Introducing the EeMAP valuation and energy efficiency checklist

By Ursula Hartenberger, RICS Global Head of Sustainability  

The recently published EeMAP definition for energy efficient mortgages presents a breakthrough in the project and provides the basis for establishing protocols to ensure appropriate lending secured against properties which are likely to both lower credit risk and  support the climate change mitigation agenda. The definition explicitly mentions the value aspect of the energy efficiency measures of the property for which an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) is being sought and as such clearly refers to the EeMAP valuation and energy efficiency checklist, developed by RICS to aid transparency to the valuation process.

What is the checklist and how does it sit with the traditional canon of mortgage lending valuation instructions?

The EeMAP valuation checklist is the result of an in-depth consultation with valuers and mortgage lending banks from across Europe and is designed to complement existing instructions given to valuers. Currently there is no standard reporting template for valuers asking them for their assessment of the relationship between value and the energy efficiency aspects of the property although much of this information may already be collected and used implicitly to inform the valuer’s opinion of market value. The checklist provides a list of property characteristics which may affect the energy demands of the building – such as heating, insulation, structure and orientation to name but a few and requires the valuer to report on each explicitly using a tick box and comment facility.  Many of the indicators on the list will look familiar to valuers and banks as they are already part of existing valuation instructions –  the difference is that they will be assessed specifically from an energy efficiency perspective.

Therefore, if the instruction allows, valuers are advised to consider and make specific reference to those indicators and observed subsequent energy efficiency characteristics and implications which potentially could impact the value of the property and, indeed, consider this relationship in their final estimate of the subject properties market and mortgage lending value.

What implications does the EeMAP checklist have for lending institutions?

Depending on the lending context and/or the property-specific information already available or recorded, lending institutions may wish to complement their existing valuation instructions with selected indicators from the checklist, or indeed use it in its entirety.

In addition, banks are advised to capture important information on the indicators contained in the checklist as this is essential for measuring the financial performance of energy efficient mortgages and for benchmarking them in relation to key risk indicators such as Probability of Default (PD) or Loss Given Default (LGD). Additionally, by collecting and recording this data, it will better inform the valuers of the energy/value relationship. This could be important for EU policy moving forward.

What is the scope of the new EeMAP checklist?

The checklist is intended to serve different lending scenarios, including:

–        the origination of a new or extension of an existing mortgage for a property undergoing    renovation,

–        the origination of a new mortgage for an already energy efficient property, and

–        re-mortgaging.

The checklist has been created with user-friendliness in mind. It comprises three assessment categories:

  1. the core indicators, such as the EPC rating, energy consumption, physical building characteristics, condition of systems, availability of building related information/documentation, etc.,
  2. commentary regarding additional energy-performance related risk considerations, including building orientation, presence of renewables, lighting, etc., and finally,
  3. an assessment summary that also benchmarks the property in question against overall market expectations with regard to energy efficiency.

Valuers are asked to rank each indicator according to a RAG (Red, Amber, Green) rating with a supplementary comment column in which they should provide a brief rationale for their respective ‘RAG’ judgement where this is not obvious.

Red: Below market ‘norm’ – value actually/potentially at risk over period of proposed loan

Amber: On or near market expectations – may be at risk in medium term

Green: Above market expectations and therefore likely to present a lower value risk moving   forward.

Grey: No data available

Are valuers in Europe ready for the new EeMAP energy efficiency valuation checklist?

The EeMAP consortium is fully aware that widespread market uptake of the EeMAP valuation checklist will depend on valuers feeling comfortable with making a professional judgement on the potential value impact of energy efficiency characteristics of a property. The consortium is also conscious of the fact that not all valuers in Europe undertaking valuations for mortgage lending purposes may currently have the necessary knowledge to assess some of the technologies that impact on energy efficiency and performance in order to appropriately complete and rate all indicators and assess their potential to impact value.

Therefore, the EeMAP consortium is now working on additional reporting guidelines to support the practical application of the checklist by providing explanatory notes on each of the checklist’s core indicators as well as the items under the commentary section and the overall assessment summary.

On the basis of these explanatory guiding notes, a tailor-made set of EeMAP energy efficient mortgage valuation training slides will be developed and integrated into existing valuation and energy efficiency training material, developed as part of the Intelligent Energy Europe funded project RenoValue. The combined training package will cover the following: the rationale and business case for integrating a building’s energy efficiency features as part of the valuation process, an introduction to energy efficiency in buildings, sources of information on energy performance, the integration of energy efficiency considerations into valuation methodology and valuing energy performance as part of valuations for mortgage lending purposes.

