbon economy, the technical and financial possibilities for its implementation, and the international and domestic innovation processes that contribute to the development of this field.
In terms of its environmental activities, AACM focuses on ensuring compliance with environmental standards and international good practice, and on assessing and eliminating environmental damage, primarily in multinational companies. The company has extensive experience in the preparation and implementation of projects financed by the European Union, as well as in domestic spatial and economic development planning.
In the RenoHUb project, which supports residential energy efficiency initiatives, AACM will play a key role in developing the RenoHUb business model and that the project is helping the energy efficiency investments with innovative financial solutions, in order to save energy and reduce emissions. In order to achieve this, the project intends to establish a cooperation network with a number of domestic and international financial institutions. In addition, AACM also coordinates background research to help lay the groundwork for RenoHUb services that will provide renovators with comprehensive and effective assistance in energy-efficient modernization of their homes.
IMRO-DDKK was established in 2009 with the aim of effectively supporting environmentally friendly initiatives, primarily in the areas of Western and Southern Transdanubia and in the border regions of neighbouring countries (Croatia, Slovenia and Austria), for the protection of the environment, to promote renewable energy sources and energy efficient solutions. In this spirit IMRO also implements ancillary activities that promote environmentally conscious thinking and the development of a sustainable lifestyle by applying close-to-nature educational methods.
IMRO participated in several EU-funded projects (Austrian-Hungarian, Slovenian-Hungarian, Croatian-Hungarian cross-border cooperation programs, Horizon 2020, Interreg Central Europe, EuropeAid, Erasmus), which focused on the implementation of environmentally sustainable developments.
Thanks to the implementation of energy-relevant projects, IMRO has almost 10 years of experience in the complex management of energy-efficient renovation of condominiums, as well as in the field of intelligent / green urban planning.
In connection with energy renovation activities, IMRO developed a comprehensive background support service between 2013-2015 on an experimental basis, establishing the Green Aspect Consultation Office in Nagykanizsa, providing complex assistance to residential actors in the implementation of their energy renovations. Due to the complex legal, technical and financial advice and process management provided by the office, the residents of the houses and condominiums involved in the renovations could use the help of this office and experts from the initial energy surveys to the completion of the renovation works. Thanks to IMRO’s efforts, they have been able to contribute to the energy renovation of more than 30 condominiums, thus achieving an annual reduction of 2,600 tons of CO2 emissions.
Their goal is to gain system-wide legitimacy for the one-stop-shop retail support model they have developed within the framework of the RenoHUb project. As a result, a one-stop shop would become an available option for several municipalities.
Hungarian Energy Efficiency Institute (MEHI)
The Hungarian Energy Efficiency Institute (MEHI) is an independent, non-profit analytical and advocacy public benefit organization, with the aim to encourage the development of energy efficiency in cooperation with the participants of the energy efficiency market. In order to reach this aim, MEHI primarily focuses on ensuring that domestic residential buildings are energy-efficient so that all homes can be comfortable, healthy and have low energy consumption.
MEHI actively initiates or supports any policy, market-business or social initiative that intends to reduce energy consumption and achieve a more efficient use of energy. Therefore, it prepares policy proposals, background researches and participates in consultation of policy proposals of the current government. Its strategic partnership has been fruitful for years with domestic energy efficiency companies, who are not only channelling their valuable professional and market experience into domestic energy efficiency status reports, but are also supporting various energy efficiency initiatives. Furthermore, general awareness raising about the community benefits of energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important amongst MEHI’s tasks.
MEHI’s brainchild is the domestic introduction of one-stop-shop renovation assistance and thus the RenoHUb project. MEHI also enriches the project with its one decade of professional experience and network. It has three important tasks in the RenoHUb project: the first is the timely preparation of professional background studies, research and cooperation; the second, but the soul of the project is to lead the work package called “Setting up and operating the RenoHUb model”, which will not only outline the details of the RenoHUb model, but also physically implement the Online Platform and one of the RenoHUb Information Hotspots in Budapest. As its third task, MEHI is responsible for the communication of the project and the widest possible dissemination of the results.
