ESCO in Danish municipalities: Experience, innovations, potential

Jesper Ole Jensen, Jesper Rohr Hansen, Susanne Balslev Nielsen

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    This paper presents current research on Danish municipalities' use of ESCOs (Energy Service Companies) as a way to improve the standard of public buildings and to increase energy efficiency. ESCO has for many years been known as a way to realise energy efficiency in buildings. In Denmark, it has mainly been used in the industry so far, but in recent years more and more municipalities have taken up ESCO initiatives, in order to retrofit existing public buildings, and to make them more energy efficient. ESCO is in many ways a new way of collaboration for Danish municipalities, and therefore include many challenges. At the moment 15 municipalities (of 98 municipalities in Denmark) are involved in ESCO contracting. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the various experience gained so far by municipalities, and to discuss the drivers and barriers behind the development. We also discuss whether ESCO might lead to new ways of working with energy efficiency in public buildings, and possibly generate innovation in the public sector. There is already some evidence from the municipalities that on-going ESCO projects have led to new ambitious initiatives and plans for energy savings in municipalities ESCOs have received much attention in different Danish energy-.efficiency policies, where ESCOs are often described as a promising way to achieve energy savings in existing housing and to overcome barriers encountered by other attempts at energy savings. Instead of assessing ESCO only on the amount of energy saved, we suggest that ESCO contracting could potentially become a learning process for municipalities, enabling and encourage public administrations to work in other ways with public-private and public-public partnerships on energy savings. Theoretically, it will compare the Danish development with international ESCO experience as well as refer to public innovation literature. Combined with empirical case studies on ESCO contracting, we discuss factors and conditions that influence decisions on ESCO, the flexibility of ESCO contracts and whether it implies an innovative process, or as a possible contrast, a 'once in a lifetimeexperience' for municipalities. The paper is based on an on-going research project, which aims to identify the opportunities and barriers of applying ESCO in the Danish housing market. The results are therefore preliminary.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEEDAL - Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting
    Number of pages13
    Publication date2013
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    Event6th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting - Copenhagen, Denmark
    Duration: 24 May 201126 May 2011
    Conference number: 6


    Conference6th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting
    Internet address

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