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Integrated Services to Boost Energy Renovation in Hungarian Homes

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RenoHUb (Integrated Services to Boost Energy Renovation in Hungarian Homes)

Reporting period: 2019-11-15 to 2021-05-14

The global challenge the project intends to address is that Hungary with the current pace of energy efficiency refurbishment will not be able to achieve its commitments under the EU climate and energy framework for 2020. In 2015 the total of 4.4 million households present in Hungary was the biggest energy consumer in Hungary, representing 34% of the total final energy consumption. The residential sector had a higher share in the final consumption than the EU average. Two-thirds of the present residential building stock is energetically outdated. The complex energy refurbishment of the building stock offers at least 40-50% global reduction in the energy use. Whilst some notable progress can be recorded with regards to the energy efficiency renovation of multi-family buildings, especially those of the panel buildings, the energy refurbishment of the single-family buildings is substantially lagging behind, albeit the ratio of single-family buildings is above 95% of the residential building stock which is in European comparison very high.

Based on our understanding the key barriers hindering the penetration of the energy efficiency investments in the residential sector identified include in particular:
● lack of awareness and personal motivation to undertake to a complex (technical, financial and legal) process;
● lack of trust/miscommunication between homeowners and installers;
● in many respects single and multi-family homes face the different challenges and require specific support measures;
● lack of information sources and independent advisory services providing the homeowners with guidance in the decision-making and implementation process;
● lack of easily accessible financing; and
● uncertanties in the future availability of policy instruments coupled with the likely phase out of high-intensity grant contribution.

The overall aim of RenoHUb project is to trigger an upscale of the energy retrofits of the Hungarian homes through the development of an integrated business model (RenoHUb) that is capable to substantially expand within and beyond the project lifecycle in an economically viable manner without involving additional public grant co-financing.
The purpose of RenoHUb structure that initially includes an on-line platform and two offices (“RenoHUb information hotspots”) is to promote energy efficiency refurbishment and building integrated renewables in the residential sector, both in single and multi-family buildings, with increasing leveraging of private funds, and where relevant, gradual phase-out of public grant finance.
Generally, the project targets all homeowners in Hungary. However, according to recent nation-wide surveys, approximately 24% of the Hungarian household share considering to implement full or staged energy saving refurbishments in their homes within the next 3-5 years. The project will specifically focus of these homes in multi-apartment or single-family houses to facilitate to turn their plans into completed investments.
In the first half of the project we were able to set up the project organization and define the main project management tools as part of WP1. We also launched the RenoHUb project website and the necessary visual tools (e.g.: logo, colours and templates). As we completed the first deliverables and carried out the fundamental market researches, we also started our dissemination activity as part of WP7. We created our Dissemination Plan and started to launch our social media channels (e.g.: LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube). We organized and participated on conferences, workshops and conducted active communication with fellow professionals, both on national and international level.
The preparatory work has started to approach banks with the first RenoHUb results. A new run of interviews with key banking personnel is being prepared. In order to facilitate the process a brief introduction of the RenoHUB project and a tailored questionnaire for financial institutions were prepared.
Tasks under WP2 started with great effort, we have completed the baseline research (D 2.1) in April 2020, and continued with the rest of the deliverables within WP2. The Concept paper of the RenoHUb model (which is also a milestone) was the most critical deliverable in the work package, which required profound and deliberate preparation and research. We managed to finalize the business model in May 2021, which made us possible to start to design the Online Platform under WP3. The image materials (brand image materials and tools) and the RenoHUb Image Manual was finished by April 2021. The name of the service is RenoPont Home Energy Renovation Centre.
One of the most important tasks in this project is the RenoPont Online Platform and the RenoPont Information Hotspots. We started the work with the Online Platform in April 2021 and expect to be finished until August 2021. In the meanwhile we managed to open our first Information Hotspot in Nagykanizsa earlier than planned. Regarding the hotspot in Budapest we are conducting advanced negotiations with Budapest Capital City and Budapest 8th District and plan to open two offices in Budapest in October 2021.
We started the preparation works regarding the communication and marketing campaign within WP4 in April 2021. First we prepared the Request for proposal and we were expecting the offers until the 17th of May. According to our revised schedule we will award one subcontractor with the task of developing the marketing and communication strategy of the RenoPont brand until August, and then the implementation of the communication strategy from September 2021, until November 2022. As part of WP4 we started the preparatory works of D 4.2 Training of RenoHUb hotspot operators, which we intend to hold from mid-September until mid-October.

We carried out a RenoHUb Press Launch event in May 2020, especially to build long-term cooperations with the dozen of the journalists and media representatives who participated at the event. Thank to this event, we have 24 major mainstream media news – most of them in the most popular media of Hungary, reaching an estimated number of more than 300,000 persons – and three podcasts about RenoHUb news and results.
We have disseminated RenoHUb’s professional results on 3 international roundtable discussions and workshops (SEIF, PROSPECT2030), reaching in total 130, mainly professional participants. RenoHUb and the RenoPont service was introduced in the national TV as well.
EXI1: Uptake of home energy renovation at local level and corresponding primary energy savings triggered.
EXI2: Studies incorporating the results of the baseline research on social, behavioural, communication and capacity building aspects.
EXI3: Implementation of an economically viable integrated service model.
EXI4: Indirect effect on national energy efficiency policy.
EXI5: Strong and trustworthy partnerships with local actors and quality of the proposed services recognized by market actors.
EXI6: Data evidence made available to market actors. Replication of the model to ensure upscale of home energy retrofits.
EXI7: Availability of adequate financing offer for integrated renovation services.
EXI8: Development of large, locally-developed investment pipelines for home renovation, connecting the supply of finance with demand for it.
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