Hungarian Family House Owners Association (MCSTE)
The Hungarian Family House Owners Association (MCSTE) is a new, innovative, grassroots non-profit advocacy organization. Its mission is to change homeowners’ way of thinking about the social and economic benefits of energy renovation of their homes. Their focus is on single-family houses.
The president of the Association has a comprehensive knowledge of family house owners gained during hundreds of completed family house energy renovations. He has followed the processes of energy renovations from all aspects of the stakeholders – owners, contractors, manufacturers, traders – so he will be able to support the processes, the achievement of the tender goals to a great extent. In the process of implementing the project, with the help of the experience gathered so far, he intends to achieve a large increase in the number of energetically renovated family houses through MCSTE membership, as well as a decrease in energy consumption level of family houses.
The goal is to have a construction background under the control of the
association in order to provide maximum service, quality results and long-term
guarantees to the members. Their goal is to reach 500,000 members in 10 years,
to whom they continuously help to achieve energy savings with advice and
concrete implementation. MCSTE supports all work
packages in the project, in particular by enriching the project with its
specific expertise related to the complete energy renovation of family houses.
Especially in terms of concept development, customer journey planning and
Introduction – in details
The RenoHUb project in numbers
• Horizon 2020 project consisting exclusively of Hungarian consortium members
• 3 years long (November 2019 – November 2022)
• 5 Hungarian consortium partners
• 7 work packages
Why is the energy renovation rate so low?
We assessed the motivations, fears, triggers and obstacles of Hungarian homeowners related to energy modernization through:
- online blog
- focus group interviews
- in-depth interviews
What can we do for the quantitative and qualitative scaling up of domestic residential building renovations? We know from MEHI research that in 2016, more than 900,000 households nationwide wanted to renovate energetically in the next 5 years – but the renovations did not take place on this scale. Why aren’t these plans coming to fruition, what are people afraid of, where will they get stuck, and what could drive the renovators further? As a first step, we had to find out and assess this. To this end, we asked those who were about to renovate and those who had already renovated their apartment or family house in a 3-day online blog and 4 focus group interviews. In addition, we conducted 15 in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in the renovation process, who are in daily contact with the renovators and can have a major impact on them: contractors (insulators, gas fitters, windows, general contractors, etc.), manufacturers of energy efficient products (boilers, insulation, etc.), condominium joint representatives, municipalities.
What are renovators afraid of and what motivates them?
The main results of the focus group interviews are the following. The renovation planners are afraid of the whole uncomfortable, annoying situation of a renovation (phone calls, mess etc.), the challenge of its management (many small decisions, resignations, huge projects with great responsibility), lack of control (homeowners are laic and vulnerable, in case of an inadequate constructor, the renovation can become a mess), unpredictability (how high the costs will be at the end, whether their financial resources will be sufficient), finances (how to get enough resources, good value and quality for money), and finally the lack of trust and information (do I get a realistic quotation? who should I believe, how should I decide?).
The one-stop shop (OSS) concept
The one-stop-shop, or OSS concept, offers all the necessary information and services to its customers under one roof.
Although in practice this can be done in a variety of models, it usually seeks to provide a full range of services including advice, independent energy audits, mediation by contractors and other professionals, assistance with financing and so on.
The planned model of the RenoPont service is therefore the so-called one-stop-shop system, which is already successfully operating in several European countries. We learn a lot from these examples and try to select the good practices and solutions that can be adapted to the domestic conditions to create a successful model.
The services of the one-stop system cover the full spectrum of the energy modernization process of family houses and condominiums, including preliminary energy savings calculations, individual surveys and technical advice, supplemented by financing options, downloadable sample documents (e.g. contractor’s request, contract), guidance materials, market studies, database of recommended qualified energy and technical experts and contractors, and case studies.
European examples for OSSs: BetterHome – Danish, REIMARKT – Dutch, Oktave
– French, HolaDomus – Spanish, SuperHomes – Irish, but there are more than 60
OSS initiatives in Europe alone.
