Category: News

New Mechanism for Comprehensive Renovation of Public and Multi-Family…

ESCO, or so-called ‘guaranteed result contracts’, make implementing energy efficiency measures more accessible

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In terms of energy efficiency and a sustainable future, Bulgaria has taken another step forward in providing opportunities for the comprehensive renovation of the building stock. Thanks to the four-year efforts of the FinEERGo-Dom project, the use of the ESCO mechanism has become an accessible tool to assist owners in renovating public and multi-family residential buildings.

In Bulgaria, the new mechanism for comprehensive building renovation through ESCO, or the so-called ‘guaranteed result contracts’, was developed and proposed by the FinEERGo-Dom project team, led by Econoler (Bulgaria) and supported by numerous partners from Poland, Latvia, Austria, Romania, and Slovakia. It is based on the LABEEF model, successfully applied in Latvia for building renovation through ESCO, and its implementation in Bulgaria was made possible thanks to strategic partnerships at national and local levels, including with the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, the Sustainable Energy Development Agency, and the teams of H2020 projects BeSmart, SHEERenov, SHAREs, and the Bulgarian ESCO association.

The centerpiece of the project is the creation of the FinEERGo-Dom one-stop-shop– an innovative and free solution addressing the need for a wide range of services to achieve deep renovation of buildings in the country. The center’s primary task is to assist municipalities and citizens in correctly using the newly developed ESCO mechanism for renovating their homes within Stage II of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, where 175 million euros in grant funding is provided. It is crucial to properly inform citizens about the specifics of the new model and for municipalities to competently conduct the procedures for selecting an ESCO company. In this context, a series of informational meetings with citizens on the topic of building renovation, the first of which will be in Burgas on December 5th, are planned in the coming months with the assistance of local municipalities. Information campaigns with Gabrovo municipality, Blagoevgrad municipality, and other interested municipalities are in the process of being finalized.

Why the ESCO Mechanism is Necessary

The practice in Bulgaria shows that the main problem in the energy renovation of the building stock is obtaining the initial resource for financing the investment. Essentially, with the ESCO mechanism, the company provides this financial resource, which is subsequently paid back 100% from the realized future energy savings, not by the owners. The contractor (ESCO) provides annual financial guarantees for the realization of the planned energy savings, which practically means that if the planned energy savings are not achieved, the owner will receive financial compensation, and the ESCO company has the responsibility to remedy the causes of the negative result.

In Bulgaria, there has been a legislative framework regarding guaranteed result contracts for years, but due to imperfections, its application was limited in scope – individual programs for renovation of residential buildings and operational programs targeting public buildings under the European Union. One of the main contributions of the FinEERGo-Dom project is the integration of the ESCO model into several strategic programs of the country and the introduction of legislative changes to improve the ESCO model and expand the possibilities for its application through hybrid forms – ESCO model and grant funding. Examples in this regard are the Long-term Strategy for Renovation of the National Building Stock (up to 2050), the provision of ESCO for financing 20% for renovating multi-family residential buildings in Stage II of the Bulgarian Recovery and Resilience Plan, changes in the Energy Efficiency Act and the accompanying ordinance for applying ESCO in the public building stock, and the new generation of financial instruments from the Fund of Funds, providing the possibility of combination with the ESCO mechanism. Opportunities for the use of technical assistance under international instruments EUCF (EUR 60 thousand) and ELENA (up to EUR 3 million) were foreseen.

The project showed that active efforts to popularize good practices are of crucial importance for the successful renovation of the building stock. The story of FinEERGo-Dom is more than just a project to develop a financial mechanism for comprehensive building renovation – it is a story of innovation, collaboration, and change. It demonstrates how joint efforts and strategic thinking can lead to significant improvements in a country’s sustainability and serve as a model for other countries striving for a green and sustainable future.

Free Consultations for Pre-feasibility Studies Announced

Free consultations for pre-feasibility studies in energy efficiency and renewable energy investments for residential and public buildings announced

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The philosophy of programming grant schemes (so-called grants) in Bulgaria still significantly differs from successful global practices. While the modern approach emphasizes supporting pre-project research to structure a high-quality, sustainable, and low-risk project, in Bulgaria, grants typically focus on the actual project execution phase, like financing construction works or purchasing and installing equipment. When the responsibility and costs for conducting pre- feasibility are entirely transferred to the owners, low price and speed remain the leading factors in selecting contractors, rather than developing innovative projects with high added value. Unfortunately, the chances are slim that cheap and hastily prepared surveys will provide quality energy-efficient solutions.

