AGENEAL mentoring in PROSPECT Learning Cycle 1

The Mentor ‘ AGENEAL - Local Energy Management Agency of Almada’ in Portugal and Mentee ‘Municipality of Heerlen’ in the Netherlands, of the Public Building Learning Group participated in the online session on the 11th of October 2018. +Mentors' Corner

The Local Energy Management Agency of Almada (Portugal) presented the project Almada Less Carbon Climate Fund, a work programme aiming at developing an internal financing scheme to support investment on Energy Efficiency and Renewables. More specifically, Almada’s Local Strategy for Climate Change contains a number of measures targeted at reducing the energy consumption of buildings and the transport sector. To support these measures, the Almada Less Carbon Climate fund was created in 2009. After seven years of successful operation, the fund became a revolving fund. This means that the cost savings resulting from implemented energy efficiency measures are returned directly to the Fund, ensuring leverage of the fund and boosting further investments in a clean energy transition. The most important innovation of the fund is the shared benefits approach which assumes different sharing schemes between the fund and the client department based on the characteristics of the project. The Almada Less Carbon Climate Fund is a totally internal and voluntary scheme which can make it easy to replicate in every public or private institution.

During Step 2 of the Learning Programme, two more online sessions took place on the 19th of December 2018 and on 7th of January 2019. The Mentee presented projects and ideas related to public buildings. The ultimate purpose of the mentee was to learn about the Climate Fund and be inspired and learn about good practices in Almada so then he can present them to the mayor and other stakeholders of his municipality. Specific needs were also discussed, like (a) the minimum amount of budget needed to start the fund, (b) The way that the refund is proscribed, (c) Action plans describing the synergy with the municipality and others as well.

The Dutch Municipality of Heerlen visited AGENEAL in Portugal to learn about Revolving Funds for public buildings

The physical meeting took place in the City of Almada on January 15th and 16th. During the visit AGENEAL informed the representative of the Municipality of Heerlen about the inner workings of the implemented revolving fund, while the former presented the framework on which the future solution will be implemented in and explained Heerlen’s view and approach for energy efficiency and renewable energy innovative financing mechanisms. Both sides engaged in a hands on discussion for building a local innovative funding scheme framework.

D. João I School in Moita
The Barreirense Football Club in Barreiro
Refurbished Social Housing n Almada

Panoramic view of the Municipality of Almada, Portugal

After the theoretical part of the visit, on both days there was a site visit organized to nearby sites, in order to witness three examples of ‘Revolving fund’ funded projects realized in practice. First visit was to the D. João I School in Moita, Setubal, Portugal. At the school were installed Photovoltaics (UPP), solar thermal and LED interior lighting. This was realized with EPC similar model and Crowdfunding model of the school community with the addition of own funds.

The second visited site was the Barreirense Football Club in Barreiro. At the site were installed measures such as: Photovoltaic (Microgeneration), solar thermal (Forced Circulation) and LED interior lighting. This was realized with subsidy from Barreiro City Council (Eco-Challenge Program with Energy and Environmental Diagnosis) with the addition of own funds.

The third visited site was to a Pilot Experience in Social Housing: Energy refurbishment with innovative technologies in Almada. At the site there were installed measures such as: Hybrid solar/PV panels, exterior insulation, efficient windows, intelligent lighting and monitoring.

At the end of the two-day meeting all parties commented on the commitment and the willingness to collaborate of the others and agreed that this was a useful learning experience .

Replication/Transferability: Revolving fund in Public Building

During the 4th step the Mentor and Mentee of the group participated in the transferability and evaluation session on the 15th of April 2019.

During the meeting a transferability analysis was conducted outlining the mentee’s point of view for the conditions of success of possible future endeavors dunded by “Revolving Funds”. The mentee commended the good existing technical conditions, financial and legislative framework and the strong communication among local stakeholders as good signs for transferability. However he mentioned parameters like the time needed for implementation and staff availability at Heerlen as possible decelerating factors.

Rethinking the financing scheme

Main impressions and understanding about the financing scheme:

The idea of an Energy Fund is very inspiring.

Key strengths of the financing scheme:

Makes the ideas and actions visible and helps raising awareness.

Key weakness of the financing scheme:

It´s not really revolving from the start, you need a structural budget(line).

Key steps to set up or develop the financing scheme:

Persuade the decision makers of the municipality toward the use of a Fund in order to show actions as good examples. The budget is spent anyway but the action can and must be structured and highlighted.

The budget should be calculated by an inventory on already taken actions/saving.