Climate Active Neighbourhoods (CAN)

Project Summary

Municipalities support energy-efficient building renovation in SME

Energy retrofits of existing residential areas make an important contribution to achieving EU goals on GHG emissions. Following the successful implementation of innovative activation approaches for energy retrofits in Northwest European neighbourhoods, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) will become the focus of the project from 2021 onwards.

The CAN Partnership will jointly adapt its activation approaches to complement efforts of SME as well as municipal climate strategies. Climate Alliance acts as lead partner for the project funded by the Interreg NWE programme. Partner of the two-year extension of CAN (2021-2023) are Liège, Brest Métropole, Worms, and the South East Energy Agency.

Want to learn more? Contact Jenny-Claire Keilmann at j-c.keilmann(at)

Project funding period: February 2016 – June 2023 via Interreg NWE Programme









Photo copyrights: G. Vogt, Stadt Worms


CAN SME at EUSEW Energy Fair

20-06-2023 - 22-06-2023, Brussels

The EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is an annual highlight featuring a diverse programme of sessions and side-events aimed at discussing and shaping Europe’s energy future. CAN ... Read more

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Updated Practice Cube is now available!

Posted on 06-03-2023

Do you know the Practice Cube? It offered a look into the experiences made over the years by the partners of the Interreg NWE funded project “Climate Active Neighbourhoods“. It is ... Read more

What can energy poverty look like? Testimonies from Brest, France

Posted on 16-02-2023

How do energy poverty affects residents? Together with the “Compagnons Bâtisseurs de Bretagne” and “Ener'gence”, Brest métropole conducted interviews with people affected by energy... Read more

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Newsletter February 2023

Newsletter June 2022

Project Partners

  • Optivo

    125 High Street, Grosvenor House
    PO Box 322
    United Kingdom

    View partner details

  • Gemeente Arnhem

    53 Eusebiusbuitensingel
    6828 HZ

    View partner details

  • Brest métropole

    24 Rue Coat-ar-Guéven
    Brest Cedex 2
    CS 73826 29238

    View partner details

  • Energieagentur Rheinland-Pfalz GmbH

    122 Trippstadter Strasse

    View partner details

  • Stadt Essen

    1 Porscheplatz

    View partner details

  • Liège-Energie

    2 Place du Marché

    View partner details

  • Établissement Public d’Aménagement Public du Mantois Seine-Aval (EPAMSA)

    1 Rue de Champagne

    View partner details

  • Stadt Worms

    1 Adennauerring

    View partner details

  • Ville de Liège

    2 Place du Marché

    View partner details

  • South East Energy Agency

    Kilkenny Research & Innovation Centre Burrell’s Hall, St Kieran’s College
    R95 TP64

    View partner details

  • Climate Alliance / Klima-Bündnis der europäischen Städte mit indigenen Völkern der Regenwälder e.V.

    28 Galvanistraße
    Frankfurt am Main

    View partner details

Name Contact Name Email Country
Optivo Diana Lock United Kingdom
Gemeente Arnhem Hans Van Ammers Netherlands
Brest métropole Anne-Hélène Cariou France
Energieagentur Rheinland-Pfalz GmbH Mathias Orth-Heinz Germany
Stadt Essen Kai Lipsius Germany
Liège-Energie Gün Gedik Belgium
Établissement Public d’Aménagement Public du Mantois Seine-Aval (EPAMSA) Fabrice Levi France
Stadt Worms Selma Mergner Germany
Ville de Liège Marc Schlitz Belgium
South East Energy Agency Michael Doran Ireland

Spotlight on partner activities:

Climate Alliance - Lead partner

Contact person and interviewee

Jenny-Claire Keilmann
Project lead
+49 69 717139-20

Climate Alliance - Klima-Bündnis - Alianza del Clima e.V.
European Secretariat
Galvanistr. 28, 60486 Frankfurt am Main
Tel +49-69-717139-0, Fax +49-69-717139-93,

What is your organisation’s key focus?

Climate Alliance is a network of European cities and towns, banded together with the objective of protecting the global climate while promoting climate justice.
We strive for a comprehensive approach to climate change policy based on partnerships as well as recognition of local level commitment and diversity.
By joining, member municipalities have committed themselves to ambitious goals emissions reductions goals. Climate Alliance has over 1700 member municipalities in more than 25 European countries; 350 of these are located in North West Europe.

What problems do you want to tackle with CAN’s help?

In carrying out energy refurbishments in the increasingly ageing residential housing stock, Climate Alliance members across Europe face the same problems as their counterparts all over North West Europe:

Private house owners and tenants need to act but are not sufficiently driven to do so. Emissions reduction has low priority compared to the improvement of other living conditions.
Incentives for landlords and tenants are misaligned: landlords decide on the energy efficiency of a building while tenants bear the energy consumption costs.
Growing public indebtedness limits local public investments and leaves more tasks to private stakeholders.

For this reason, Climate Alliance brought together a strong partnership to overcome these barriers by finding new ways to achieve sustainability and CO2 reduction goals while supporting members. New organisational models, innovative and viable financial schemes and tools that trigger action locally are all part of the equation.

How is Climate Alliance contributing to the project objective and what is your role?

Climate Alliance is lead partner of the CAN project and are thus managing and coordinating project partners as well as the overall implementation of the project.
We are also involved in two core project activities:

Retrofitting City Tours: Climate Alliance is developing and carrying out the Retrofitting City Tours campaign. The campaign showcases local initiatives on energy efficiency and energy savings in residential buildings. The tours, organised jointly by municipal governments and local actors, target tenants and owners in selected neighbourhoods. They give insight into how residents can save energy by retrofitting and by changing household energy use patterns. The campaign will be launched in pilot neighbourhoods in Essen and Worms, both Climate Alliance members. After the pilot stage, guidance documents will facilitate the implementation of Retrofitting City Tours in other cities.