There is also a clear injustice – only a negligible percentage of potential beneficiaries can take advantage. With the same amount of funds, dozens more pre- feasibility studies can be financed, which can “unlock” investment income, including from the private sector, to many more projects.

This necessitates the need to provide technical assistance to potential beneficiaries in the pre- feasibility phase, which is crucial for structuring effective EE and renewable energy investments in the building sector. In an attempt to provide such expert support, the Bulgarian FinEERGo-Dom EE/ESCO Service Center was established, offering free consultations on EE and renewable energy programs within the center’s expertise. All interested parties have access to a unique “one-stop-shop” platform, combining the expertise and opportunities of a group of partners.

Available are contracts for renovation adapted to Bulgarian conditions based on the Latvian model, methodologies for assessing the risk in condominiums, communication strategies for successful work with associations of owners, and other useful tools, thanks to the expertise of Econoler – the Bulgarian partner of the FinEERGo-Dom project. For maximum transparency in the preparation and implementation of EE/renewable energy projects and to achieve a good match, interested parties can freely use the online SUNShINE platform, suitable for apartment owners, ESCO companies, investors, financial institutions, and municipalities.

Potential beneficiaries can also benefit from expert consultations regarding the use of the ESCO mechanism, thanks to the participation of the Bulgarian ESCO Alliance (Alliance for Energy Efficiency). ESCO companies offer public, community, or residential building owners the opportunity to assess the initial costs of investments in pre-feasibility studies and the implementation of energy-saving measures. In addition to providing financial resources, ESCO companies guarantee energy savings, allowing owners to comfortably and securely pay off investments in energy-saving measures. The topic is also timely due to the inclusion of ESCO contracts in the latest version of the guidelines for applying in the upcoming second phase of the national program for renovation of the residential building stock.

Various financing options are another current topic. Here, experts from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources Fund can explain the opportunities for attracting credit financing from the Fund for the implementation of EE or renewable energy measures. This can be complementary to grant and/or ESCO financing, bridging, or fully covering the financial needs of the projects.

Bulgarian FinEERGo-Dom platform partners can also assist in attracting technical assistance in the preparatory phase of EE and renewable energy projects under the current European schemes, e.g. European City Facility (EUCF, and ELENA. The attracted grant funds can be used for developing EE/renewable energy projects, information campaigns, preparing investment programs, business plans, aggregating projects to achieve better terms from suppliers, and other activities, which is key to ensuring the successful implementation of projects with maximum financial and environmental results. Under EUCF, technical assistance is up to 60,000 euros and is suitable for municipalities wishing to develop an investment program in EE or renewable energy. On the other hand, ELENA is open to private entities, providing technical assistance of around 1.5 million euros. The instrument implies creating unions of several municipalities or other legal entities with significant needs for EE or renewable energy investments within 20-30 million euros.

FinEERGo-Dom one-stop shop is an innovative initiative of complementary experts in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Bulgaria. The main advantage of the platform is the competent orchestration of the many parties and processes on which the successful implementation of a sustainable project depends. From the earliest stage, potential beneficiaries can receive expert information and free consultations on all related topics, so as to structure a quality, sustainable, and effective project, which will always be of interest to investors, financial institutions, grantors, and building owners. Anyone interested can contact the FinEERGo-Dom partners at the contacts listed on the project’s website – and take advantage of free expert support.

The key mission of Bulgarian FinEERGo-Dom one stop shop is to set an example that stops the negative trends in the market for energy-efficient services. Currently, the activity of commercial participants is determined by the dates of grant program announcements, i.e., we witness a short-term strong impulse followed by long periods of stagnation. In other words, the national market is programmed in total dependence on grants, not in entrepreneurship, initiative, sustainability, which would provide clients with much higher quality and competitive services. As a logical consequence, there are also a series of missed environmental benefits over the past decades. It is not difficult to make such a conclusion, given that a small number of projects are financed, providing the easiest, cheapest, and suboptimal energy-efficient solutions.

