Bertolini M. (2022).
Energy Efficiency in Urban Context: An Overview of European-Funded Projects with the Analysis of an ELENA Case Study. Sustainability 2022, 14(17), 10574
According to the European Union, buildings are responsible for around 40% of CO2 emissions in the EU area. For this reason, the new regulatory framework Clean Energy for All European Package (2019) supports policies to reduce emissions by increasing energy efficiency in buildings. This is the prosecution of a long-standing policy, which in the past has mainly influenced public authorities, but also aggregations of private bodies and the realization (or renovation) of large strategic investments that impacted and changed the fruition of buildings and relevant infrastructures. The paper aims to offer an overview of the European funds dedicated to the Energy Efficiency initiatives in the past few years, distinguishing funds for financing the project itself and funds for the financing of technical assistance. The overview introduces the analysis of a case study related to technical assistance projects in the Energy Efficiency field, i.e., the European Local Energy assistance (ELENA) Fund; findings connected to the case studies are the main contribution of this paper. The analysis helps to interpret the performance of the funds and to detect the gap between the financing procedures and the subsequent operational implementation of the projects. The case study highlighted critical aspects regarding the potential mismatch between the purpose of the fund and operational barriers in the realization of the initiatives. Such evidence can contribute to helping policy makers redesign and correct funding schemes and, moreover, in evaluating them with a complete information set.