CO2 Monitoring: Local authorities acting on the neighbourhood level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions need regular emissions inventories to verify and authenticate success in their local climate change and energy policy. Climate Alliance will develop a set of rules for monitoring CO2 emissions at the neighbourhood level. Conducting CO2 monitoring at this level is important for the creation of reference values for future mitigation measures. A reference document on the  methodology of local energy and CO2 inventories will provide an assessment framework for neighbourhood activities both within CAN municipalities and for other interested local authorities.

Gemeente Arnhem

Contact person and interviewee

Hans van Ammers
Chief officer public space.


Focus on Climate adaptation, city climate, neighbourhood initiatives regarding sustainable energy, climate and environment. Previous EU-subsidy projects: Interreg IIIB NWE Urban Water (2003-2008) and Interreg IVB NWE Future Cities (2008-2014). Currently programme manager Climate Active Neighborhoods for Arnhem (2016-2019).

Please introduce your city.

Gemeente Arnhem, local authority (Municipality of Arnhem),
Programme Energy made in Arnhem (2015-2020):

Why are you participating at CAN? Please describe the current situation and the problems you are facing.

Our society is changing. The role of governmental organisations is changing also due to the last economic recession. Citizens, more in general stakeholders, want more responsibilities and want to be involved more in their direct living and working environment. Our aim in participating in the EU-project CAN is to determine the new role of the municipality as a local authority in this process of social innovation. And the role of our shareholders like the energy cooperation and the regional grid company. The council decided (beginning of 2015) that the districts will have more power in deciding how the municipal budget will be spent. This means a mayor shift of a top-down approach to a far more bottom-up or 'grass root approach'. The shift has been achieved starting this year, 2017. The "voice of the districts' (residents, organisations and SME's) will be more decisive as before. This means a new and changing role of the municipality and an empowerement of the districts so that the districts can also decide how the budgets should be spent.

How will you tackle the problems? Please describe your approach and your tasks within the project.

It's important to monitor the neighbourhood initiatives, connect with and let them learn from each other. The municipality of Arnhem will create a hub/portal where initiatives can ask questions, ask for help. The hub/portal connects the question to relevant stakeholders of the Energy programme and other (neighbourhood) initiatives.

The hub/portal is also responsible to deliver entrepreneurs and other expertise. The municipality will help if financial support is needed, to give the initiative a good start.

Please describe your first steps.

We have also started the first 'grass root' approach in the neighbourhood Kronenburg-Vredenburg. We have started designing the hub/portal and composing a group of professionals to support the initiatives. We call it 'AANjagers', which can be translated in Encouragers. These Encouragers are now (beginning of 2017) active in 4 to 6 districts but will be active in due time in all neighbourhoods. Within the EU-project CAN this team of professionals will be co-financed and based on the best-practices the Arnhem Approach will be formulated.

What results do you expect? How can other organisations/municipalities benefit from your experiences?

We expect to find out what specific support neighbourhood initiatives need to implement, realise their own wishes and demands. Based on experiences in all neighbourhoods and their best practices we plan to determine the municipal role and responsibilities in these processes. We expect other municipalities and stakeholders involved in similar processes can benefit from our experiences.

Brest métropole

Contact person and interviewee

Housing project manager

+332 98 33 52 65

10 years of experience in housing and urban planning


Please introduce your city.

Brest metropole is a public authority which covers 8 municipalities with around 240 000 inhabitants. Brest metropole has several areas of responsibilities including publics means to reduce its carbon footprint.

Why are you participating at CAN? Please describe the current situation and the problems you are facing.

For many years, Brest metropole has planned its policies to reach sustainable development which is defined in the local urban plan that integrates: transport, energy, waste, and housing. Housing consumes 40% of local energy so it’s is a source of important energy economy either through the building (insulation for instance) or via behaviour change (way of life of inhabitants). In 2014, Brest metropole decides to launch a fuel poverty action for the people who spend more than 10% of their income in energy bills. This initiative needed to be reinforced and subject to a more detailed assessment.

How will you tackle the problems? Please describe your approach and your tasks within the project.

Traditionally in this field, Brest metropole has led a top down approach, not always based on inhabitants’ needs and existing initiatives. With CAN, Brest metropole has initiated a new dynamic, involving directly inhabitants and local associations to get a better understanding of the needs, be able to adapt the local authority response and to create a new way of tackling fuel poverty. The involvement of local stakeholders is crucial and will be organised on a different way for each of the 4 identified deprived neighbourhoods, integrating the specificities of each area.

Please describe your first steps.

In 2016, Brest metropole has worked on Haut-de-Jaures neighbourhoods.
The first steps have consisted in identifying and meeting the main NGOs and local stakeholders already involved at neighbourhood scale.
Specific tools have been developed in cooperation with the sub-partners Energence, and the main operator Compagnons Bâtisseurs : DIY workshops, cafés energies, specific games for children, Watt Watcher… These meetings represent opportunities to establish links with inhabitants and, in a second step, invite them to organise a home visit.

What results do you expect? How can other municipalities benefit from your experiences?

CAN will reinforce the fuel poverty initiative, being more efficient and closer to the people’s needs in the most deprived neighbourhoods.
Thanks to this project, the action coordinated by the local authority will be focused on the neighbourhoods with higher expectations – both from a energetic and social point of view. Finally, the project will bring more interactions within the local authority (between the concerned policies and departments) and with local stakeholders and inhabitants.
Brest metropole will spread the results of these experiences through different networks, at local, regional, national and European scales. The main project conclusions will be gathered and broadcast via the coaching framework.

Energieagentur Rheinland-Pfalz GmbH

Contact person and interviewee

Mathias Orth-Heinz
+49 (0)631 20575 7120

Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Mathias Orth-Heinz, and I am a project advisor at Energy Agency Rhineland-Palatinate. Before managing our CAN-activities I worked as region officer for West-Palatinate. My professional background is municipal consulting as well as research management in the field of spatial development. I hold a TU Berlin Diplom-Ingenieur degree in Urban and Regional Planning.

Please introduce your organisation.

