Publications of Ürge-Vorsatz, D.

Ürge-Vorsatz D, Reith A, Korytárová K, Egyed M, Dollenstein J. MONETARY BENEFITS OF AMBITIOUS BUILDING ENERGY POLICIES. Network GBP, editor. Budapest, Paris: ABUD (Advanced Building and Urban Design) for the Global Building Performance Network (GBPN)Global Buildings Performance Network; 2015.

Measuring the co-benefits of climate change mitigation

Co-benefits rarely enter quantitative decision-support frameworks, often because themethodologies for their integration are lacking or not known. This review fills in this gap by providing comprehensive methodological guidance on the quantification of co-impacts and their integration into climate-related decision making based on the literature. The article first clarifies the confusion in the literature about related terms and makes a proposal for a more consistent terminological framework, then emphasizes the importance of working in a multiple-objective-multiple-impact framework. It creates a taxonomy of co-impacts and uses this to propose a methodological framework for the identification of the key co-impacts to be assessed for a given climate policy and to avoid double counting. It reviews the different methods available to quantify and monetize different co-impacts and introduces three methodological frameworks that can be used to integrate these results into decision making. On the basis of an initial assessment of selected studies, it also demonstrates that the incorporation of co-impacts can significantly change the outcome of economic assessments. Finally, the review calls for major new research and innovation toward simplified evaluation methods and streamlined tools for more widely applicable appraisals of co-impacts for decision making.

Heating and cooling energy trends and drivers in buildings

The purpose of this paper is to provide a source of information on thermal energy use in buildings, its drivers, and their past, present and future trends on a global and regional basis. Energy use in buildings forms a large part of global and regional energy demand. The importance of heating and cooling in total building energy use is very diverse with this share varying between 18% and 73%. Biomass is still far the dominant fuel when a global picture is considered; the role of electricity is substantially growing, and the direct use of coal is disappearing from this sector, largely replaced by electricity and natural gas in the most developed regions. This paper identifies the different drivers of heating and cooling energy demand, and decomposes this energy demand into key drivers based on a Kaya identity approach: number of households, persons per household, floor space per capita and specific energy consumption for residential heating and cooling; and GDP, floor space per GDP, and specific energy consumption for commercial buildings. This paper also reviews the trends in the development of these drivers for the present, future - and for which data were available, for the past - in 11 world regions as well as globally. Results show that in a business-as-usual scenario, total residential heating and cooling energy use is expected to more or less stagnate, or slightly decrease, in the developed parts of the world. In contrast, commercial heating and cooling energy use will grow in each world region. Finally, the results show that per capita total final residential building energy use has been stagnating in the vast majority of world regions for the past three decades, despite the very significant increases in energy service levels in each of these regions.

Evaluating policy instruments to foster energy efficiency for the sustainable transformation of buildings.

Highlights: [•] All policy instruments reviewed have the potential to generate economic benefits. [•] Regulations and labels seem to work cost-effectively in many environments. [•] Voluntary agreements are comparable to standards, but need specific environment. [•] Information programs are size and design sensitive. [•] Public leadership procurement programs have hidden impacts under other instruments. [Copyright &y& Elsevier]Copyright of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability is the property of Elsevier Science and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Energy use in buildings in a long-term perspective.

Highlights: [•] Key challenges related to energy use in buildings are discussed. [•] The main strategies to mitigate energy use-related challenges are presented. [•] Considerable potential for energy savings in buildings is demonstrated by 2050. [•] Global lock-in risk is quantified: 80% of 2005 energy savings can be locked by 2050. [•] The mitigation scenarios of other well-known models are analyzed and compared. [Copyright &y& Elsevier]Copyright of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability is the property of Elsevier Science and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Affordable construction towards sustainable buildings: review on embodied energy in building materials

Affordable construction has identified low embodied energy in materials as key issue. This review paper shows that even though there is a lack of research on this topic, embodied energy and carbon are studied in the context of buildings and construction materials. Moreover, comparison between studies is not possible due to the different assumptions used by the researchers, due to the fact that most studies are focused in a given location, and also due to the great variation between data presented in the embodied energy databases available. This paper shows different studies published in scientific journal papers and carried out around the world on the accounting of embodied energy in building materials. The paper includes the boundary of each of this study, including the location, type of material or building studied, and the conclusions found. Moreover, the paper discusses the definition of embodied energy and the significance of this concept in buildings.

