EBRD launches €200 million residential energy efficiency financing facility in Poland

By Axel  Reiserer

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TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund joins effort to modernise and improve building stock

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is launching a €200 million framework for the modernisation of residential building stock in Poland in order to improve energy efficiency.

The potential to reduce Poland’s energy consumption, to change the energy mix and to lessen the dependency on energy imports is huge. The residential sector consumes about 40 per cent of the country’s primary energy, with space heating taking a 71 per cent share of this. To cover the heating needs of residential building stock Poland depends on coal, which accounts for 41 per cent of the energy mix for heating, the largest share for coal in the residential sector in the entire European Union.

The Polish Residential Energy Efficiency Financing Facility (PolREFF) addresses this challenge by providing credit lines to local partner banks for on-lending to residential building owners, cooperatives, housing associations, developers and suppliers to support investments in the best-performing energy efficient equipment and materials for the residential sector. As the first financial institution to join PolREFF, Bank Zachodni WBK has already signed up to the framework, with a second institution expected to sign shortly.

Eligible borrowers under the programme will be able to receive loans for a wide range of energy efficiency measures. These may include: insulation of walls, roofs and ground floors; installation of modern energy-efficient windows; upgrades of heat supply systems; lighting modernisation; heat pumps; installation of solar thermal and PV systems; and many others.

By installing PolREFF-eligible equipment and materials, borrowers will be employing high-performance technologies and measures, which will allow them to improve their energy efficiency by 20 per cent compared with their current performance and should enable them to significantly reduce their utility bills.

PolREFF is supported by the TaiwanBusiness EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund for project coordination and implementation.

A dedicated website, www.polreff.org, has been set up to provide the general public with all the information necessary to benefit from the available funds.

Grzegorz Zieliński, EBRD Regional Director, Poland and the Baltic States, said: “Strengthening Poland’s position in the energy sector is imperative for the country’s future development. Savings in consumption and improvements to reduce losses will go a long way towards benefiting the economy, the environment and the people of Poland. We are proud to launch our innovative new framework today and invite all interested parties to join us. This framework is not only good, it also works.”

PolREFF benefits from a comprehensive technical assistance package provided to the borrowers as well as to the partner banks. A unique benefit of PolREFF financing is the access to free advice provided by independent specialist engineers as well as to technical information and experience that are freely available on the programme’s website, www.polreff.org. The Energy Savings Calculator and the Technology Selector are practical tools to help plan and optimise modernisation projects of residential buildings by allowing non-experts to estimate potential energy savings and to choose optimal technologies.

Since the beginning of its operations in Poland in 1991, the EBRD has invested €8.3 billion in more than 370 projects in the country. In addition to its wide range of products for banks and companies, in recent years the EBRD has also built a growing portfolio of investments (both equity and debt) in the Polish financial sector, for which demand remains high.

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