The Energy Agency Rhineland-Palatinate is a federal state-owned limited company, operating state-wide. Our mission is to support our partners in springing into or perpetuating action for energy transition. We provide municipalities and public institutions, companies and citizens throughout Rhineland-Palatinate with information and knowledge on energy transition issues. We manage related networking activities, and help to give birth to projects in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energies and mobility.

Why are you participating at CAN? Please describe the current situation and the problems you are facing.

In Rhineland-Palatinate we are facing a lateral moving or declining trend in energy refurbishment rates, already starting at a low level of rather less than 1 percent. To meet regional, national and European goals, not to mention post-Paris COP21 requirements, it seems necessary to raise again and speed up climate mitigation and adaptation action, while at least partly stepping off the beaten track.
In this perspective, we consider neighbourhood approaches being appropriate and conducive.
Unfortunately, even the already institutionalized and considerably state funded neighbourhood-level energy refurbishment projects are challenged by seemingly insurmountable obstacles when they actually had to pass from planning to the implementation phase: a state-wide 97 percent of all processes, after finishing an integrated refurbishment concept successfully, are being slowed down or stopped as the follow-up neighbourhood implementation management is disagreed by the local authorities – despite being offered similarly high funding rates.
Hence we consider a need for “new” policy approaches at the neighbourhood level, a wider range of instruments and more participative, more specific processes on the local ground.
We take part in the CAN project because we’re convinced about its fruitfulness in mutually revealing respective new lines of thought and intelligently combining the familiar to create innovation.

How will you tackle the problems? Please describe your approach and your tasks within the project.

Since Energy Agency Rhineland-Palatinate is an enterprise operating at state resp. regional level our focus within CAN is on generating and transferring knowledge and information valuable for the variety of towns and cities throughout Rhineland-Palatinate. This will be done through desk research, interference with the other project partners and a dedicated pilot neighbourhoods approach. Seeking for an alternative intervention path, but being “too far away” from local citizens we follow the multiplicator approach, thus widening our perspective to the non-governmental sector in favour of more effective access to the neighbourhood, but still integrating local authorities and administration as our company’s priority target group.
Within CAN our major outcome will be a guidance on participatory approaches to involve (rather institutionalized) neighbourhood actors with the integrated, sustainable energy development of their urban district, comprising appropriate participation approaches, training methods and financing instruments. With this outcome we will contribute both to the regional demand and the proposed coaching framework at European level.
To develop and test our approaches we refer to a small set of pilot neighbourhoods in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Please describe your first steps.

We started into the topic with desk research both on financing instruments and participative approaches to the neighbourhood and a survey of suitable methods within our company’s own service portfolio. Simultaneously we commenced our search process for pilot neighbourhoods, so far leading to the selection of the metropolitan neighbourhood of Ludwigshafen Süd and the suburban neighbourhood “Gumschlag” of Vallendar. Right now we’re building up the cooperation structures with our pilot neighbourhoods and prepare our first workshops and trainings.

What results do you expect? How can other organisations/municipalities benefit from your experiences?

We hope to find appropriate ways for Rhineland-Palatinate, to attract new alliances and to describe alternative financing to get climate mitigation action at neighbourhood level back on track. Our immanent focus is on heat provision, insulation and behavioural issues, but the initial feedback shows need for addressing the fields of climate adaptation, mobility and demographic change as well.
We will aggregate our lessons learnt into the above mentioned guidance, and, in the meantime, cast portions of it into conference agendas and training concepts, hence transferring knowledge and information to a wider public.

Établissement Public d'Aménagement du Mantois Seine Aval (EPAMSA)

Contact person and interviewee

Nadia Tronc


EPAMSA was a project partner in CAN from 2016 to 2020.

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Nadia Tronc. I am in charge of urban renewal and development at EPAMSA. We focus, amongst others, on degraded condominiums in Val Fourré neighbourhood,in Mantes-la-Jolie (West of Paris).

Please introduce your organisation.

Created by decree in 1996, EPAMSA is a public planning institution responsible for urban development and renewal operations on the territory of Seine Aval, now Grand Paris Seine & Oise (78). With its technical expertise and its sense of innovation, EPAMSA is a key partner in territorial development, both in the development and implementation of operations.

Why are you participating in CAN?

EPAMSA is participating in the project in order to strengthen actions to combat fuel poverty and position itself at European level. It has initiated an experimental project which is the setting up of a CPE in degraded co-ownership. The establishment therefore wished to stimulate important innovations in the field of energy bill reduction and initiate cooperation with other partners in North-Western Europe. The CAN project offers solutions that are transferable and beneficial to other areas, which EPAMSA is trying to build on.

How will you tackle the problems?

EPAMSA’s mission was to ensure the coordination of the initial Urban Renovation Programme for the Val Fourré, after his image was tarnished, reflecting a strong sense of insecurity following the urban riots of 1995, it was confined to the sidelines, and seriously impacted the development of the area and its attractiveness. At a time when urban renewal was being undertaken on social housing, aging private housing estate were deteriorating.

So, EPAMSA, by becoming owner of several housing in these private housing estate, promoted the Energy Performance Contract (EPC) to renovate the private buildings in a sustainable manner. The goal is to narrow the growing divide between social housing zones which have benefitted from public funds and private housing stock that is still very run-down. Since 2009, EPAMSA has helped the 132 landlords of two co-owned properties in Côtes de Seine and 92 housing units implement it.

Please describe your first steps.

The main goal of the EPC, imputed by EPAMSA, is to guarantee a fixed level of energy consumption to its contractors. It is signed by a project manager and a consortium of companies who agree upon a guaranteed level of energy consumption and carry out the required rehabilitation work. Working with our partners, different steps have to be undertaken, e.g. joining the trade unions, financing and funding, etc.

What results do you expect?

Thanks to EPC, the 40 Côtes de Seine co-owners will save 53% on their heating charges starting from the 2nd year of its installation; the first year will be impacted by the work. This utility costs amount is guaranteed by the company for a total of 15 years.

Stadt Essen

Contact person and interviewee

Kai Lipsius

+49 201 88 59200

Since January 2012 Mr Kai Lipsius is Commissioner for climate protection of the City of Essen. Previously he worked for 5 years as a senior scientist for the German Federal Environment Agency in the climate and energy department. Kai Lipsius holds a degree in Geoecology from the TU Braunschweig and graduated as Master of Science in Environmental Sciences at the Nottingham University.

Essen was a project partner in CAN from 2016 to 2020.

Please introduce your city.

Essen is a modern business, commercial and service metropolis with 590.000 inhabitants in the heart of the Ruhr Metropolis with 5.4 Million people. The successful 150-year transformation story, from a city of coal and steel to the European Green Capital 2017, is a role model of structural change for many cities in Europe.
Essen is home to the headquarters of some of Germany’s biggest companies, e.g. RWE AG, Thyssen-Krupp, E.ON, Karstadt Warenhaus GmbH, Evonik Industries AG, and Hochtief AG. What confuses many visitors who see the modern skyline of Essen is that the history of the city is older than that of e.g. Berlin, Dresden or Munich. In 2002, Essen celebrated the 1150th jubilee of the convent and City of Essen.

Being European Green Capital 2017 Essen will showcase sustainable urban development, to share and promote best practices that have been tried and tested. In this context Essen over 300 citizens’ projects and events will be realised in 2017.

Why are you participating at CAN? Please describe the current situation and the problems you are facing.

Essen wants to be a blueprint for NWE cities that can achieve great things under difficult budget conditions and with limited financial resources.
Realising energy savings, increasing energy efficiency and expand use of renewable energies and cogeneration are the central components of the climate mitigation strategy of the City of Essen, under the aegis of klima|werk|stadt|essen. The CAN projects helps to address all three issues.
The success of local climate mitigation action is substantially dependent on the participation of building owners, companies, and the population. In CAN Essen can learn from other NWE Cities approaches and implement and test programmes to empower the citizens towards more climate-conscious behaviour by developing a culture of climate mitigation.
With low rates of new construction, the retro-fitting of existing buildings is of decisive importance. The specific objective for retrofitting Essen enunciated in its successful application for European Green Capital 2017 is to achieve a quotient of 2.5%-3% p.a.. Of the various obstacles to renovation in Essen, the landlord/tenant dilemma is of particular importance, due to the very high proportion of rental housing. Particularly in the structurally weak districts of North Essen, owners are seldom able to raise basic rent levels and realise a return on their investments. Thus Essen is trying to develop new instruments to support decisions for energy efficiency investments of private house owners.

How will you tackle the problems? Please describe your approach and your tasks within the project.

Essen uses the aegis of klima|werk|stadt|essen to pursue integrated, sustainable and climate-friendly urban development through the dual strategy of "mitigation and adaptation". We take climate mitigation action as an opportunity to develop the economic core of the Ruhr Metropolis in an exemplary and sustainable manner. As „European Green Capital 2017“ Essen empowers the citizens to establish a new „ culture of local climate action“ and collaborates with bottom-up-initiatives, local science and business as well as politics and authorities. The key to achieving climate mitigation targets is the comprehensive participation of the urban community. In order to network the many different stakeholders for a new culture of local climate action, the Essen Climate Agency was founded in 2012. In CAN it provides advisory services, supports projects, organises information campaigns and events, and builds networks. By connecting people and ideas and bringing together all climate-actions of the urban community, it supports stakeholders on every level. One central service of the Climate Agency is the energy efficiency partner system (partnership project with Kreishandwerkerschaft Essen) to help landlords to get around prevalent reservations. As another practical approach, Essen is going to merge the creative potential (artists and creative-business) and the urban development-activities with the dynamic and the targets of a growing „European Green Capital 2017“-movement in in the City-North-quarter, a deprived but highly pulsating district. New ideas for local climate action will be actually tried out in “Living Labs”.

Please describe your first steps.

The CAN Project will concentrate on one or two districts in Essen. The key to achieve the projects targets is the comprehensive participation and empowerment of the neighbourhoods. As a first step Essen analysed possible neighbourhoods and selected the City-North. Not only the building and social structures were analysed, but especially the needs and engagement potential of bottom-up initiatives. In order to do so we organised events to get in close touch and engage with neighbourhood and residents groups (incl. migrants associations) and muliplicators already in the analysis phase, to find initiative triggers and identify areas of highest need.
A new form of collaboration between the local authority and the various stakeholders requires the development of new and optimised organisational models to share more responsibility. We co-create this governance with bottom-up initiatives as well as energy and housing agencies. The challenge is the empowerment of local neighbourhoods while securing coherence of bottom-up activities and city-wide strategies. We try to form strategic partnerships between the local authority, identified neighbourhood groups and private and public services.
At the moment we are developing detailed plans and scheduling of behaviour change programmes, especially to comprise the neighbourhood as a Living lab for GHG reduction.

What results do you expect? How can other municipalities benefit from your experiences?

With the target of reducing CO2 emissions by 40% before 2020, Essen goes significantly beyond the EU targets, and wishes to be a role model. By 2050, Essen will be a low-carbon city, and will have reduced emissions by 95%, thus exceeding the German national targets.
I feel that the comprehensive empowerment of the local stakeholders is a common challenge in NWE cities. I expect we will have created viable financing schemes and activation tools to empower bottom-up initiatives in delivering GHG emission reduction at the end of CAN.
Especially the activation tools for behaviour change that will be developed, implemented and evaluated, such as the living lab in Essen will help to deliver improved energy standards and GHG emission reduction in deprived neighbourhoods - not only in Essen and the partner locations but throughout Europe.
I think it is key to understand climate mitigation as a shared task between neighbourhoods and local authorities and a contribution for improvement of quality of life. CAN will contribute to develop this new culture of local climate action in Essen and NWE.


Contact person and interviewee

Gün GEDIK (B.Ec.)

+32 4 221 56 47

Gün GEDIK (B.Ec.) is the Manager of Liège-Energie NPO. For nearly 10 years now, through his work at Liège-Energie, he has been helping people access financial aids to renovate their house and has been giving out information on energy saving.

