4 ways European housing providers can fund large-scale energy efficiency renovation projects

Housing providers can access significant subsidies to fund their renovation projects. Here are four of the most effective options.


Energy efficiency renovations can help large housing providers reduce their carbon footprint, cut energy costs, and improve the comfort and livability of their properties for tenants. 

Buildings are responsible for about 30% of global energy consumption and about 28% of global carbon emissions. For organisations with large housing portfolios, energy renovation is a decarbonising solution that will pay back multiple times over. 

But renovating a large housing portfolio for energy efficiency can be a significant undertaking and may require a substantial amount of capital expenditure. In this article, we explore the top funding options available to finance a large housing portfolio energy efficiency project. 

Whether you are a housing association, financial institution or building manager, this article will help you understand the available funding options for energy-efficient renovations and help you choose the best one to meet your needs.

1. EIB ELENA Funding

For large housing providers looking to improve energy efficiency or incorporate renewables, district heating or smart grids on their sites, the European Investment Bank’s European Local ENergy Assistance (ELENA) grant is one of the best funding options available at scale.

ELENA provides grants for investment projects of at least €30m in value over a three year implementation period. Grants can cover up to 90% of the eligible costs in some instances.

Suitable for energy efficiency, renewable installation and district heating projects, activities eligible for an ELENA grant include:

  • Through the ELENA grant program, housing portfolio owners can access expertise and funding to help them identify energy-efficient measures and develop an investment plan. This can help reduce the cost of energy-efficient renovations and improve the overall sustainability of the housing portfolio.

For housing providers with a portfolio within a European Union country, the EIB ELENA grant can be an attractive financing option to consider. 

Get in contact with us if you’d like more information on support with an ELENA proposal.

2. Horizon Europe Funding

As part of the European New Deal, the European Union has a range of funding programmes to increase energy efficiency investments in all sectors of the economy.

One example is the Horizon Europe research and innovation program. Within the Horizon Europe program, there are specific grant schemes for energy efficiency projects, such as the “Energy Efficiency” and “Buildings” calls. 

These calls invite project proposals that address energy efficiency in buildings and related infrastructure, such as heating and cooling systems, lighting, and energy management systems and are suitable for both private and public partners.

Horizon Europe provides grants covering up to 100% of eligible project costs, with varying amounts depending on the specific call and the size and scope of the project. The grant can also cover technical assistance, such as the cost of conducting feasibility studies, energy audits, and other project development costs.

3. Government grants and incentives

Many European governments offer grants and incentives for energy-efficient renovations. 

The Federal Subsidy for Efficient Buildings (BEG) by German development bank KfW is one such program aimed at promoting building renovation across Germany, offering promotional loans for residential and non-residential buildings with repayment bonuses ranging from 15% to 50%. 

Check with national, regional and local providers for any subsidy and incentive schemes that you could benefit from.

4. Green Bonds

By issuing green bonds, companies can attract investors interested in financing environmentally-friendly projects, while also contributing to the overall goal of reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainability

In 2019, the French real estate investment company Foncière des Régions in France issued a €500 million green bond to fund the energy-efficient renovation of “La Clairière”, a 1970s-era office complex in Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburb of Paris.

The renovation project aimed to transform the complex into a more energy-efficient and sustainable building, with features such as green roofs, solar panels, and energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems. The project also included the installation of a smart building management system to optimize energy use and reduce emissions.

The green bond was certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative, an international non-profit organization that promotes investment in projects that mitigate climate change. The certification provided investors with assurance that the bond met specific environmental standards and would be used for a project with positive environmental impacts.

Example of buildings renovated with the ELENA Funding Grant from the EIB

Conclusion – Renovate for less

As the cost of capital increases in 2023, making the most of available grants and subsidies is the best way to make your renovation cost-effective. 

The four options above all offer a sizable contribution to funding the capital expenditure you need to get going with your cost-saving renovation project.

If you’d like to learn more about European funding options for your energy efficiency housing renovation, contact us to book a no obligation advisory call. 

Rolf Bastiaanssen

Partner at Bax & Company

We’ve helped organisations like housing associations unlock €280m in funding with a 100% application success rate.