Blagoevgrad Municipality With an Approved Project

Blagoevgrad Municipality has received approval for a project under the EU City Facility to support the process of energy transformation of the local economy.

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(Source: BG FinEERGo-Dom One-stop-shop)

Blagoevgrad Municipality has received financial support under the EU City Facility (EUCF). Within its framework, only three projects for investment concepts from Bulgaria were approved, including that of Blagoevgrad Municipality. Its realization will reduce the regional dependence on imported natural gas, accelerate the decarbonization of the public and residential building stock, as well as the public transport by transitioning to non-polluting renewable energy sources. The residents of Blagoevgrad will also be able to benefit from the support of the local administration regarding the renovation of multifamily residential buildings as part of the Bulgarian Recovery and Resilience Plan. An information campaign is planned to increase citizens’ awareness of schemes for providing the required co-financing by apartment owners. The initiative is implemented in partnership with the H2020 funded European project FinEERGo-Dom, which replicates the experience of institutions from Poland and Latvia in Bulgaria.

The secured funding will assist Blagoevgrad Municipality in the process of structuring bankable investment proposals that can attract financing not only from national and European sources but also unlock private sector funding. Only by ensuring multiplicative financial effects can the levels of regional investments be achieved that will facilitate the energy transformation of the local economy. The investment concept will also develop a program for transitioning the municipal building stock to the use of renewable energy sources, as well as a techno-economic analysis of the financial benefits of integrating smart systems for active monitoring and optimization of energy consumption with the participation of building users.

Five Stories From Five Countries (Final Conference)

The FinEERGo-Dom Final Conference event was part of the Central and Eastern Europe’s Energy Efficiency (C4E) Forum, taking place between the 23rd and 26th of May 2023, in the central location of Šamorín near Bratislava, Slovakia.

The conference captured a range of discussions focusing on energy efficiency, building renovation, and the broader context of environmental sustainability in Europe. The primary topics included:

    • Overview of the FinEERGo-Dom Project: The project, which began over four years ago, aimed at replicating a financial model used in Latvia across several European countries, including Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Austria. This replication was designed to facilitate energy efficiency improvements in buildings.
    • Policy and Legislative Context: The European Union’s broader policy goals, such as the European Green Deal and the Fit for 55 package, were discussed. These policies aim to make the EU economy climate-neutral by 2050, with an interim target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030. The importance of updating legislative frameworks to support energy efficiency initiatives was emphasized.
    • Challenges in Building Renovation: A significant challenge is the low rate of energy renovations in the EU, with only about 1% of the building stock undergoing energy renovations annually. Barriers include difficulties in gaining consensus among homeowners, finding skilled contractors, and securing necessary financing.
    • Financing and Investment Needs: The investment needs for achieving the 2030 energy efficiency goals are substantial, estimated at around 150 billion euros annually. The EU budget covers only a small part of these needs, indicating a significant role for private investments.
    • Country-Specific Experiences and Strategies:
      • Austria: Discussed the state of Energy Service Contracting and its historical context, challenges in the residential sector, and the development of model contracts.
      • Slovakia: Covered the legal framework for Energy Contracting, challenges in renovating multifamily housing and public buildings, and potential solutions.
      • Bulgaria: Focused on adapting the Latvian financial model to Bulgarian specifics, dealing with subsidy-dependent markets, and integrating the project into national policy.
      • Romania: Presented a business case for energy-efficient investments, emphasizing the use of savings from energy costs to finance investments.
  • EPC Plus Model in Poland: Poland’s approach to addressing the identified challenges through the ESCO and EPC plus support program, which involves offering grants to housing owners that can be transferred to ESCO companies for project management and maintenance post-renovation.

The Final Conference garnered the participation of nearly 100 individuals, both online and in-person. It was marked by engaging and productive discussions, yielding positive feedback and fostering valuable networking opportunities. The conference recordings, together with the presentations from our partners, have been made available on the FinEERGo-Dom website and through our partners’ communication platforms. Highlighted below are some key moments from the event:

Upper left: opening speech; Upper right: Adrian Joyce, Renovate Europe & Nicholas Stancioff, F3; Bottom: FinEERGo-Dom project partners

View recording of the event

Presentations can be downloaded from here:


SHAREs is a project for creating and developing national one-stop-shops to support citizens in implementing energy efficiency, energy management or use of renewable energy in their communities.

