Project background

COMBI aims at providing a graphical online tool to visualise the multiple impacts of energy efficiency and their aggregation. The tool will be placed on this website.

The multiple benefits of energy efficiency are gaining relevance in the research and the current policy discourse, but scientific evidence is yet scarce and scattered.

Therefore, the project “COMBI – Calculating and Operationalising the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency in Europe” aims at quantifying the multiple non-energy benefits of energy efficiency in the EU-28 area. It gathers existing approaches and evidence from the EU area and develop modelling approaches. Finally we will come up with consolidated data on different impacts of end-use energy efficiency such as

  • emissions (effects on health, ecosystems, crops, built environment)
  • resources (biotic/abiotic, metals and non-metals)
  • social welfare (disposable income, comfort, health)
  • macro economy (labour market, public finance, GDP) and
  • the energy system (grid, supply-side, energy security).

The consortium is coordinated by the Wuppertal Institute with the research partners University of Antwerp, University of Manchester, Copenhagen Economics and ABUD/Advanced Buildings and Urban Design. COMBI is financed by the EU-Horizon 2020 research programme (call EE-12).

The data will be available at the open-source online database. The data will be analysable via a graphic online-visualisation tool (scheduled for  autumn 2017). To this end, an aggregation methodology is being developed to avoid double-counting, deal with other aggregation issues and for presenting the various impacts on their various dimensions. Finally, insights for policy relevance will be derived and policy recommendations elaborated to facilitate the communication of the non-energy benefits in the relevant policy areas.

COMBI input data

COMBI will provide estimates of the major multiple impacts of the energy efficiency potential that goes beyond an existing policies scenario in the year 2030. Impacts will be quantified by EU member state and by single energy efficiency improvement (EEI) action. Therefore, detailed input data on energy savings and investment costs are necessary: COMBI uses detailed stock models to this end. The COMBI input data modelling exercise produced a baseline scenario (based on existing EU legislation) and an efficiency scenario (based on ambitious assumptions on technology implementation following more ambitious policies).

Quantifying incremental savings and impacts

The difference between the baseline and efficiency scenario is used as input data (i.e. incremental energy savings and investment costs) for quantifying multiple impacts. Also, only incremental multiple impacts are quantified. This means, COMBI quantifies the multiple impacts that may not happen if no further policy action is undertaken. One goal of COMBI scenarios and impact quantification was to provide a bottom-up funding of the scenarios modelled for the EU-Commission’s EED Impact Assessment and its annexes (based on PRIMES et al.).

However, there are some major differences in the modelling techniques and the two (COMBI/EED-IA) approaches are not fully comparable, mainly due to

  • COMBI focusing on energy efficiency only vs. EED-IA analysing multiple targets (GHG reductions, renewables, energy efficiency)
  • COMBI based on detailed stock model of technologies analysing incremental EEI actions (without cost optimization) vs. EED-IA based on cost-effective target achievement using PRIMES/E3Mlab/ICCS/GAINS et al.
  • COMBI covering a limited set of 26 EEI actions in sectors buildings, transport, industry (thus only a share of the full potential) vs. EED-IA covering all sectors and the full potential (incl. supply and demand)

As a consequence, scenarios cannot be fully comparable, but COMBI provides a much more detailed (by EEI action and EU-member state) disaggregation of energy savings and costs, while covering only a share of the full potential. Overall, the COMBI efficiency scenario approximates the “EUCO30” scenario of the EU-Commission’s EED Impact Assessment, but in terms of level of ambition and if covered actions would be extended, the COMBI scenario would be around the “EUCO+33” scenario.


[explanatory slides on scenario comparison and data summary]

The input data will be available via the COMBI online tool (approx. Autumn 2017), and a detailed data documentation in the download section.

COMBI EEI actions

As input data for the quantification of impacts, COMBI quantifies incremental energy savings and investment costs for a list of 26 EEI actions (together with a large set of additional data and assumptions).

COMBI EEI actions

NrSectorEEI actionEEI Description
1Buildings (residential)refurbishmentrefurbishment of building shell + replacement of building systems (space heating, cooling and ventilation)
2Buildings (residential)new dwellingsnew dwellings or buildings, focusing on Passive House standards
3Buildings (residential)lightinglighting systems
4Buildings (residential)coolingcold appliances
5Buildings (tertiary)refurbishmentrefurbishment of building shell + replacement of building systems (space heating, cooling and ventilation)
6Buildings (tertiary)new dwellingsnew dwellings or buildings, focusing on Passive House standards
7Buildings (tertiary)lightinglighting systems
8Buildings (tertiary)coolingproduct cooling
9Transport (passenger)modal shiftpassenger transport modal shift
10Transport (passenger)two-wheelersmodal shift
11Transport (passenger)carspassenger cars
12Transport (freight)modal shiftfreight transport modal shift
13Transport (passenger)public roadpublic road transport, i.e. bus or coach
14Transport (freight)light duty truckslight duty trucks (LDTs)
15Transport (freight)heavy duty truckslight duty trucks (LDTs)
16Industryhigh temperature processhigh temperature process heating (furnaces, ovens, kilns, dryers, …)
17Industrylow/medium temperature processlow and medium temperature process heating (boilers and steam systems in general)
18Industryprocess coolingindustrial process cooling and refrigeration
19Industryelectric processesprocess specific use of electricity, mainly electrochemical processes in non ferrous metals and chemicals
20Industrymotor drivesmotor drive systems, including pumps, compressed air for utilities, compressed gas/air systems for processes; fans and blowers, and other motor applications
21IndustryHVACheating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems in industrial buildings