Citizen energy cooperatives all over Europe are increasingly offering building renovation services to their members and communities. There are multiple reasons why citizen energy cooperatives have become involved in these activities. Some see reducing energy demand from buildings as crucial in combating the climate crisis or see it as a way to invest in their local community or combat energy poverty. Others have been asked by their members to help them reduce their energy costs and improve the quality of their homes.

CLR logo

What does citizen-led renovation involve?

Citizen-led renovation can encompass different renovation and energy efficiency activities, ranging from performing energy audits and providing information, to taking care of the complete renovation process, from planning and financing to delivering (a 'one-stop-shop service). Although the offered services differ between cooperatives, they all share a few common traits:

  • Citizens are involved in the governance, ownership, and implementation of the renovation;
  • Cooperatives act as a trusted partner;
  • Local, social and economic development is a priority:
    • Local businesses and contractors are involved where possible, in order to increase the local economic multiplier;
    • With the appropriate supportive framework in place, citizen-led renovation should focus on lower income and disadvantaged households;
  • Solutions are adapted to local conditions, emphasising environmentally and socially sound building practices.

In doing so, local networks and partnerships are created, bringing together both government and relevant actors - from contractors to community groups - driving the development of a sustainable strategy for the community.

IMG 20190606 104912
Demonstation of heat pumps for sustainable heating and cooling and citizen-led renovation

The team is developing a service to support her members in the development of sustainable renovation activities. The service includes activities such as:

  • Training on sustainable renovation activities;
  • Networking and sharing of experience and knowledge;
  • Developing standardized business models;
  • Helping communities access EU-level funding and facilitating collective purchasing;
  • Integrating existing services into one-stop shops for renovations through the OSR-Coop project.
20160929 Julian Tait retrofit IMG 7220
Sustainable renovation of a home: installing insulation, double glazing, and solar PV

Citizen-led renovation working group

In this working group, members build collaborations and share knowledge, experience, and best practices relating to deep and shallow renovation. We empower communities to take collective action and make their homes and communities more energy efficient. In this way the working group will support the development and expansion of sustainable building renovation activities in Europe.

Are you part of a citizen energy cooperative interested in and/or working on sustainable renovation, and a member of Then please join our working group!

For more information, please get in touch with: Felix Kriedemann and Srgjan Vidoeski.

Inspiring examples

Energy Communities Tipperary Cooperative - A One-Stop-Shop Service

Energy Communities Tipperary Cooperative is a community-led, home insulation upgrade and retrofitting organization. They are active in County Tipperary in Ireland. The cooperative sees citizen-led renovation as a tool for local development leading to local benefit. By providing a One-Stop-Shop service, they make it easy for homeowners to get grant aid, source contractors and oversee projects. They do this using funding from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and in partnership with local partners such as the regional energy agency and community development company. providers of community loans,

Between 2012 – 2019 already 827 houses and 25 communal/commercial buildings in 13 communities have been renovated, leading up to 8.8 GWh in energy savings. This required a 10.2 million Euro investment.

Tipperary 3
A vibrant community and local economy though building renovation

PajoPower / Klimaatpunt - Partnership with local government

PajoPower is an energy cooperative active in the province of Flemish-Brabant in Belgium. The organisation was set up to contribute to sustainable development within the region. Initially, the focus was on solar PV projects. In 2017 Klimaatpunt vzw (foundation, a spin-off of PajoPower) partnered up with the provincial government in an awareness campaign around reducing home energy demand, directed towards local citizens. To take away the hassle surrounding such activities Klimaatpunt’s ‘renovation coach’ performs an energy audit in the homes of interested members, develops a renovation plan, and suggests local contractors. The province then provides support on some of the measures taken. This could be, for example, insulation measures but also a solar PV installation.

Pajo 2
Pajo Power: energy advise for a sustainable home

Carbon Co-op - People Powered Retrofit

Located in the Manchester area (UK), Carbon Co-op is an energy services and advocacy co-operative that helps people and communities to make the radical reductions in home carbon emissions necessary to avoid runaway climate change.” With their 'People Powered Retrofit' service, Carbon Co-op collaborates with local contractors to provide training on and support for sustainable renovation for both professionals and homeowners. This one-stop-shop service guides homeowners through the complete renovation journey. They also provide services to read smart meter data and help households in providing flexibility services.

People Powered Retrofit: integrated service for low-carbon building renovation