Follow-up Austrian CITYnvest Workshop

On 16 September 2016 CITYnvest, together with the Climate Alliance in Styria and the Styrian Energy Agency, held an event, hosted by the municipality of Knittelfeld, on the subject of Innovative financing options for renovating municipal buildings. The conference started in the morning with a trip to the NMS Weisskirchen secondary school, which is considered to be a showcase example of energy-efficient renovation. After lunch national and international experts talked on the subject of innovative financing options for renovating municipal buildings. Participants were later able to engage in discussions with speakers in workshops.

This page contains information on the event, further information on the subjects discussed, links and future events to inspire you and offer practical support for innovative financing options for energy-efficient renovation in your municipality. 

You will find a summary, all presentations, and photos of the event here.

Background and obstacles

According to conference participants, uncertainty characterises the planning process in rural areas due to rural depopulation. Uncertainty about the future number of schoolchildren, for example, means that schools will not be renovated in the near future.
Applying for and executing EU projects requires too much time and money for many, particularly smaller, local authorities. Furthermore, these financing options are mostly intended for larger projects and investment volumes. However, if a local authority would like to benefit from EU subsidies, it can cooperate with the federal states or energy agencies or apply to the European Investment Bank for an ELENA grant, which is less costly and time-intensive than for Horizon 2020 projects, for example. In addition, the Climate Alliance is also campaigning from its Brussels Office for access to European funding for small and medium-sized projects. 

Further recommendations, links and events

Financing for feasibility studies conducted by a local specialist team and experts

The European Union offers “technical support” to help municipalities and regions when developing and executing renovation projects. For example, feasibility studies and the preparation of calls for tender are subsidised, or the recruitment of people to act as intermediary between municipalities and tendering contractors/construction companies. Projects should have a certain investment volume in order to qualify for subsidy. Therefore it is advisable to create a coordination office or cooperate with one (see below).

Creation of or support given by a coordination office in order to bundle buildings and knowledge

Small and medium-sized local authorities frequently do not have the necessary knowledge or the time to carry out and finance the energy-efficient renovation of public buildings. At the same time many lenders and project sponsors stipulate a certain investment sum which can only be reached if a large number of buildings are renovated. This also lowers transaction costs.
That is why a series of towns, provinces and energy agencies throughout Europe have created coordination offices to help local authorities to develop and implement renovation projects and/or to carry out energy-efficient renovation of buildings in several municipalities and to share the financial burden. Some tips from the event: experience has shown that local authorities participate financially in creating a coordination office so that the value of this service is recognised and valued.

Further useful information:

  • Guideline for creating a coordination office for energy-efficient renovation: an application-oriented, step-by-step guide based on the example of the province of Liège
  • Detailed information on renovating several buildings concomitantly (also in different local authority areas) can be found in the CITYnvest FAQ under “How to efficiently bundle buildings?”.
  • More information on the services offered by Austrian information centres, in particular on the subject of contracting, can be found via the contracting portal
  • Energy agencies, federal states and other institutions who are interested in establishing a coordination office are invited to contact for more information.

Using crowdfunding to finance energy-efficient renovations

More and more local authorities are showing interest in using crowdfunding to finance the energy-efficient renovation of public buildings.
Reinhard Willfort from ISN gave conference participants some useful advice: successful crowdfunding projects must convey a good story and evoke emotions, e.g. “Become part of the energy transition”, “Added value goes local”. It is important to build up trust. A local authority can start with a small project initially to gain experience.
Examples of the energy-efficient renovation of public buildings which were financed (in part) by crowdfunding:

Step-by-step guide to devising and implementing your financing model

You will be guided through the documentation developed and tested in CITYnvest projects: Overview

Useful links

Contracting portal for Austria: Basic information on energy contracting, information on the execution, and an overview of completed projects, financial aid, and contacts for advice - Overview  
Information on financial aid available in Austria


Climate project courses for local authorities offered by the Climate Alliance
Who are these courses intended for?
The courses are intended primarily for representatives and employees of local authorities, members of e5 (the Austrian version of the European Energy Award) teams, Climate Alliance study groups, or members of parish councils, who want to:

  • familiarise themselves with the subject of local authorities’ obligations regarding climate protection
  • identify further options for local authorities to implement climate protection measures
  • lay the foundations for climate protection projects in their community or parish.

We would also like to hear from participants from other departments in public authorities, from companies, and everyone who has a personal interest in getting involved in climate protection! 
For further information: