Resource impacts

COMBI: EE not only saves energy and 360Mt of CO2 emissions, but also 150Mt upstream emissions and 850Mt of material resources.

The researchers quantified the material demand and greenhouse gas emissions from energy efficiency improvements as annual impacts in the year 2030, that result from energy efficiency actions throughout Europe leading to energy savings of about 8% relative to a reference scenario.

Energy efficiency is resource efficiency. More than 850 million tons of material do not have to be permanently removed from nature, if Europe implements energy efficiency measures in all sectors. As well, some 360Mt CO2eq of greenhouse gas emissions from direct combustion can be saved plus an additional 150 Mt CO2eq of upstream emissions from the energy provision chain.

Yet, there are also resource costs. As an example from the transport sector, roughly 51 million tons of fossil fuels could be saved from improvements in the transport sector alone, but some additional 18 million tons of metal ores are required to provide the necessary transport systems of the future.

More details and full quantification report

Read More

Air pollution impacts on human health and ecosystem

COMBI: Reduced air pollution could avoid over 11 000 premature deaths and loss of 230 000 life-years annually.

Air pollution is still the single largest environmental threat to human health in Europe. COMBI applied the GAINS model (Greenhouse Gas – Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies model) to quantify effects of accelerated energy efficiency improvements on air pollution. Results are annual impacts in the year 2030, that result from energy efficiency actions throughout Europe leading to energy savings of about 8% relative to a reference scenario.

Accelerated EEI actions between 2015 and 2030 would bring these additional benefits in the year 2030:

  • Additional 10 805 premature deaths would be avoided due to reduced exposure to particulate matter (PM2.5) in the EU-28
  • additional 442 deaths would be avoided due to reduced exposure to ground level ozone.
  • Avoided life expectancy loss due to PM2.5 exposure in the year 2030 stands at around 230 000 Years of Life Lost (YOLLs) for the whole of the EU-28.
  • Additional 4.4 thousand km2 would de spared from acidification and an additional 13.3 thousand km2 would be spared from eutrophication
  • In monetary terms, the value of avoidable mortality may amount to 460 million EUR due to PM2.5 and 46 million EUR due to ground level ozone in the year 2030 for the EU-28.
  • The value of avoided life expectancy loss would stand at immense 26 billion EUR in 2030 for the EU-28 – note: as with all impacts, this is only the incremental value, difference between the two scenarios of the year 2030.

More details and full quantification report

Read More

COMBI blog post on social impacts of energy efficient buildings

COMBI researcher Nora Mzavanadze posted a blog entry on the website of Energy Vulnerability and Urban Transitions on an RMIT Europe workshop:

“RMIT Europe has gathered a number of experts from academia and industry to a half-day workshop on November 28, 2016 – “The social impacts of digitally-enabled energy efficiency in buildings: shaping sustainable energy futures”. The participants discussed energy consumption trends in the residential buildings’ sector, the possibilities that digital technologies could bring in understanding these trends and also in achieving reductions in energy consumption. Social impacts arising as a result of energy efficiency, energy conservation and renewable energy measures in residential housing has been at the center of presentations and discussions […].”

Read full blog post

Read More

EEA: Air pollution causes close to half mn premature deaths in Europe

Air pollution is causing around 467,000 premature deaths in Europe every year, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned. People in urban areas are especially at risk, with around 85% exposed to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at levels deemed harmful by the World Health Organization (WHO). These particles are too small to see or smell, but have a devastating impact.
PM2.5 can cause or aggravate heart disease, asthma and lung cancer.

How big is the problem?

It’s pretty bad. Within the European Union (EU), more than 430,000 people died prematurely due to PM2.5 in 2013, the most recent year with figures available.

Read BBC article

Full EEA report

Read More

Seminar on social impacts of building EE in Spain

Half day seminar addressing the social impacts of energy efficient buildings to ensure a more sustainable future

Date & time: 28 Nov 2016, 10:00 am-02:30 pm (CET)

Venue: RMIT Europe, Minerva 2, 08006 Barcelona, Spain

Cost: Free

Traditionally, policymakers and researchers have focused on the techno-economic approach in assessing the impacts of energy efficient buildings (EEB). However, with sustainable energy becoming a prominent topic in recent times, there has been a growing need to widen the scope to include both social and ethical factors. This seminar brings together insights from academia and industry to shed light on reasons why society should account for human experience, activity and social practices in influencing energy consumption, and how these understandings can help plan for a sustainable future.

COMBI researcher Nora Mzavanadze will be a speaker at the seminar.

Find out more

Read More

COMBI paper: Measuring multiple impacts of low-carbon energy options in a green economy context

A COMBI paper will be published on October 1, 2016 in Applied Energy and is already published online. The article can be openly accessed via ScienceDirect until October 18, 2016:

Measuring multiple impacts of low-carbon energy options in a green economy context


  • Including co-benefits into the cost-benefit analysis of energy options is pivotal.
  • This is not done mainly due to lack of adequate methods, this paper fills this gap.
  • We identify the key challenges to integrating co-impacts into cost-benefit analysis.
  • We propose a menu of solutions to each challenge.
  • An analytical framework systematically addressing interactions among co-impacts.