The many forms can be manifested not only in the services, but also in the target groups: there are OSS offices specifically for condominiums, elsewhere for municipal rental housing, and possibly specifically for disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The concept of RenoPont:
The concept of RenoPont is a complex solution that addresses the problems described earlier. The aim of the RenoPont is to change the quantity and quality of the energy modernization of domestic residential buildings through the help of renovators. Within the framework of the project, we will create a one-stop shop network in Hungary to support the energy renovation of residential buildings.
According to our plans, within the framework of RenoPont:
- We support the whole renovation process, we will assist the renovators
- We advise and help them in decision making with the help of independent, tried and tested professionals
- We outline several professional plans (scenarios) based on the client’s needs and the possibilities of the apartment / house, from which she/he will be able to choose the right one with the best value for money
- With the professional plan and the audited contractors recommended by us, nothing can go wrong during the renovation
- There is a quality control during and at the end of the process
- The RenoPont system is based on two pillars: a complex, user-friendly RenoPont Online Platform and an office network with a unified image (so-called renovation advisory offices )
- The RenoPont project will set up the first two units of the network of renovation advisory offices at the expense of its own budget and envisages expanding it with cooperating partners (e.g. municipalities)
How will a renovation process to look like? (in planning phase)
- The homeowner, planning the renovation, collects information on the Online Platform, plans and gets inspired
- Books an appointment at the office
- Preliminary consultation, needs and opportunities are assessed in the office
- If the homeowner decides to start the renovation, an on-site survey and energy audit will follow
- Homeowner gets personalized renovation scenarios to choose from
- In parallel, we help to find funding opportunities and to resolve the financial background of the desired project
- After consultations, the client selects the final scenario for which a detailed technical plan is prepared
- The client requests quotes, hands over the plan to contractors, arranges finance
- Renovation begins
- Takeover and quality control
- Feedback on the customer experience and results
What services will we offer on the Online Platform? (in planning phase)
- What a renovation process looks like, what steps it consists of, how we help the renovators
- Client can make a preliminary calculation with our online calculator to see how much the desired energy renovation will cost and how much energy, money, emissions can be saved
- Technology and brand independent consulting (also in the office)
- Product Selection Assistant: what technical solution is recommended in typical cases
- Downloadable template documents: contracts, quotes, etc.
- Database of experts (contractors, energetics, auditors, etc.): checked, tried and tested professionals who keep what is promised, do quality work and execute the plan in good quality. Our plan is a database with references, where experts can be reviewed by the customers
- Contact, book an appointment at the office
- The Online Platform is free, some elements require registration
What can be expected of the offices?
- The first offices will open this year in Budapest and in Nagykanizsa, in unified image
- Opportunity for a personal meeting and counselling
- Complements the Online Platform
- The most important decisions will be made here, especially when someone does not want to make decisions alone
- The consultation is planned to be free of charge, only specific energy survey, technical planning, etc. will have a fee – this issue is still under discussion
What has happened so far in the project?
- We assessed why homeowners want to renovate (motivations), what their fears and concerns are, what help they would need during the renovation.
- We conducted in-depth interviews with renovators, contractors coordinating renovation processes on a daily basis, manufacturers of energy-efficient products, joint representatives and potential cooperating municipalities, from whom we received additional information to fine-tune the model.
- We have prepared a detailed process description, which describes the technical and administrative details of energy developments in both condominium and family-house environments.
- We supplemented the process description with a uniformly usable template document library to provide additional technical support to renovators.
- Based on interviews and meetings with domestic financial institutions, we prepared a study on the energy efficiency financial products available on the Hungarian market.
- Our background researches formed the basis for the development of the ‘customer journey’, our business model and the RenoPont service list, the elements e.g. online calculator for informative calculations, expert database, product guides, downloadable template documents, contract samples
Our next steps
- We will finalize our service list, customer journey and further details
- At the end of February 2021, the name and image of the RenoHUb project’s service will be created
- The Online Platform will be launched in 2021
- The first two offices will open in 2021
- Pilot renovation projects and the test period will begin in 2021
Our plans for the long term
- RenoPont’s service will become a well-known and popular support for renovators: the key is an understandable, transparent, customer-centric process and reliable quality
- 10-12 offices will open nationwide
- Thousands of completed renovations
- Contribution to the energy renovation wave in Hungary