Ürge-Vorsatz D, Eyre N, Graham P, Harvey D, Hertwich E, Jiang Y, et al. Energy End-Use: Buildings. In: Johansson TB, Nakicenovic N, Patwardhan A, Gomez-Echeverri L, editors. Global Energy Assessment - Toward a Sustainable Future. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2012. p. 649-760.

Building synergies between climate change mitigation and energy poverty alleviation

Even though energy poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation are inextricably linked policy goals, they have remained as relatively disconnected fields of research inquiry and policy development. Acknowledging this gap, this paper explores the mainstream academic and policy literatures to provide a taxonomy of interactions and identify synergies and trade-offs between them. The most important trade-off identified is the potential increase in energy poverty levels as a result of strong climate change action if the internalisation of the external costs of carbon emissions is not offset by efficiency gains. The most significant synergy was found in deep energy efficiency in buildings. The paper argues that neither of the two problems – deep reductions in GHG emissions by mid-century, and energy poverty eradication – is likely to be solved fully on their own merit, while joining the two policy goals may provide a very solid case for deep efficiency improvements. Thus, the paper calls for a strong integration of these two policy goals (plus other key related benefits like energy security or employment), in order to provide sufficient policy motivation to mobilise a wide-scale implementation of deep energy efficiency standards.

Trapped in the heat: A post-communist type of fuel poverty

Fuel poverty is a still insufficiently researched social and energy challenge with significant climate change implications. Based on evidence from Hungarian panel apartment blocks connected to district heating, this paper introduces a new variant of fuel poverty that may not be properly captured by existing fuel poverty indicators. This newly defined variant can be largely attributed to post-communist legacies - though it might also exist in other contexts - and assumes that consumers living in poor-efficiency, district-heated buildings are trapped in dwellings with adequate indoor temperatures but disproportionately high heating costs because (a) changing supplier or fuel is difficult because of the existing technical and institutional constraints, and (b) they do not realistically have the option to reduce individually their heating costs through individual efficiency improvements. This situation often translates into payment arrears, indebtedness, risk of disconnection, or reduced consumption of other basic goods and services. State-supported policy responses to date have favoured symptomatic solutions (direct consumer support) combined with superficial retrofits, though it is argued that only state-of-the-art retrofits such as the passive house-based SOLANOVA pilot project in Dunaújváros can fully eradicate fuel poverty in this consumer group. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Building synergies between climate change mitigation and energy poverty alleviation

Even though energy poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation are inextricably linked policy goals, they have remained as relatively disconnected fields of research inquiry and policy development. Acknowledging this gap, this paper explores the mainstream academic and policy literatures to provide a taxonomy of interactions and identify synergies and trade-offs between them. The most important trade-off identified is the potential increase in energy poverty levels as a result of strong climate change action if the internalisation of the external costs of carbon emissions is not offset by efficiency gains. The most significant synergy was found in deep energy efficiency in buildings. The paper argues that neither of the two problems - deep reductions in GHG emissions by mid-century, and energy poverty eradication - is likely to be solved fully on their own merit, while joining the two policy goals may provide a very solid case for deep efficiency improvements. Thus, the paper calls for a strong integration of these two policy goals (plus other key related benefits like energy security or employment), in order to provide sufficient policy motivation to mobilise a wide-scale implementation of deep energy efficiency standards. © 2012.

Synergies between energy efficiency and energy access policies and strategies

Policies to improve energy access and energy efficiency are often discussed, designed and assessed in isolation from each other. In this paper, we highlight possible synergies in these two domains of policy making by looking specifically at some key household end uses that are the first to be met once improved access has been provided. By building in efficiency considerations at the very inception of activities aimed at improving access, effective energy supply available is potentially increased, the level of energy services that can be provided by the existing capacity and infrastructure or from existing budgets available is also enhanced, and the potential for reducing the cost for those populations for which cost has the highest consideration is also improved. In particular, we recommend two areas where policy maybe leveraged to benefit both access and efficiency objectives, first in the setting of standards, labels and codes and second coupling energy subsidies for access with rebates or grants for more efficient end use devices. © 2012 London School of Economics and Political Science and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Ürge-Vorsatz D, Petrichenko K, Antal M, Staniec M, LaBelle M, Ozden E, et al. Best Practice Policies for Low Carbon & Energy Buildings Based on Scenario Analysis. Full report.. Network GBP, editor. Paris and Budapest: Center for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Policy (3CSEP) of CEU and Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN); 2012.

