Labour productivity from building refurbishment and transport

COMBI: Shifting from non-refurbished to refurbished buildings can mean 4.5 additional annual work-days.

COMBI quantifications 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.

Human productivity following improved health conditions from building refurbishment and transport modal shift are estimated: Several new metrics such as active days, workforce performance and earning ability are proposed to rigorously measure productivity impact of EEI. Accelerated EEI actions between 2015 and 2030 would bring these additional benefits in the year 2030:

  • in Europe, on an average 4.5 active work days/person per annum can be gained by having more deeply retrofitted buildings, passive houses, and nearly zero energy buildings.
  • In addition, by improving the mental well-being on an average European country can gain around 15.7 million euro/year and on an average 1961 healthy life years per million population per annum can be gained by avoiding exposure to bad indoor air quality and conditions.

By opting for modal shift towards active transportation, on an average 1.6 hours/driver can be saved from traffic congestion in a year.

More details (full report forthcoming)

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Energy poverty, residential building refurbishment and human health

COMBI: improving the quality of residential housing may avoid 24 000 premature deaths and loss of 23 000 life-years annually.

According to the European Union’s Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU SILC), 9.4% of European Union’s population were unable to keep their homes adequately warm and 15.2% lived in residential housing characterized by a leaking roof, damp walls, floors or foundation, and rot in window frames or floors in 2015. COMBI quantified the energy poverty-related public health impacts in the year 2030 of accelerated building refurbishments between 2015 and 2030 – avoided excess cold weather deaths due to reduced indoor cold exposure and avoided/reduced asthma due to reduced indoor dampness exposure.

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.

Depending on scenarios of whether policies are targeted towards socially vulnerable or not at all, the results show that:

  • 3 000–24 000 avoided premature deaths due to reduced indoor cold
  • 2 700–22 300 avoided disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) loss of asthma morbidity due to reduced indoor dampness
  • The associated economic value of avoided annual public health damage in 2030 ranges from 323 million EUR to 2.5 billion EUR for premature mortality due to indoor cold; and
  • from 338 million EUR to of 2.9 billion EUR due to asthma morbidity due to indoor dampness.

More details and full report

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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

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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

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Register now! COMBI final conference: May 17

Launch of online tool and final project conference in Brussels

On 17 May 2018 in Brussels, COMBI organizes the final project conference, where we officially launch our online tool quantifying the multiple impacts of Energy Efficiency. Registration for the event until 10th May!

Background: The EU follows the „energy efficiency first“ principle – with one key reason being that efficiency not only brings energy and greenhouse gas savings but also a range of multiple benefits or impacts. But of what size are impacts? How can they be included in cost-benefit analysis? Do they really bring added value to the policy discourse and should energy policy departments team up with others to reap those benefits?
Audience invited: The event is dedicated to policymakers and their assistants, consultants, to researchers and journalists on the field, but open to the general public. Participation is free of charge.

Programme: Keynotes will explain the current value of quantifying multiple impacts in policymaking from an international perspective (Kathleen Gaffney, IEA) and from an EU perspective (Paul Hodson, DG ENER, Head of Energy Efficiency Unit).

COMBI project researchers present approaches and findings for the quantifications of multiple impacts of energy efficiency in the EU by 2030. Most important impact quantifications have been included to an online tool that will be launched during the event and will be available immediately to participants open-access.
The conference also presents ex-post assessments and results from other European projects and models and discusses if and how multiple impacts can contribute to strengthen the case for energy efficiency in the future.

Conference program available here.


Date: 17 May 2018, 13.00-17.30 CET

Venue: First Euroflat Hotel, Boulevard Charlemagne 50, 1000 Brussels

The organizer reserves the right to make changes to the event program.



   Register now

Questions on registration & organisation:

Questions on content & press contact:

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EEA report: 400,000 premature deaths in EU due to air pollution

A new study by the European Environmental Agency finds that 400,000 Europeans die prematurely due to air pollution. Domestic heating is the biggest emitter of small particulate matter, followed by road transport and industry. The limit values are surpassed the most in Bulgaria and Poland.

The Air quality in Europe report series from the EEA presents regular assessments of Europe’s air pollutant emissions, concentrations and their associated impacts on health and the environment.

EEA air quality report 2017

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New EU-COM report on “The macro-level and sectoral impacts of Energy Efficiency policies”

The EU-Commission has published a recent study conducted by Cambridge Econometrics, Ernst & Young and SQ Consult.

From the Executive Summary

This report sets out the potential positive and negative impacts of improvements to energy efficiency in Europe. The analysis presented in this report covers the macroeconomic, social and environmental impacts that could come about through increasing the EU’s 2030 target for energy efficiency beyond a level of 27% in comparison to baseline projections, to 30% or beyond. Parts of this report (notably the literature review included in Appendix D) build also on the work carried out for a previous study for the European Commission1, which focused on the economic, environmental and social impacts of improved energy efficiency in buildings. This is referred to in the text as ‘the EPBD report’.

Successive studies have shown that energy efficiency offers many of the most cost- effective options for meeting global greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In many cases, energy efficiency measures have been shown to be ‘negative cost’, meaning that it would be economically advantageous to implement them. In this analysis, a wide range of potential effects is considered, covering the three pillars of economic, social and environmental sustainability.

In this report, four different scenarios are assessed, based upon the policy options set out in the EED Impact Assessment (EC, 2016). The timeframe for the analysis is 2030. Some of the results of the work undertaken have been included already in the EED Impact Assessment. This report offers a more detailed explanation of the methodology used and additional results from scenarios produced by the E3ME model which are not fully comparable to the results of scenarios presented in the EED Impact Assessment.

The inputs for each scenario have been derived from PRIMES model results, providing consistency with the full Impact Assessment. Six impact areas have been covered:

– Economy and labour market

– Health

– The environment

– Social cohesion

– Public budgets

– Industrial competitiveness

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New report: Multiple Benefits of energy renovations of the Swedish building stock

The COMBI partner Copenhagen Economics has recently published a study conducted for the Swedish Energy Agency and the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning.

Background: The Swedish government is currently in the process of designing a new building strategy, including a program for renovating the existing building stock.

Main conclusions:

  • The value of energy savings is the largest source of benefits from renovations of the Swedish building stock.
  • reduced outdoor air pollution can deliver significant benefits. Attributing the value of outdoor air pollution can be difficult, as air pollution is windborne, and may not necessarily give rise to damages in the same area as the polluting source.
  • Improved indoor air quality is a large potential source of value for Swedish society. Prevalence of asthma and respiratory diseases, and especially so called sick building syndrome are common undesired consequences of poor indoor air quality. In addition, improved indoor air in schools is likely to improve students’ learning abilities. Taking advantage of these benefits requires that renovations have a broader focus than just on energy savings, and especially on delivering better ventilation and lighting.

Read the study on the website of Copenhagen Economics.

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