Liège-Energie was a project partner in CAN from 2016 to 2020.

Please introduce your organisation

Liège-Energie is the Local Energy Agency of the City of Liège dedicated to the implementation of the municipal energy strategy toward the housing sector. This organisation is fully public and the board of directors is constituted of the City of Liège, the Public Centre for Social Action (CPAS) of Liège, the 2 Public Housing Companies (“La Maison Liégeoise” and “Le Logis Social de Liège”) and the Social Estate Agency (Liège-Logement NPO).
Liège-Energie has been created in 2009, as part of the priority action plan of the “City Project”, in order to become the Local Entity of the Federal Found for Energy Costs Reduction offering 0% energy loans to help households to finance their energy investments.
In 2015, the federal facility has been transferred to the Walloon Region and Liège-Energie is now recognized as Local Entity for Wallonia in charge of the front office of the energy grants and loans (Ecopack/Renopack).
On another hand, Liège-Energie received the role of operator of the Preventive Action Program in the Energy field (PAPE) financed also by the Walloon Region.
Liège-Energie is located inside the “Maison de l’Habitat” – Central point of contact between the citizens and the different public services related to housing and energy.

Why are you participating at CAN? Please describe the current situation and the problems you are facing.

The City of Liège is an early signatory of the Covenant of Mayors and the Baseline Emission Inventory showed that about 50% of the CO2 emissions at territory scale is related to the housing sector.
Furthermore, Liège has one of the oldest building stock of the whole Belgium and counts several precarious neighbourhoods where needs are huge, both in energy investments and in energy guidance.
The challenge is complicated by the sociologic profile of the population:
23% of households belong to precarious categories;
45 % of the population is older than 60 years old;
50 % of households are tenants;
30 % of households live in condominium;
more than 120 different nationalities are present;
more than 10.000 households are under procedure for energy depts.
A lot of households are 1 person or 1 parent ones.Despite of the efforts deployed from the beginning of the century both in general information, awareness rising and mobilization campaigns and in social accompanying, we can observe that the energy retrofitting rate is not higher than 1% per year and that the main part of the existing building stock stays inefficient.

How will you tackle the problems? Please describe your approach and your tasks within the project.

The analyses of the situation brought under the frame of the URBISCOOP observatory process and through the participative approaches of the “City Project” drove us to develop the concept of the “Maison de l’Habitat” as a central place of information and help about all energy and housing issues. This dispositive gathers different kind of public actors in order to apply the integrated step-by-step approach of the Covenant of Mayors at individuals and housings scale:

1. Inform citizens about energy savings and opportunities;
2. Help to compare the energy suppliers and to choose an adequate one;
3. Help to establish and follow households’ “Energy Balance”;
4. Help to analyze and adapt habits and behaviors at family scale;
5. Help to invest in small efficient equipments;
6. Help to invest in structural energy refurbishment ;
7. Mobilize around energy and climate issues.

These different steps are assorted with dedicated helping tools and developed through face-to-face consultations between citizens and specialised public advisers who can deliver up to date information about technical, financial or behavioural aspects of the situation which bring citizens to come and consult.

In the long run, it became proved that a lot of people never make the trip from their surrounding neighbourhood to the City Centre to ask for these kind of advices and so we have imagined to develop a concept of mobile face-to-face consultation office: the Energy-Van, dedicated to meet people inside their own neighbourhood during every kind of local events.

Another important aspect coming from the URBISCOOP analysis is to change the view about energy guidance from a binary approach "Poor / Not poor" to a new form of multi criteria coaching mode adapted to meet and lever every kind of brakes and barriers which limit the access to an energy efficient housing and which are related to different social situations of households. If the step-by-step approach described here upper stays the same, the coaching mode has to be adapted to these different social realities that impact the households' capacity to commit successfully in the energy transition.

Indeed, elderly people don't relate to the climate and energy challenge in the same way than younger active households. Tenants are not in the same decision frame than owners and the decision frame is still more complex for condominiums. Immigrants and newcomers have specific coaching needs, etc.

Please describe your first steps.

Through its agreement by the Belgian financial markets and services authority, Liège-Energie has got a large experience as Energy Grants and Loans provider for housing retrofitting with more than 10 million euros of opened credit files.

It's an important stone in an integrated strategic intervention frame to be able to act on the financial obstacles.

The Agency develops also its ability in the development of accompanying relationships focused on rational energy uses between the Public Housing Companies and their tenants.

The "Maison de l'Habitat", with its unit of "Walloon energy office" delivers also hundreds of individual technical advices about energy works choice, comparison of offers, expertise and audit for social grants, ...

Together with the Housing Department of the City, a lot of events are also organised as the "Energy Thursdays" thematic conferences, the "Energy Village", the "Dare to Compare” (the Energy Suppliers) campaign, the "Energy Week", etc.

What results do you expect? How can other organisations/municipalities benefit from your experiences?

We developed our application form for the CAN project so as to improve our step-by-step approach and enable us to test new tools / approaches with the final objective of encouraging our citizens to reduce their energy consumption, in strong relation with our social reality as described above (energy poverty).

We hope to reach out to some target groups that we could not/ failed to reach before (“target groups and target neighbourhoods”).

Those new methods and new tools should enable us to ensure all citizens receive the best information concerning energy consumption.

At the end of the project, we should be able to analyse our tools and approaches so as to give feedback to what was a success and what was a complete / partial failure. We will also need to analyse what has to be still improved.

This feedback could be helpful for other municipalities with the same objectives and preoccupations: they could benefit from our experience, our successes but also from our failures.


Contact person and interviewee

Karen King, CAN Project Co-ordinator

01424 776627,

Optivo was a project partner in CAN from 2016 to 2020.

Please introduce your organisation.

