In early 2010, the Benelux General Secretariat took the initiative to organise cooperation with the EUKN in the field of the so-called “Urbiscoop” urban policy. Within this scope, the EUKN published the report "Energy efficiency in the built environment in the Benelux and Rhineland-Westphalia". This report was made possible thanks to the integrated team composed of the Benelux General Secretariat, the EUKN and the Knowledge Centre for Flemish Cities. The Flemish Agency for Domestic Governance assisted in conducting the report. The priority is given to energy efficiency as this topic is highly present in the agendas of many political initiatives at national, regional and local levels. At the same time, significant focus is given to the challenges of building less energy intensive houses.
This report is a basis for the Expert meeting held on 24 January 2013 in Brussels. The objective of the study is to outline issues that impede the implementation of energy efficiency in the built environment and to formulate political recommendations for 2013. Nineteen cities in the Benelux and North Rhine-Westphalia participated in the project. In-depth interviews were held with participating cities, central authorities, officials and other stakeholders.
In order to address the problems and challenges in a structured manner, the following recommendations were adopted:
1. Encourage awareness and willingness to act with a strong behaviour regarding energy efficiency.
2. Financial instruments and multilevel governance approach for energy efficiency.
3. Encourage intersectoral collaboration to achieve economies of scale in the field of energy efficiency.
What role can cities play in order to make most part of cities (or the whole city) energy efficient as opposed to the isolated actions of individual owners?