Building Synergies Between Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Poverty Alleviation

Even though energy poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation are in extricably linked policy goals, they have remained as relatively disconnected fields of research inquiry and policy development. Acknowledging this gap, this paper explores the mainstream academic and policy literatures to provide a taxonomy of interactions and identify synergies and trade-offs between them. The most important trade-off identified is the potential increase in energy poverty levels as a result of strong climate change action if the internalisation of the external costs of carbon emissions is not offset by efficiency gains. The most significant synergy was found in deep energy efficiency in buildings. The paper argues that neither of the two problems – deep reduction sin GHG emissions by mid-century, and energy poverty eradication – is likely to be solved fully on their own merit, while joining the two policy goals may provide a very solid case for deep efficiency improvements. Thus, the paper calls for a strong integration of these two policy goals (plus other key related benefits like energy security or employment), in order to provide sufficient policy motivation to mobilize a wide-scale implementation of deep energy efficiency standards.

Munkahelyteremtés energiahatékonysággal? Egy széleskörű, komplex, mély épületfelújítási program foglalkoztatásra gyakorolt hatásai Magyarországon

Magyarországon, a hasonló gazdasági problémákkal küzdő és kevésbé gazdag országokhoz hasonlóan, az éghajlatváltozás elleni küzdelem, súlya ellenére sem kerülhet bele a legmagasabb prioritású politikai célkitűzések közé. Viszont az ügy fontossága, valamint Magyarország politikai környezete miatt, vagyis a klímavédelemben a világon élenjáró Európai Unió részeként, nekünk is ki kell vennünk a probléma ellen való küzdelemben a részünket. Ilyen körülmények között rendkívül fontos megtalálni azokat a klímavédelmi intézkedéseket, amelyek egyszerre több gazdasági, társadalmi, politikai cél elérését mozdítják elő, a klímavédelmi hatásokon kívül. Erre a célra talán a legalkalmasabb terület az energiahatékonyság növelése, hiszen ezek járulékos hasznai sokszor sokkal nagyobbak, mint magából a klímavédelemből származók.

Korytarova K, Ürge-Vorsatz D. Energy savings potential in the Hungarian public buildings for space heating. In: IEECB'10: Improving Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings. Frankfurt, Germany: Joint Research Centre of the European Commission; 2010.
Novikova A, Ürge-Vorsatz D. Potential for carbon dioxide mitigation in the Hungarian residential buildings. In: of(AEE) AEE, editor. KLÍMAVÁLTOZÁS, ENERGIATUDATOSSÁG, ENERGIAHATÉKONYSÁG (Climate Change, Energy Awareness, Energy Efficiency). Szeged: Hungarian chapter of AEE; 2009.

Bottom-up assessment of potentials and costs of CO2 emission mitigation in the buildings sector: Insights into the missing elements

The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has calculated and shown that, currently, the buildings sector has the largest potential for low-cost carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation in the short to medium term from application of technological options among the sectors examined, based on bottoms'up studies. The potential estimates, however, were derived with no regard to indirect costs of CO2 mitigation, associated benefits, and non-technological options; these factors might change the magnitude of the potential and the costs associated with its implementation. The question emerges how accurate the indicators of the economic potential are according to the current IPCC method and how much they might change if all factors mentioned were taken into account. While research results are presently not sufficient to fully answer this question and quantitative analyses of non-technological options, transaction costs associated with barriers, and non-energy benefits are scarce and fragmented, this paper makes a first attempt to assess the presently available literature in the field. The paper concludes that the ballpark is right for the figures reporting the cost-effective potentials in the buildings sector; however, these assessments indeed need to be corrected by incurred transaction costs and co-benefits relevant for the particular assessment, as well as the potential of non-technological options. The paper also outlines a research agenda in the area so that a possible next Assessment Report of the IPCC can derive a more accurate estimate of the bottom-up potential of CO2 mitigation. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.