Optivo is a social housing association that is responsible for 44,000 homes across Sussex, Kent, London and the Midlands. These properties consist of a varied range of types. The organisation was previously called AmicusHorizon and in May 2017 we changed our name to Optivo when we merged with another housing association. Our role in the CAN project involves completing energy retrofits on 100 properties in the Ore Valley in Hastings. We are also working with 2 other organisations in partnership on this project. These are Hastings Borough Council (HBC) and Energise Sussex Coast (ESC). We are also testing a one year scheme to provide 100 residents different levels of engagement. There will be 5 groups of 20 homes that will receive different types of engagement to test which type of support gains the best response from residents on changes to their energy use behaviour.

Why are you participating at CAN? Please describe the current situation and the problems you are facing.

We are participating in the CAN project to help lower carbon emissions, make homes more energy efficient, help residents to reduce damp and condensation and change energy use behaviour in the community.

How will you tackle the problems? Please describe your approach and your tasks within the project.

We will carry out telephone surveys to talk about energy use and discuss any issues with damp and fuel poverty. Initially we visit residents and provide them with an energy saving pack containing leaflets, water saving devices, radiator panels and hygrometers. We will carry out retrofit works on our properties to bring the SAP rating up to SAP 69 (EPC Band C). Works include loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, internal and floor insulation, heating systems, LED lightbulbs, and solar panels/battery storage in some cases. We’re also running a behaviour change scheme to test different levels of engagement to achieve behaviour change.

Please describe your first steps.

We carried out surveys to over 300 properties to find out how energy efficient they were. This was a detailed survey looking at all aspects of the building from roofs, walls, windows and heating systems. This process gave us information on the energy performance of these homes. Out of the 300 we chose 100 showing the lowest performance (SAP rating).These properties showed their rating was SAP 65 or below, and our next task was to carry out retrofit works and behaviour change visits to improve the SAP rating 69 and above.

What results do you expect? How can other organisations/municipalities benefit from your experiences?

We expect to complete most of the retrofits by June 2018. The behaviour change programme will complete in March 2019. We will share the results of our work with the CAN partners, UK housing associations, local councils and other EU projects through promotion and publicity such as website pages, presentations, case studies and residents groups.

Plymouth City Council

Contact person and interviewee

Paul Elliott
01752 307574

Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Paul Elliott and I’m a low carbon city officer for Plymouth City Council. I have been working on domestic energy efficiency schemes with the council for the last 8 years and am now project manager for the CAN project.

Plymouth City Council was a project partner in CAN from 2016 to 2020.

Please introduce your city.

Plymouth City Council is a unitary local authority in the South West of England. We provide services and governance for our a population of 256,000 residents, who live in approximately 115,000 dwellings.

Why are you participating at CAN? Please describe the current situation and the problems you are facing.

The CAN project allows us tackle housing related issues concerning a reduction in carbon emissions. Plymouth has a large number of older properties that are thermally inefficient and costly to insulate (approx. £8,000 on average). There is also a lack of awareness within the community around what action residents can take to reduce fuel poverty, poor energy efficiency, and domestic carbon emissions.

15,000 households in Plymouth are suffering from Fuel Poverty. Fuel poverty in England is measured using the Low Income High Costs (LIHC) indicator. Under the LIHC indicator, a household is considered to be fuel poor if:

    they have required fuel costs that are above average (the national median level)
    were they to spend that amount, they would be left with a residual income below the official poverty line.

Households suffering in fuel poverty are at greater risk to health conditions such as Asthma, Cardiovascular problems, mobility issues, and mental health issues. There are also strong links between low educational attainment for children and houses in fuel poverty. Plymouth also suffers an average of 140 excess winter deaths each year – that is deaths that can be solely attributed to the colder temperatures in the winter.
Previous ‘top down’ approaches to tackling energy efficiency have had limited success. The UK government’s energy company obligation (ECO) insulated some lofts and cavity walls but was costly to administrate and did not give householder a good level of customer service/satisfaction. The most recent policy vehicle ‘ the Green Deal’ was withdrawn after it received very little interest from householders. This leaves a policy vacuum in terms of financing and delivering energy efficiency.
It is hoped that the CAN project will play a part in addressing address the above issues.

How will you tackle the problems? Please describe your approach and your tasks within the project.

We hope to engage our communities and make them more aware of their energy use and carbon emissions. We will do this by providing them with an in home assessment which will detail the measures and behaviour change they can implement in order to see a reduction. We will also offer free simple measures to the householder such as LED lights, heating controls, and draft proofing as a method of engaging them in the first instance. The project will also recruit and train upto 30 volunteers who will receive training to increase their skills and knowledge around domestic energy reduction.

Please describe your first steps.

We have identified our target areas of the city. We have also commissioned a report to help understand the key messages that households are likely to respond to around an energy efficiency scheme. This report also identifies the key points we need to record to successfully evaluate the programme. We have written the procurement in order to procure a delivery partner and are expecting to award that contract in the spring.

What results do you expect? How can other municipalities benefit from your experiences?

We hope to see 1,000 households engage with the programme and benefit from the simple measures we are offering. The learning from this for other organisations will be focussed around how best to engage with communities over matters of carbon reduction and energy use. This will also include which groups of people respond best to certain messages, as well as which routes are best to get those messages across.

Stadt Worms

Contact person and interviewee

Katharina Reinholz
+49 (6241) 853 – 3507

Katharina Reinholz studied Environmental Sciences (B.Sc.) and Sustainable Economics (M.A.) and since 2015 she works as climate protection manager in Worms.


Please introduce your city.

The city of Worms is a local authority for 80,000 inhabitants. The mainly in CAN involved department ‘environment and agriculture’ cares about the governmental protection of species, water, soil and air, the organisation of the agricultural areas as well as environmental consulting and climate protection measures. Worms is highly engaged in local climate protection and adaptation and developed the climate protection and energy efficiency concept “KLIK” in 2010, which is the basis for the participation in CAN.

Why are you participating at CAN? Please describe the current situation and the problems you are facing.