There are six partner countries involved: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, and Bulgaria. With Georgia, the project has also a non-EU country on board.

Innovative Financing Schemes for Energy Efficiency and Saving

Check out how SUPER-HEERO and FinEERGo-Dom focus on innovative financing schemes to support energy efficiency for a range of domains, with particular expertise in residential and public buildings, as well as supermarkets.

Take advantage of projects’ exploitable results, such as

  • Innovative financing schemes for supermarkets
  • Standardized and transparent contracts
  • Building Energy Efficiency Facility

FinEERGo-Dom at the WSED 2023

The second roundtable of the H2020 project FinEERGo-Dom took place during the World Sustainable Energy Days 2023. One of the three innovative workshops was dedicated to “Supporting EPC and energy efficiency service (EES) providers in decarbonizing buildings” and was organized together with the H2020 project REFINE. A series of presentations and a panel discussion about the investors’ perspective on increasing capital in deep renovation made the program of the event. You can download the files and see some pictures below.

FinEERGo-Dom Blending with Innovative Energy Supply

Innovative synergies between the FinEERGo-Dom model and DanuP-2-Gas project were discussed at the DANUP-2-GAS NATIONAL WORKSHOP IN BULGARIA on the 2nd of December 2022. The focus was on put on the opportunities for combination of the benefits from deep renovation of a pool of multifamily buildings with renewable energy supplied by Power-to-Gas hubs. More about the event can be read below or here.



(Source: DanuP-2 Gas project)

DanuP-2-Gas National Workshop in Bulgaria was held on the 2nd of December 2022 as a hybrid event at hotel Central (Sofia) and online. More than 60 individual invitations were emailed to potential interested participants; the event was intensively promoted also in social networks and websites. The campaign generated a high interest and a great number of registrations, resulting in fine selection of guests.

The workshop continued for almost six hours, giving opportunity for detailed discussions and a deep dive into the technicalities and business models of Power-to-Gas (P2G) technologies. After the short welcoming and introductory words, the participants were presented with the workshop’s main topics, i.e., the P2G concept and the opportunities for methanization of biogas, allowing its injection into the gas grid, Danube Energy Platform, Subsidies catalogue, Transnational RE Atlas, Optimization tool, Pre-feasibility study, existing legislative and administrative barriers to the construction of P2G hubs. Innovative synergies with other ongoing projects were demonstrated such as the H2020 FinEERGo-Dom under which the benefits from deep renovation of a pool of multifamily buildings can be combined with energy supply from P2G hubs.

The topics sparked discussions among the onsite participants, which continued also during the coffee and lunch breaks. Expectedly, most discussions were related to the regulatory restrictions and conditions for implementation of real P2G projects in the country. There were questions about the practices of foreign companies owning and operating biogas plants as well. As a final note, the participants expressed their interest to have speakers representing the transmission systems operators, regulator, etc. during such events in the future.

P2G technologies are expected to gain popularity in Bulgaria due to the independence from natural gas supplies they provide, along with the unbearably high prices of that type of energy carrier. Considering the great number of financial instruments and EU subsidies that can be used to realize P2G investments, e.g., Bulgarian Resilience and Recovery Plan, it is a matter of making one more step before such production facilities start to operate in Bulgaria.

Scaling Energy Efficiency Investments in Multifamily Buildings

Regional Investment Roundtable; 23.11.2022, Sofia (Bulgaria)

Successful practices, business models and instruments that enable deep renovation in multifamily buildings were at the center of the discussions during the Regional Investment Roundtable that took place on November 23rd, 2022 in Sofia (Bulgaria). The event was organized as part of the activities under the FinEERGo-Dom – a H2020 funded project. During the opening session, renowned speakers presented recent and upcoming developments in Energy Performance Contracting (EnPC) markets and regulations across Europe, drew key parallels with the FinEERGo-Dom scope, and outlined opportunities for synergies.