Potentials and costs of carbon dioxide mitigation in the world's buildings

Buildings are responsible for over a third of global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. A significant share of these emissions can be avoided cost effectively through improved energy efficiency, while providing the same or higher level of energy services. How large is this emission reduction potential globally and how much will it cost for society to unlock it? This paper provides answers to these questions, presenting the results of bottom-up research conducted for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), based on the assessment of 80 country- or regional-level mitigation studies throughout the world. First, the paper analyses the findings of these studies in a common framework. Then, it aggregates their results into a global estimate of CO2 mitigation potential. The paper concludes that by 2020 it is possible to cut cost effectively approximately 29% of buildings-related global CO2 emissions, the largest among all sectors reported by the IPCC, representing a 3.2 GtCO2eq. reduction. Developing countries house the largest cost-effective potential with up to 52% of building-level emissions, whereas transition economies and industrialised countries have cost-effective potentials of up to 37% and 25%, respectively. Energy-efficient lighting was identified as the most attractive measure worldwide, in terms of both reduction potential and cost effectiveness. If this potential is realised, the building-related CO2 emissions would stay constant over 2004-2030. These stabilisation levels (if achieved by all other sectors) would cancel about 3°C temperature increase over the projected period of time. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Novikova A, Ürge-Vorsatz D. Szén-dioxid kibocsátás-csökkentési lehet. Budapest: Ministry of Environment and Water (Környezetvédelmi és Vízügyi Minisztérium); 2008.

Analysis of electricity consumption in the tertiary sector of Hungary

The tertiary sector, which is responsible for about a third of the total national electricity consumption,could be a significant contributor to energy saving and greenhouse gas mitigation targets in Hungary. For evidence-based design of such policies, it is important to understand the reasons behind the dynamics of the electricity consumption and its structure. According to the authors’ investigation, there has been no research-focused, targeted project aimed at electricity monitoring in tertiary sectorbuildings in Hungary as of 2006. To address this gap in knowledge, a research team at the Central European University (CEU) analyzed electricity consumption in 10 tertiary buildings in Hungary in the framework of the European project El-Tertiary (Monitoring Electricity Consumption in the Tertiary Sector). The methods used by CEU included a minimum of 2-weeks on-site measurements of lighting, major electrical appliances such as office equipment, kitchen appliances, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), as well as analysis of documents such as energy bills, electricity plans and energy supply contracts. In addition, a survey was conducted among the building managers. The paper details the preliminary results of the project implementation in Hungary. It investigates the electricity consumption and its composition in a set of studied buildings. It also identifies the opportunities for potential technical and behavioural electricity savings and the reasons why they are neglected by building owners or occupiers in Hungary. The results indicate significant potential for energy savings in tertiary sector buildings in Hungary. However, energy consumption is not a high priority among tertiary sector building owners and occupiers in the tertiary sector in Hungary and even the most low-hanging fruits for reducing energy consumption are often not picked up. Instead, renovations and new constructions of educational sector buildings often lead to an increase in energy consumption because more new appliances are purcha sed. Although the modern schools possessed more efficient electronic equipment, including liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors and florescent tubes and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), they were also characterized by the highest energy consumption due to the elevated number of computers and office equipment, as well as additional comfort elements, such as air conditioning and vending machines.

The electricity consumption structure and saving potential for electricity in buildings of the Hungarian tertiary sector

The tertiary sector, which is responsible for about a third of the total national electricity consumption,could be a significant contributor to energy saving and greenhouse gas mitigation targets in Hungary.For evidence-based design of such policies, it is important to understand the reasons behind the dynamics of the electricity consumption and its structure. According to the authors’ investigation, there has been no research-focused, targeted project aimed at electricity monitoring in tertiary sector buildings in Hungary as of 2006. To address this gap in knowledge, a research team at the Central European University (CEU) analyzed electricity consumption in 10 tertiary buildings in Hungary in the framework of the European project El-Tertiary (Monitoring Electricity Consumption in the Tertiary Sector). The methods used by CEU included a minimum of 2-weeks on-site measurements of lighting, major electrical appliances such as office equipment, kitchen appliances, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), as well as analysis of documents such as energy bills, electricity plans and energy supply contracts. In addition, a survey was conducted among the building managers. The paper details the preliminary results of the project implementation in Hungary. It investigates the electricity consumption and its composition in a set of studied buildings. It also identifies the opportunities for potential technical and behavioural electricity savings and the reasons why they are neglected by building owners or occupiers in Hungary. The results indicate significant potential for energy savings in tertiary sector buildings in Hungary. However, energy consumption is not a high priority among tertiary sector building owners and occupiers in the tertiary sector in Hungary and even the most low-hanging fruits for reducing energy consumption are often not picked up. Instead, renovations and new constructions of educational sector buildings often lead to an increase in energy consumption because more new appliances are purchased. Although the modern schools possessed more efficient electronic equipment, including liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors and florescent tubes and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), they were also characterized by the highest energy consumption due to the elevated number of computers and office equipment, as well as additional comfort elements, such as air conditioning and vending machines.