In the years 2012 to 2014 the City of Worms participated in the EU Interreg project „RENERGY - Regional Strategies for Energy Conscious Communities“ and was impressed by the effective exchange of experiences. To this exchange the City of Worms wants to contribute with its wide experiences in local climate protection. Furthermore, the main topic of CAN, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in existing residential building stock, is highly relevant for the city of Worms, which has several quarters with buildings from the 1950 and 1960. These quarters were built after the Second World War when more housing space was needed. The buildings there have a poor energy efficiency and use many times more energy than modern buildings. Insulation, new windows and doors or new heating systems as well as energy-saving behaviour could improve the living standard of the habitants and reduce CO2 emissions. But often people in these neighbourhoods don’t know anything about the poor conditions of their homes. With our project “Energy Caravan Plus” we focus on this problem and try to make people aware of their possibilities.

How will you tackle the problems? Please describe your approach and your tasks within the project.

With its project “Energy Carvan Plus” the city uses an effective face-to-face approach to inform house owners about their energy-saving potentials. After choosing an appropriate neighbourhood, energy consultants offer a free one-hour energy advice to the house owners. They get information about the energetic condition of their homes and the potential measures. Additionally, information about government-funded incentives is given. To develop the project further it is envisaged to give also recommendations on energy efficient behaviour for interested house owners, like saving hot water or reasonable heating and airing.

Please describe your first steps.

The “Energy Caravan Plus” will be repeated annually and each year we start with an analysis of the previous campaign. We analyse the outcome and think about potential changes. To come in contact with people from the quarters, we send out an invitation letter from the mayor, put up posters in the streets and organise a kick-off event for all interested house owners. During this event also the neighbours can come in contact with each other and talk about the topic of energetic building refurbishment. After that, the energy consultants start their work and get in contact with people by a phone call and organise an appointment. In the next 2 years we will expand our activities for the Energy Caravan and try out different tools like thermographic pictures and behaviour changing methods.

What results do you expect? How can other municipalities benefit from your experiences?

As our annual evaluation points out, 16.9 % of the habitants make use of the free energy advice and 77 % of the advised house owners implemented measures in the year after the consultation or planned to do so. We expect that with new concepts for the “Energy Caravan Plus” more house owners are interested in the advice and that still more of them put measures into effect.
Other municipalities can benefit from our long year experience in this field of face-to-face approach.

South East Energy Agency

Contact person and interviewee

Micheal Doran

Michael was appointed as the EU Projects Manager for CKEA (Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency) in March 2020. Previously he was Managing Director of Action Renewables in Belfast, since April 2009. He has acted as project leader in an Atlantic Area, ERDF, Interreg project, and as a project partner in five other Northern Periphery Interreg projects.

He is a Chartered Surveyor, a Chartered Environmentalist, a qualified Project Manager, and a Member of the Institute of Directors. He has been a Director of Bioenergy Europe, the European Biomass Association, since 2014. Michael is also a past President of IrBEA, the Irish Bioenergy Association, and is now a Director of IrBEA. He is also a Director of SURE a biomass certification company based in Bonn.

Please introduce your organisation.

CKEA is a non-profit independent energy agency to support the counties of Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford, Waterford and beyond to reduce its CO2 emissions by stimulating, driving, and contributing to the implementation of best practices in the field of energy efficiency. CKEA has extensive knowledge and experience in energy management, integration of RE, advisory of SMEs, as well as other services in all sectors. CKEA is a member of all relevant national energy networks in Ireland.

CKEA joined the CAN project as a partner in 2021.

What motivated you to join CAN?

The South East Energy Agency has identified a need to work with SMEs in Ireland to assist them in transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy. Low carbon translates into savings making micro-enterprises more competitive. Align with CAN Cap mission to support SMEs and young entrepreneurs who are in a challenging or problematic situation (also due to the Covid-19 crisis), with energy retrofitting and GHG emission reduction. CKEA will focus on assisting SMEs in transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy and green energy.


What are your objectives for the next two years?

We hope to deliver 150 audits to SMEs in the nursing home, food production/agriculture, supermarket/shopping mall, and office-building sectors. With these audits, we hope to identify points in these businesses processes and buildings where energy savings can be made and assist the SMEs in making these savings, and reduce their carbon footprint. This is an area CKEA has great experience in through our work with the EU and National funded projects. CKEA intends to use the CAN Cap programme to continue the work we do, assisting SMEs in the southeast Ireland region and bringing sustainable practices and better energy use to communities within our region and beyond.

Please describe briefly your planned activities.

There are 6 main pilars on our activities:

  1. Promoting CAN Cap project
  2. Identify SMEs and launch Call
  3. Energy Auditing and Metering plan
  4. Energy Management system
  5. Carbon Footprint base on Energy Usage
  6. Support SMEs for energy and carbon management in National and International

What results do you expect? How can other municipalities/agencies benefit from your experiences?

We expect the SMEs we work with to become more aware of their energy usage and better at taking steps to reduce it themselves, beyond the advice delivered. We hope that other municipalities could replicate our project actions in their own regions to reach other SMEs. We also hope that the SMEs we work with will discuss the audit with other SMEs they know outside of the region to encourage other businesses to consider their energy usage as well as carbon footprint monitoring and how they can take actions themselves, or reach out to a municipality, to reduce it.

Ville de Liège

Contact person and interviewee

Marc Schlitz

Since 2004, Marc works as senior expert for sustainable development, energy and climate issues in the Strategic Unit for Urban Development of the City of Liège.

He has been involved as local manager in several projects and is the contact point for various international networks, programmes or initiatives related to these matters, as Energy Cities, the Covenant of Mayors, the Sustainable Development Commission of the AIMF (Association of French Speaking Mayors), the Milan Pact or the Horizon Europe programme.

Please introduce your organisation.

Ville de Liège (VDL) is a medium-sized city of approximately 200.000 inhabitants. As a local authority, the city assumes a wide range of duties including economic and ecological city development. VDL is involved in various (city) networks such as the transboundary MAHHL+ city network (major cities situated in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine area) or the E.G.T.C. Euregio Meuse-Rhine. It is also member of the board of major international city networks such as “Energy Cities” or the International association of French speaking mayors “AIMF”.

