Time to Act Now!

Buildings are Europe’s biggest energy resource. By 2013, buildings made up more than 40% of the final energy consumption in the European Union (EU). Using energy more efficiently in the building stock is therefore a key objective for polices of different fields and levels.

Municipalities are the key players for improving energy efficiency at the local level. They benefit from improved energy efficiency in different ways, including reduced GHG emissions, less energy expenses, improved working and housing conditions and many more.

While the benefits of energy efficiency are evident and many municipalities already have action plans in place, the implementation does not quite take off. Due to lacking capacities, many struggle to translate their plans into action. With this learning platform, the Act Now! project seeks to share the methodology, knowledge and experience accumulated while it built energy efficiency capacities in several Baltic municipalities.

Thus, the material published here is primarily aimed at local administrations in the Baltic Sea Region and beyond. Particularly, these are:

  • Members of municipality staff who are directly involved in activities related to energy issues inside their administration (urban planners, staff of construction departments, collaborators from property management and financial departments, energy management and local development).
  • Staff of cooperating institutions or private companies dealing with energy efficiency (housing companies, utilities, energy service companies, engineering companies)

The Act Now! Approach: Customised Capacity Building

While an energy-related action plan can be established using external expertise, its execution requires substantial internal resources in terms of personnel, structures, expertise and finances. This can be overwhelming, especially (but not only) for smaller municipalities.

The Act Now! Approach is help for self-help. It focuses to build internal capacities that help municipalities to sustainably plan and implement energy efficiency measures in the long-run. This enables to accumulate and cultivate the necessary expertise and networks locally.

However, there is obviously no one-size fits-all solution. Municipalities in the Baltic Sea Region and beyond are not only bound to different national legislation, but operating in highly specific local circumstances. Each of them has different administration structures and decision-making procedures, political background, local business structure, population and many more factors to take into account.

Taking this into account, we developed a methodology to identify the capacity gaps in any given municipality and derive a customised capacity building scheme to be applied.

How to use this Learning Platform

This Learning Platform consists of three sections:

  • Further down on this page, you find the core-components of the learning material: The Act Now! Manual and four Guidelines.
  • On the Tools and Useful Documents page, you will find the analysis tools necessary to apply the methodology described in the Manual as well as useful templates for your capacity building process.
  • The Municipality Reports page provides information about each of the municipalities that participated in the Act Now! project, ready to serve you as inspiration and example for your own energy efficiency efforts.
Structure of the Act Now! Learning Platform

The Fundamentals – The Act Now! Manual

If you want to kickstart energy efficiency in your municipality, the Act Now! Manual is your starting point. It is the core document of the Act Now! Approach of capacity building for energy efficiency in the municipal building stock. It provides the foundation necessary to proceed with the aspects covered in the four Guidelines.

The Act Now! Manual
From SEAP to Investment

This Manual helps your municipality to act now. Unlike many manuals and guidelines describing how to set up an action plan for sustainable energy, this manual focuses to increase your municipality’s capacity to put these plans into action:

It will show you how to assess the existing capacities, and let you know what still needs to be established. The result is a customised capacity building scheme.

It also describes the idea of Local Energy Efficiency Work Groups (LEEGs): a network of local stakeholders aggregating the knowledge, perspectives and capacities for an effective and sustained implementation of energy efficiency measures.

Download E-book (PDF, 6.3 MB)

High-quality files for professional printing (ZIP, 12.2 MB)

Hands-on Guidance – The 4 Act Now! Guidelines

With a customised capacity building scheme in place and a LEEG ready to work (see the Manual above), you have successfully built the foundations necessary to tackle energy efficiency in your municipality. In order to further increase the capacities, the Act Now! project has identified four fields of action that require a closer look. Each of the four guidelines prepared during the Act Now! project builds on this manual and will help you to further develop or implement the energy efficiency activities in your municipality:

The Act Now! Guideline
Energy Efficiency Strategy for Municipal Buildings

This Guideline explains how to make a strategic approach to improve energy efficiency in municipalities. While this Manual focuses on the municipal capacities needed, the Guideline focuses on what a municipality should do in order to set up an energy efficiency strategy.

Best practices from the Act Now! project are reported in a separate annex, downloadable further below.

Download the Guideline as E-book
(PDF, 4.3 MB)

High-quality files for professional printing
(ZIP, 8.2 MB)

Best Practices to Act Now! Guideline „Energy Efficiency Strategy for Municipal Buildings“

This Annex includes reports of the best practices from the implementation of the Guideline “Energy efficiency strategy for municipal buildings” in municipalities participating in the Act Now! project.

Download the annex as E-book
(PDF, 0,8 MB)

The Act Now! Guideline
Identification of Most Effective Energy Efficiency Measure

This Guideline provides assistance to municipalities struggling to make their first step. Assuming a SEAP, SECAP or other strategy document is already in place, the guideline helps picking the most effective energy efficiency measure among the many options on the table. Using a system of decision criteria, the guideline helps making a robust and accountable decision.

Download E-book (PDF, 3.3 MB)

High-quality files for professional printing (ZIP, 6.1 MB)

The Act Now! Guideline
Financing of Energy Efficiency Projects

This Guideline takes a closer look on the financial dimension of energy efficiency in municipalities. It provides introduction to the basic principles of financial considerations such as appraisal methods and financing options..

Download E-book (PDF, 5.6 MB)

High-quality files for professional printing (ZIP, 10.2 MB)

The Act Now! Guideline
Public Private Partnerships

This Guideline describes, how the municipality can unlock the vast energy efficiency potential of the local private sector. It explores the courses of action municipalities have in order to engage with private stakeholders. Following the idea of the customer journey, it proposes a step-by-step approach to successfully scale up private retrofit activities through public private partnerships.

Download E-book (PDF, 5.8 MB)

High-quality files for professional printing (ZIP, 11.5 MB)