The EU level policy context was outlined by Eduardo Soares Antunes (DG ENER). Mr. Antunes focused on the new revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the additional ways for supporting the EnPC model throughout EU.

Ms. Karolina Loth-Babut (Polish National Energy Conservation Agency / KAPE) – FinEERGo-Dom project coordinator and Mr. Marcin Jamiołkowski (Polish Fund for Environment Protection and Water Management / NFOŚiGW) – FinEERGo-Dom’s financial capacity provider, presented the structure of the already operating FinEERGo-Dom financial scheme in Poland, which involves The Polish Development Fund (PFD) besides KAPE and NFOŚiGW. Mr. Nicholas Stancioff, the FinEERGo-Dom ideologist, broadened the FinEERGo-Dom vision and shifted it from energy efficiency towards comfort, health, and safety environment for homeowners.

The plenary session concluded with a presentation from one of the keynote speakers of the Roundtable – Mr. Soren Lutken (Chairman of the Global ESCO Network). Mr. Lutken explained the various ways through which the Global ESCO network supports the application of ESCO business model and EnPC around the world, including through mechanisms similar to the FinEERGo-Dom.

Sharing experience from structuring the Bulgarian Decarbonization Fund, North Macedonian Energy Efficiency Fund, and the “Renovation with guaranteed savings” program in Poland was at the focus of the first discussion Session. Mr. Robert Pernetta (European Investment Bank), Mr. Marcin Jamiołkowski (NFOŚiGW), Mr. Simon Avramovski (PointPro Consulting), and Mr. Marko Markov (Econoler) delivered lively and insightful discussion on the subject.

Opportunities for cooperation among active H2020 projects in Bulgaria was the focus of Session Two. Assist. Prof. Maria Trifonova (SHAREs) and Ms. Tzveta Naniova (SHEERenov) brought their perspective on how FinEERGo-Dom can strengthen the value proposition of their projects. Dr. Dragomir Tzanev (EnEffect & Municipal Energy Efficiency Network EcoEnergy) stressed on the importance of effective communication as a tool for enhancing homeowners` engagement.

Mr. Ivan Gerginov (SOFIAC) launched a transcontinental conversation on successful financial practices by using the example of SOFIAC, an investment fund to accelerate Canadian private companies’ EE and decarbonization projects in Session Three. Ms. Gunta Cekule (Latvian Building Energy Efficiency Facility / LABEEF) went into detail in explaining the operation of the fund in Latvia and the reasons why it serves as the role model for the FinEERGo-Dom project. The session concluded with two presentations from mature EnPC markets. Mr. Lieven Vanstraelen (Energinvest & President of the Belgian ESCO Association / BELESCO) demonstrated efficient design of billion investment level project portfolios from Belgium; Ms. Jana Szomolányiová (SEVEn) and Mr. Jaroslav Maroušek (SEVEn) presented a big-ticket EnPC from the Czech Republic that blends financial resources from a grant provider and financial institution.

Presentations for download:

About us

FinEERGo-Dom is an ambitious 4-year project that refines and implements guaranteed financing schemes for energy efficiency and renewable energy in deep renovations of buildings in Poland, Austria, Slovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. The project builds on the experience of the Latvian Building Energy Efficiency Facility (LABEEF), the original Building Energy Efficiency (BEEF) Facility deployed successfully in Latvia. LABEEF is based on an existing example providing 20 year Guaranteed Performance contracts to owners through an On-Bill payment scheme.

An interview with Ms. Naniova – Executive Director BACC…

Ms. Naniova is one of the most experienced experts in Bulgaria when it comes to renovation of multifamily buildings. In this interview we talk about the H2020 SHEERenov project, which she leads, as well as:

(i) the ways SHEERenov facilitates homeowners during their building renovation journey;

(ii) the SHEERenov model and the services it brings to the homeowners, e.g., investment grade auditing, technical auditing, and long-term affordable financing under the roof of a one-stop-shop (OSS);

(iii) major barriers and suggested changes in regulation;

(iv) SHEERenov integration in the Bulgarian Resilience and Recovery Plan (RRP);

(v) potential for synergies with our H2020 FinEERGo-Dom project, e.g., utilization of the SUNShINE online platform, involvement of ESCO companies in the process, etc.