Green Investment Scheme: case study on Hungary

Recently, the concept of a Green Investment Scheme (GIS) has been developing rapidly and gained pace in 2008 when Hungary and Latvia adopted the GIS legislature and at least three more European countries prepared to follow suit. Against this background, the paper examines the Hungarian case looking into its legal framework, possible GIS architectures and the country’s actual choice regarding the modality of a Green Investmet Scheme. An overarching question is the allocation of revenues from sales of assigned amount units (AAUs). The primary focus of this paper is on the allocation of AAU revenues to the buildings sector since the latter represents one of the priority areas to be addressed in the context of climate change mitigation. On this basis, an overview of existing national and EU subsidy systems supporring energy efficiency in the Hungarian buildings sector is presented. The authors point to a complementary nature of Hungarian Green Investment Schemes which are supposed to address the projects weakly supported by other policies. In addition, the experiences of CEE countries in energy efficiency projects in buildings are reviewed to the extent which can be relevant for selecting appropriate GIS architecture modalities. Furthermore, the paper addresses the issue of similarity between JI (Track 1) and GIS projects and gives certain recommendations with regard to implementation of Green Investment Schemes in the buildings sector.

IPCC, Metz B, Davidson O, Barker T, Bashmakov I, Bernstein L, et al. Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth AssessmentReport of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2007.
IPCC, T B, Bashmakov I, Bernstein L, Bogner JE, Bosch PR, et al. Technical Summary. In: Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth AssessmentReport of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press; 2007.
Ürge-Vorsatz D, Rezessy S. The wrong roads taken? Promoting renewable power in Central Europe. In: Mez L, editor. Green power markets : support schemes, case studies and perspectives. Brentwood, UK: Multi-Science Publishing Co. Ltd.; 2007. p. 363-92.
Levine M, Ürge-Vorsatz D, Blok K, Geng L, Harvey D, Lang S, et al. Residential and commercial buildings. In: Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press; 2007. p. 53-8.

A new window for a new instrument: Can and will green investment schemes unlock the high efficiency potentials in Eastern Europe?

According to the latest projections, “hot air”, i.e. surplus of greenhouse gas emission (GHG) allowances compared to the Kyoto commitments, will total significantly higher amounts than projected even a few years ago. Since the compliance gaps of Annex I Parties of the Kyoto Protocol are unlikely to be fully filled by credits from the Joint Implementation and the Clean Development Mechanism, this hot air will be in high demand. In order to make these allowances palatable for public opinion, “green investment schemes” (GISs) have been proposed. GISs bring reductions in emissions, using the revenues from allowance sales. The major hypothetical advantage of GISs over flexible mechanisms (FM) is that its potentially diverse architectures could overcome the liabilities of the FMs, and could focus on the highest priorities in emission reduction in the selling countries.Several countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are considering the establishment of GISs in the European Union. Due to the large amount of hot air, GISs could provide a unique window of opportunity in these countries to finance energy-efficiency (EE). The paper first demonstrates why GISs should focus on EE, especially on investment in buildings. Next, the paper warns that the majority of potential GIS architectures will not accommodate EE investments, and therefore it is essential that such a scheme is optimised to leverage EE opportunities already on the drawing board. The paper reviews briefly the potential components of GISs, evaluates them from the perspective on their potential leverage on EE investments, and suggests alternative architectures that can optimise the benefits of GISs for the selling country, as well as the planet.

Mitigating CO2 emissions from energy use in the world's buildings.

An overview of climate change mitigation opportunities in the world's buildings is presented, based on the key building-specific findings of the Fourth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change. Buildings and the building stock can play a major role in mitigating climate change in the short- to medium-term, since substantial reductions in CO2 emissions from their energy use can be achieved over the coming years. A significant portion of these savings can be achieved in ways that reduce life cycle costs, thus providing reductions in CO2 emissions that have a net negative cost. There are indications that the building stock has the highest share of negative- and low-cost greenhouse gas reduction potential among all sectors. Based on 80 collected national or regional studies estimating CO2 mitigation potential in five continents, the global potential for CO2 reductions through buildings is analysed and estimated. The co-benefits associated with the implementation of these measures are also substantial, helping policy-makers justify actions even in the absence of a strong climate commitment. Since the barriers to unlocking the high potentials in the residential and commercial sectors are especially strong, no single instrument can make a large impact. Instead, portfolios of targeted policies tailored to local conditions, combined with strong compliance and enforcement regimes, are needed.

