'Investor-ready' green certification project rolled-out for district energy and street lighting

A green certification project aimed at standardising how building projects are measured and developed to accelerate investment opportunities has received backing from the Horizon 2020 programme to expand across Europe.

The certification can reduce overhead costs, bringing more retrofit projects to the market

The certification can reduce overhead costs, bringing more retrofit projects to the market

The Investor Confidence Project (ICP) Europe has expanded its Investor Ready Energy Efficiency (IREE) certification for energy-efficiency projects across, industry, street lighting and district energy applications. Previously only available to the building sector, the ICP aims to promote best practice for projects to make them more attractive and easily measurable for the investor community.

The Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI), sister organisation of the US Green Building Council, partnered with the Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) to deliver the Investor Confidence Project (ICP) in 2011, before bringing the concept to Europe in 2015.

ICP has already trialled successful projects in Europe, such as the Liverpool NHS, and seeks to boost investor confidence on the financial and environmental performance of projects. A standardised roadmap assesses project risk to increase the reliability of projected energy savings through IREE. The certification can reduce overhead costs as a result, bringing more retrofit projects to the market.

“Since 2015, with the support of the European Commission, ICP has made great progress in introducing standardisation to building energy efficiency projects in Europe,” ICP Europe’s senior advisor Steve Fawkes said.

“With additional support from the European Commission we look forward to extending the principles of ICP into industrial, street lighting and district energy projects.”

The expansion of the ICP will be handled by the project’s European Consortium, which includes companies involved in efficiency projects and standards like energy consultants Verco Global, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmarks (GRESB) and the ESG benchmark for real assets.

These organisations will act as the communication between the project and the European investment market. The consortium will attempt to develop new protocols for additional sectors, using best practice examples to mobilise interest.

Grid unlocked

The European Commission’s backing of the project expansion follows on from its energy policy update in December 2016, which cited ICP Europe as the “best practice” protocol to follow to drive investor confidence. 

Earlier this year, edie spoke to the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) chief executive Mahesh Ramanujam, who claimed that the work of the ICP would be crucial in placing transparency at the heart of the built environment to stimulate the business case for green building projects.

The timing couldn’t be more vital. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) has reported that $57trn in infrastructure investment is needed to transition cities to the low-carbon economy. For green infrastructure projects, finance is being hindered by unattractive political environments.

Expanding the certification to district energy has been timed well. Last week, UK Power Networks and the National Grid launched a new service to enable more electricity generation across the South East of England.

With “significant amounts” of renewable energy generation, a nuclear power station and interconnecting cables to Europe, the area has one of the most complex district networks to manage. With this in mind, the new framework allows electricity generators to connect to the grid without costly reinforcements on the transmission network in the region.

Matt Mace


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