The economic assessment of low-carbon energy options is the primary step towards the design of policy portfolios to foster the green energy economy. However, today these assessments often fall short of including important determinants of the overall cost-benefit balance of such options by not including indirect costs and benefits, even though these can be game-changing. This is often due to the lack of adequate methodologies.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive account of the key methodological challenges to the assessment of the multiple impacts of energy options, and an initial menu of potential solutions to address these challenges.

The paper first provides evidence for the importance of the multiple impacts of energy actions in the assessment of low-carbon options.

The paper identifies a few key challenges to the evaluation of the co-impacts of low-carbon options and demonstrates that these are more complex for co-impacts than for the direct ones. Such challenges include several layers of additionality, high context dependency, and accounting for distributional effects.

The paper continues by identifying the key challenges to the aggregation of multiple impacts including the risks of overcounting while taking into account the multitude of interactions among the various co-impacts. The paper proposes an analytical framework that can help address these and frame a systematic assessment of the multiple impacts.

Full article via ScienceDirect

Read More

New ECF report: Looking at EE from societal perspective including wider benefits

In the recently published report on “Efficiency First”, the European Climate Foundation asks the EU Commission to analyse Energy Efficiency from a societal perspective,

“to quantify, monetise and factor in the wider social benefits of energy efficiency”, namely to “benefits beyond direct savings to individual households. These benefits include better energy security, air quality, job creation and a reduction in CO2 emissions” and to apply lower discount rates.


Full report:


Driving competititveness, energy security and decarbonisation through increased energy productivity


This briefing explains what “Efficiency First” is and why it should underpin the Energy Union. In a nutshell, it comes down to prioritising investments in energy efficiency -– whether end-use savings or demand response – whenever they would cost less or deliver more than investing in supply or networks. Applying this logic to all energy policy decisions can strengthen Europe’s economic recovery, lower fuel imports, build competitiveness, create jobs, improve air quality and bring down the costs of the transition to a low-carbon society.

Read More

COMBI at the IEPPEC Conference in Amsterdam

From Paris to Amsterdam – The route to successful energy policies: meet COMBI at the IEPPEC Conference in Amsterdam!

The next IEPPEC Conference will be the largest gathering of energy program and policy evaluators of Europe and Asia, hosted in Amsterdam, from 7-9 June, 2016. The event under the motto “Make the Paris agreement a reality with effective evaluation for energy efficiency” aims at fostering successful carbon neutral/mitigation policies and programmes in the future.
The purpose of the conference is to provide a forum for the presentation, critique and discussion of sound evaluations, as well as for experience sharing about evaluation practices. The conference aims at gathering new ideas, inputs for current and upcoming debates, experience feedback and lessons learnt about all the stages of evaluations (preparation, realisation, analysis of results, evaluation use).
On the first day of the conference, Tuesday afternoon, 7 June from 4:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m. in the session of „Innovations in the evaluation of multiple benefits of energy efficiency” (Moderated by Jim Scheer, SEAI) Felix Suerkemper from Wuppertal Institute will a paper submitted by COMBI partners:
Widening the Perspective: An Approach for Evaluating the Multiple Benefits of the 2030 EU Energy Efficiency Potential

The paper presents an overview of the methodologies that will be applied within COMBI for quantifying the Multiple Impacts of energy efficiency in Europe.

For a more detailed programme and other useful information please visit the website of the IEPPEC event.

Read More

IEPPEC academy webinar on Evaluating Multiple Benefits on April 19

IEPPEC is partnering with the European Copper Institute’s Leonardo Energy Initiative to produce a series of free webinars to help accelerate the understanding and use of evaluation in meeting energy efficiency policy and programme objectives.

On April 19, 15-16h CET, Kevin Cooney (Navigant) and Anca-Diana Barbu (European Environmental Agency) will hold a webinar on

Conceptual Framework for Evaluating
Multiple Benefits from Energy Efficiency

Summary of the presentation

The International Energy Agency (IEA) launched their recent publication, “Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency,” at IEPPEC in Berlin (September 2014). Following the launch of the publication, the IEA and IEPPEC collaborated on a project to explore and address the evaluation process relating to these multiple impacts/ benefits.

This webinar will cover one focus area of that collaboration – i.e., the development of a conceptual framework aimed to provide some guidance regarding the evaluation process of these multiple benefits/impacts within the scope of an energy efficiency programme or policy.
Looking for feedback at this session:  It will also provide an overview of the draft framework as well as an early opportunity for researchers and evaluators to offer feedback prior to more in-depth panel discussion at this year’s IEPPEC 7-9 June in Amsterdam.

Information and registration for the webcast

Read More