An appraisal of policy instruments for reducing buildings’ CO2 emissions

The building sector currently contributes approximately one-third of energy-related CO2 emissions worldwide. It is economically possible to achieve a 30% reduction. However, numerous barriers such as financial and behavioural issues, market failures, and misplaced incentives prevent the realization of the high economic potentials. Which policy instruments are the most appropriate and cost-effective for reducing these barriers? To address this question, 20 policy instruments were assessed for their effectiveness in reducing emissions, cost-effectiveness, applicability and special conditions for success. The appraisal is based on over 60 ex-post policy evaluation reports from about 30 countries and country groups, representing best-practice examples of the application of these instruments. Appliance standards, building codes, tax exemptions and voluntary labelling were found to be the most effective policy instruments contrary to others such as Kyoto Protocol flexible mechanisms or energy/carbon taxation. The most cost-effective instruments, all achieving energy savings at negative costs for society, were appliance standards, demand-side management programmes and mandatory labelling. Since all policy instruments have limitations and only help overcome some barriers, they are most effective if combined into policy packages designed for the respective location, economy and culture

Kyoto Flexibility Mechanisms in an enlarged EU: will they make a difference?

What potential effect do flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol have on energy efficiency, fuel switching and the development of renewable energy sources for the eight post-communist EU Member States that accessed in 2004? These countries are chief candidates for hosting Joint Implementation (JI) projects and for participating in international emission trading, which may assist the implementation and financing of projects in these target areas. The potentials and barriers to Joint Implementation are reviewed, as well as the conditions under which international emission trading can influence the energy use of the selling country. Different strategies adopted by the host countries towards the application of these instruments, and their impact on sustainable energy development, are examined. The article concludes that the Kyoto flexibility mechanisms may play a positive, but rather limited, role in the sustainable energy development of the region, but the barriers to Joint Implementation may shift the emphasis towards transactions under the framework of international emission trading. If innovative mechanisms are tied to sustainable development goals, this may mobilize the energyefficiency potentials of these countries. An attractive opportunity exists to achieve energy efficiency and emission reductions, utilizing the revenues from allowance sales through ‘green investment’ schemes.

Kyoto flexibility mechanisms in EU accession countries: Will they make a difference?

What potential effect do flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol have on energy efficiency, fuel switching and the development of renewable energy sources for the eight post-communist EU Member States that accessed in 2004? These countries are chief candidates for hosting Joint Implementation (JI) projects and for participating in international emission trading, which may assist the implementation and financing of projects in these target areas. The potentials and barriers to Joint Implementation are reviewed, as well as the conditions under which international emission trading can influence the energy use of the selling country. Different strategies adopted by the host countries towards the application of these instruments, and their impact on sustainable energy development, are examined. The article concludes that the Kyoto flexibility mechanisms may play a positive, but rather limited, role in the sustainable energy development of the region, but the barriers to Joint Implementation may shift the emphasis towards transactions under the framework of international emission trading. If innovative mechanisms are tied to sustainable development goals, this may mobilize the energy-efficiency potentials of these countries. An attractive opportunity exists to achieve energy efficiency and emission reductions, utilizing the revenues from allowance sales through 'green investment' schemes. © 2007 Earthscan.

Mitigating CO2 emissions from energy use in the world's buildings

An overview of climate change mitigation opportunities in the world's buildings is presented, based on the key building-specific findings of the Fourth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change. Buildings and the building stock can play a major role in mitigating climate change in the short- to medium-term, since substantial reductions in CO2 emissions from their energy use can be achieved over the coming years. A significant portion of these savings can be achieved in ways that reduce life cycle costs, thus providing reductions in CO2 emissions that have a net negative cost. There are indications that the building stock has the highest share of negative- and low-cost greenhouse gas reduction potential among all sectors. Based on 80 collected national or regional studies estimating CO2 mitigation potential in five continents, the global potential for CO2 reductions through buildings is analysed and estimated. The co-benefits associated with the implementation of these measures are also substantial, helping policy-makers justify actions even in the absence of a strong climate commitment. Since the barriers to unlocking the high potentials in the residential and commercial sectors are especially strong, no single instrument can make a large impact. Instead, portfolios of targeted policies tailored to local conditions, combined with strong compliance and enforcement regimes, are needed.