VDL has over 1000 years of history, therefore it has one of the oldest building stocks of Belgium which leads to a need for important refurbishment investments both in residential and non-residential buildings.

For several years, the City of Liège has been quite active within the realm of INTERREG programs A and B since INTERREG III with various participations in projects such as “Sustainable Cities”, “HST-connect”, “Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods”, Value-Added, N-Power, …

The City of Liège joined the CAN-Capitalisation project partnership in 2021. Prior to that, VDL was subpartner to “Liège-Energie” within the initial CAN project.


What motivated you to join CAN?

Ten years ago, VDL participated actively to the meta survey Urbiscoop, managed by the BENELUX General Secretary, aiming at considering the existing building stock retrofitting challenge and needs at scale of the Benelux and surrounding territories in Western Germany and Northern France.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been adopted by all parties, including cities, regional and national political levels.

This enabled VDL to propose some of the most reflected and ambitious action lines of the previous CAN project submitted in INTERREG VB NWE 2014-2020. The role of CAN-partner was endorsed by the NPO “Liège-Energie” which is part of the “Maison de l’Habitat” (House of Housing) in order to stimulate the local consortium in charge of accompanying the retrofitting process in the housing sector at neighbourhoods’ scale. The City of Liège stayed involved as sub-partner due to its experience in INTERREG projects management and reporting and to the expertise of its housing and economic development Department in the field of energy advising.

Beside CAN, the City of Liège was also involved as project partner in the INTERREG VB NWE67 “ACE-Retrofitting” targeting the condominium sector with its very complex governance and technical constraints and developed within the partnership a relevant accompanying methodology for boosting the willingness to change, supported by the dedicated interactive web-platform Reno-Copro ( )

The idea to build on the experience gained within CAN and ACE-Retrofitting motivated us to use the acquired know-how in order to address the specific target audience of the private tertiary sector, i.e. SMEs and shopkeepers. This sector went through a very rough patch due to the sanitary crisis and the lockdowns. Furthermore, the current worldwide energy crisis is strongly impacting the tertiary sector and threatens its profitability. Above that, quite often, the building hosting their activity does not respond to the energy performances that will soon be mandatory.

Therefore, CAN-Capitalisation and its target audience fully corresponds to the ambitions of the City of Liège – help SMEs and shopkeepers to reach the climate objectives and to get stronger in the aftermath of the sanitary crisis facing the competition with the e-commerce and the energy crisis.

Our experience within transnational projects has been very beneficial. As a matter of fact, as partner of such a project you are able to share experiences and learn a lot from one another. The transnational aspect has been proven essential to acquire the best possible results.

When CAN-Capitalisation was proposed to target SMEs, it appeared relevant for the City of Liège to endorse the role of project partner, to reinforce the expertise both in project management and in energy advising with a strong involvement of its Communication Unit and to capitalise on other kinds of local stakeholders dedicated to work with this target group or involved in circular economy supporting programmes.

Especially, the Commerce Office, with its dedicated tool of the “Commerce Observatory” linked to the GIS platform of the Land-Use Department, manages a strong database of location and characterization for about 4,700 SMEs and shops with a sorting regarding their sector of activity.


What are your objectives for the next two years?

Capitalizing on both CAN and ACE-Retrofitting approaches and tools, we aim at developing an integrated accompanying process of our local SMEs sector in order to enable it to get out of the Covid crisis in a positive way and to enable its positioning in the energy and climate transition and circular economy processes.

So, the realisations and initiative of proactive SMEs and shopkeepers “Early Birds” will be highlighted as success stories and the various active networks and operators as “Multiplicators” in order to boost the willingness to act of the target group.

Please describe briefly your planned activities.

In order to meet in the best possible way the needs of our target audience, we will implement a bottom-up approach in order to find out their precise needs, the obstacles they are facing, … Therefore, a questionnaire – both digital and ‘paper’ version – will be elaborated.

The results of this consultation will be analyzed in order to set up workshops, info sessions, flyers, etc, addressing the target audience. Face-to-face consultations responding to the precise context a shopkeeper, an SME is confronted with will be organized.

A communication campaign based on “early birds” and “best practices” will be developed since the impact of “peers” has proven to be a most efficient way to convince ( Engage campaign).

Since a large part of shopkeepers and SMEs are tenants, a specific approach will be implemented in order to reach the owners of the buildings.

On the other hand, in order to inform the target audience on the existing means, a web platform will be built offering information on the available tools (incl. financial aid, energy audits, etc.), potential suppliers for energy refurbishing, etc. This platform is bound to evolve throughout the duration of the CAN-Cap project and even afterwards because it will “grow” as we get a better knowledge of the needs and barriers encountered, learn from the other Project and Associated Partners, get better acquainted with the local organizations and tools.

What results do you expect? How can other municipalities/agencies benefit from your experiences?

Since we will be collaborating with organizations active in larger territories than the city’s (EKLO, UCM, Province of Liège, Sowalfin, National Association of Real Estate Owners, Chambers of Builders, etc.), we are quite confident to be able to roll out the results obtained through the project to other municipalities within the Province of Liège (84 municipalities), the Walloon Region (262 municipalities) and the transboundary Euregio Meuse-Rhine area.


Transnational impacts of CAN and other Interreg NWE funded projects

Posted on

During a vibrant impact event in Tourcoing, France, from 4-5 December the full spectrum of Interreg NWE funded projects came together to discuss the uptake of results, opportunities and barriers on a broader level. The Climate Active Neighbourhoods (CAN) project was not only part of a dynamic exhibition area, where “A look into CAN”, a picture gallery was presented, but also part of a workshop on “The pathway to high-performance buildings”. Read More


CAN SME at EUSEW Energy Fair

, Brussels

The EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is an annual highlight featuring a diverse programme of sessions and side-events aimed at discussing and shaping Europe’s energy future. CAN SME will be present on the Energy Fair with a stand to present activities and experiences of the partnership for engaging SMEs for change.
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