“Efficiency First” (E1st) is a fundamental principle applied to policymaking, planning and investment in the energy sector, gaining visibility in European energy and climate policy. enefirst will help making the E1st principle more concrete and operational, better understand its relevance for energy demand and supply and its broader impacts across sectors and markets, focusing on the buildings sector.

Policy evaluation, analysis and design on energy efficiency with quantitative models (simple and complex) and data in innovative ways across sectors to address specific problems, improving the research approaches for better defining and operationalizing the E1st in the EU policy context.

  • to define the principle of E1st in practical terms,
  • to assess how it has been applied internationally and how it applies to the EU context,
  • to assess the value of applying E1st across different policy areas for buildings’ end-use energy efficiency and to quantify the impacts of increased building energy efficiency for the future energy system in the EU,
  • and to identify key policy areas for the application of E1st and develop policy proposals for its implementation in the EU Buildings Sector.

a set of 10 customized policy proposals for the E1st implementation that will address at least 5 specific barriers.

    • by offering detailed case studies, for the impact assessment and for the application of policy design in countries revealing the diversity & common features of the application of E1st in different policy areas;

by developing a conceptual framework that encapsulates this diversity while also providing a straightforward, useable model of how E1st impacts on economy, society, energy markets and others can be assessed and quantified.

  • identification of the most relevant policy areas where the E1st principle can be applied to achieve the highest impact in terms of energy system benefits, through screening 5 areas of potential application, modelling 3 scenarios and 5 modelling case studies and applying the E1st in 3 regions in the EU,
  • application of the E1st in policy instruments, through assessing the applicability and transferability of international E1st approaches and quantifying the impacts of E1st (through modelling and multi-criteria analysis), and
  • application of E1st through the design of policy instruments and the analysis of their application in country case studies.

with actors from all relevant sectors including the supply-side (network companies, renewable energy policymakers, etc.). Bringing together people working in the energy efficiency sector and those who work in other sectors with a direct and/or indirect impact on energy efficiency delivery will lead to a more comprehensive debate including those who previously have not been involved in developing policy and regulatory solutions to achieve an acceleration of energy efficiency improvements.

and be implemented by a consortium of partners from across sectors and Regions. Senior members of the project team have been instrumental in defining what E1st means at European (Cowart et. al 2017; Cowart 2014; Rosenow et al. 2016; Rosenow et al. 2017), national (Jahn and Rosenow 2016; Rosenow and Cowart 2017) and regional level (Rosenow et al. 2016). This body of work forms the starting point for our analysis and our definition of what E1st means.

, national and local governments, regulators, network operators and energy providers. If each of these has a process in place to prioritise efficiency, the system as a whole will deliver. Hence, E1st can be considered as an organising principle which means that examining the potential for energy savings and demand response becomes the first step in any energy-related decision. Moreover, efficiency related policies can result in numerous developmental benefits such as employment creation, health improvement, productivity improvement, etc. The inclusion of co-benefits into policy evaluation would also increase the cost-effectiveness of E1st-related policies.