Appraisal of policy instruments for reducing buildings' CO2 emissions

The building sector currently contributes approximately one-third of energy-related CO2 emissions worldwide. It is economically possible to achieve a 30% reduction. However, numerous barriers such as financial and behavioural issues, market failures, and misplaced incentives prevent the realization of the high economic potentials. Which policy instruments are the most appropriate and cost-effective for reducing these barriers? To address this question, 20 policy instruments were assessed for their effectiveness in reducing emissions, cost-effectiveness, applicability and special conditions for success. The appraisal is based on over 60 ex-post policy evaluation reports from about 30 countries and country groups, representing best-practice examples of the application of these instruments. Appliance standards, building codes, tax exemptions and voluntary labelling were found to be the most effective policy instruments contrary to others such as Kyoto Protocol flexible mechanisms or energy/carbon taxation. The most cost-effective instruments, all achieving energy savings at negative costs for society, were appliance standards, demand-side management programmes and mandatory labelling. Since all policy instruments have limitations and only help overcome some barriers, they are most effective if combined into policy packages designed for the respective location, economy and culture.

Is there a silver bullet? A comparative assessment of twenty policy instruments applied worldwide for enhancing energy efficiency in buildings

While the commercial and domestic building sectors account for 33 % of all energy-related CO2 emissions worldwide, approximately 30 % of this energy consumption can be saved economically. However, numerous barriers such as hidden costs and benefits, distorted energy pricing, imperfect information, market failures and misplaced incentives prevent the realization of these energy saving potentials. For this reason, countries apply a variety of policy instruments such as building codes, energy efficiency obligations, subsidies and information campaigns. Since these instruments differ considerably in terms of their effects and costs, a research project conducted under the framework of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reviewed more than 60 ex-post policy evaluation reports for the 20 most commonly used policy instruments from app. 30 countries worldwide. The paper presents the results of this exercise regarding the environmental effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these instruments, as well as identifies special conditions for their success.While most policy instruments achieved significant energy savings, appliance standards, building codes, tax exemptions and labelling were revealed as most effective policy instruments. Other instruments such as Kyoto Protocol flexible mechanisms or taxation have been less successful in the building sector. Several policy instruments achieved energy savings at negative costs for society; most cost-effective in our sample were appliance standards, demand-side management programs and mandatory labelling. Since no single policy instrument can capture the entire potential for energy-efficiency, buildings require a diverse portfolio of policy instruments for effective energy use reductions and for taking advantage of synergistic effects.

Confronting climate change: avoiding the unmanageable and managing the unavoidable

Scientific Expert Group Report on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. Prepared for the 15th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development

Ürge-Vorsatz D. Options for domestic policies and climate change strategies of New Member States, Acceding and Candidate Countries. Keynote address.. In: Future EU Climate Change Policy: Challenges and Opportunities for New Member States, Acceding and Candidate Countries. Warsaw: Ecologic; 2006.

Municipalities and energy efficiency in countries in transition: Review of factors that determine municipal involvement in the markets for energy services and energy efficient equipment, or how to augment the role of municipalities as market players

Abstract: It is widely recognized that many cost-efficient opportunities to employ end-use energy efficiency measures exist in countries in transition (CITs) and that municipal authorities have an essential role to play in capturing these opportunities. The aim of this paper is to review the factors that determine the degree of involvement of local authorities in the market for energy services and energy efficient (EE) equipment in three CITs: Bulgaria, Hungary and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (hereafter: Macedonia). We achieve this aim by examining the current status of local governments as the most powerful determinant of municipal market involvement. Two broad groups of factors are discussed: statutory obligations and powers of local governments, especially energy-related tasks, and finance. We explain how specific features within these two areas may influence the motivation of local authorities to improve energy efficiency and their capacity to do so. We argue that greater decentralization is the first step in augmenting the role of local authorities in the market for energy services and EE equipment. Based on the analysis we give recommendations on how to encourage municipal authorities to use market mechanisms more extensively to deliver energy efficiency

Energy in transition: From the iron curtain to the European Union

The fall of communism left some of the most polluting and wasteful energy sectors of the World in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). After 15 years of restructuring, eight of these countries have joined the European Union (EU), closing an era of economic transitions. What progress has been made in these countries in the field of energy from the perspective of sustainability? Has the transition agenda been completed, or do any of the socialist energy sector legacies prevail? The purpose of this paper is to review the period of economic transition in the energy sector, focusing on sustainability, in three selected CEE countries, and to use Russia as a comparison. First, the paper argues that at the core of the unsustainability of energy sectors at the end of the communist era were among the highest energy intensities in the world. Then, we identify the legacies of the centrally planned economy that contributed to these high-energy intensities. We outline a policy agenda for the transitions which addresses the identified legacies. Next, we look at the energy landscape at the end of the restructuring, and review the developments in energy intensities during the period of economic transitions. We conclude that, while energy and economic restructuring is very important to bring down the high-energy intensities of former communist countries, a sizeable gap remains in intensity levels between CEE countries and the old EU states. Therefore, economic and energy system reforms alone will not close the gap, and targeted policies and measures are needed to improve energy efficiency levels. Beyond a more serious governmental commitment, a concerted effort is needed from regulators, corporations, utilities, consumer organisations and the civil sector to catalyse the remaining progress to be made in combating the socialist legacy in the field of energy efficiency. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Ürge-Vorsatz D, Paizs L, Pesic R. Energy and sustainability in Central Europe: A decade of transition in review. In: Maxwell JW, Reuveny R, editors. Trade and environment : theory and policy in the context of EU enlargement and transition economic. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar; 2005. (Series on Economics & the Environment).
Ürge-Vorsatz D, Paizs L, Pesic R. Energy and sustainability in central Europe: A decade of transition in review. In: Trade And Environment: Theory and Policy in the Context of EU Enlargement and Economic Transition.; 2005. p. 227-64.

Electricity End-Use in Buildings: A Survey of New Member States and Candidate Countries

A large body of literature points to the large cost-effective energy conservation potentials in the countries that joined the European Union in April 2004, but the present understanding of the size and details of this potential is limited. Therefore, the European Commission has started a project, managed by DG-Joint Research Center (JRC), with the declared aim to develop a bottom-up end-use electricity consumption database for the building sector in the new EU member states (NMS), candidate countries (CC) and in the Western Balkans (WB). This database will contain reference data concerning electricity consumption and savings potential in buildings (both residential and commercial), a sector which is using a large amount of energy and is considered by the European Commission to be a priority sector for energy conservation policy measures.The paper presents the preliminary results of the first survey of electricity consumption and saving potential in buildings in the NMS and the CC. The paper provides the first results of JRC project on electricity end-use efficiency in buildings in NMS, CC and WB comprising an analysis of data on the installed end-use technologies (penetration rate, usage pattern, specific energy consumption, etc.), an evaluation of the corresponding electricity use and an estimate of the electricity savings potential. The key barriers and incentives to end-use electricity efficiency in buildings will be presented, together with an inventory of current polices. Based on the preliminary results of the study, the paper will present a first set of policy recommendations on how to unlock the electricity saving potential in the buildings sector of NMS and CC.Beyond summarising the present state of understanding in the area of electricity end-use data and conservation potentials in MNS and CC buildings, the paper will identify the status and potential key areas for further research which is needed for policy-making at both the EU and the NMS level for the most efficient unlocking of the sizable energy saving potential.

Energy efficiency policy in an enlarged European Union: the Eastern perspective

In May 2004 eight former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe joined the European Union (EU), ending the era of economic transition. During the accession process their energy sectors had to undergo fundamental reforms and restructuring, and after having to adopt European legislation, the main framework of their energy policies now should be up to speed with those of the EU-15.However, the legal harmonization process was entirely one-way. How well do the present EU energy efficiency policies cater to the needs of the new member states? What is the end result of the transition and accession process in this field? What has the ambitious restructuring schedule delivered in these countries from the perspective of energy efficiency? Where are these countries in terms of energy efficiency policies today, compared to the old member states? How should EU energy and environmental policies change or be strengthened to accommodate the different settings in the accession countries?These questions were answered as a part of a study commissioned by the European Parliament and completed by the Central European University. The paper will portray the development of energy intensity during the accession process, and catalogue the policies in place today influencing the efficiency of energy use. The paper then provides recommendations on how the efficiency of energy consumption could be promoted further, and what EU-level policies could be introduced to facilitate these changes. Among other suggestions, the paper points to the importance of policy integration and the decentralisation of policy implementation to the municipal level.