The joint EeMAP / RenoValue training material will be free and can be used either inhouse by lenders or in those cases where valuations are outsourced by firms contracted to carry out valuations on behalf of the bank.

Energy efficiency and probability of mortgage default: linkages and hidden risks

By Max Riedel, Research Fellow at Ca’ Foscari

Do borrowers become more creditworthy if they take out a mortgage on an energy efficient (EE) building? Or, to start with a more prudent question: does there exist any empirical relationship between EE and the probability of mortgage default (PD) at all? The first question is concerned with the identification of a causal link between EE and PD, while the second questions the very existence of a link between the two. The current data environment is challenging for answering either of the two questions.

To study the link between EE and PD, the necessary pre-condition is a clean, granular dataset that accurately distinguishes between loans on EE and non-EE buildings. Unfortunately, this information is seldom readily available as banks either store energy performance data in physical form, which is retrospectively costly to digitalize, or data is not being stored at all due to lack of an IT solution. Furthermore, the link has to be identified by taking into account borrower and building characteristics that might confound the empirical findings if not included. For instance, borrower’s age, building age, or location might have a confounding effect on the identification of a clear relationship between EE and PD. Fortunately, banks already collect the most relevant information in order to feed their credit risk models. Therefore, the main challenge in this respect lies in the collection of EE data and its merge with the remaining mortgage information.

When it comes to identifying causality, the requirements on the analysis become much more demanding. In order to establish a causal link, we have to understand and take into account the borrower’s consumption behaviour. Suppose a borrower buys a highly energy efficient house. One might argue that she will save money on heating and, thus, is more likely to repay her debt, which, in turn, should be reflected in an improvement of her credit rating. However, this would only hold true if she did not change her consumption behaviour. And this is where the currently unobservable risk lies: the unexpected deviation from the former consumption pattern after mortgage origination. For instance, the borrower could decide to change her heating habit and might use up the EE savings on more intense or careless heating. In the literature, this scenario is referred to as the rebound effect. The rebound effect generally refers to an increase in the request of energy services due to the decrease in the effective price paid by the consumer. However, she might also spend her EE savings on some other consumption products, such as a new car or kitchen. In addition to the shift in consumption, the borrower might also self-select herself into the data sample. In this case, not EE per se but a different factor would affect the credit risk. For instance, environmentally conscious borrowers are more likely to buy an energy efficient building and their attitude towards debt repayment might differ from other borrowers. In order to identify the causal link one has to account for such subtle factors. This is a challenging task as the bank typically does not collect soft information. However, there are solutions to overcome this issue. Regarding the consumption pattern, the bank typically possesses the borrower’s financial transaction history and can track its development over time. Additionally, utility companies collect energy consumption data, which allows to measure the rebound effect. To account for the other soft borrower characteristics, customer surveys would be helpful in order to estimate their general attitude towards the environment.


As of date, it is a challenging task to meet all data requirements for a causality analysis. The reasons being lack of data and privacy concerns. Thus, we focus our analysis on the correlation between EE and PD, and leave the causality question for a future study. In the following, we present our findings from the Dutch mortgage market.

Using loan-level data from the Dutch mortgage market, we investigate the relation between a building’s energy efficiency and the probability of mortgage default. By focusing on residential buildings exclusively, our sample consists of mortgages issued on more than 120,000 dwellings. We supplement the dataset with provisional energy efficiency ratings that are assigned by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, RVO) to all Dutch buildings that are not yet supplied with the actual energy performance certificate (EPC) rating. RVO provides rating categories for 60 pairs of different building type and construction period combinations in the Netherlands. This allows us to match the loan data with EE ratings according to building type and construction year. Additionally, we exploit the fact that the ratings change asynchronously across the different building types in order to disentangle the energy efficiency-component from building type- and building age-specific effects that are typically associated with borrower’s risk of default. We employ two empirical methodologies – the Logistic regression and the extended Cox model – and find that energy efficiency is negatively correlated with a borrower’s likelihood of default on mortgage payments. The results hold if we account for borrower, mortgage, and market control variables. The findings also survive a battery of robustness checks. As an additional exercise, we investigate to what extent the degree of energy efficiency plays a role on borrower’s credit risk. Our findings suggest that mortgages on more efficient buildings are less prone to default. However, the findings on the degree of energy efficiency are less significant than the baseline results.

To date, only few studies attempted to investigate the correlation between EE and PD. To our knowledge all these studies were focusing on the US market. Our empirical exercise is among the first ones to establish a link between EE and PD with European mortgage data. We are optimistic that this field of research will grow as more European countries and banks commit themselves to collect and share their data.

Energy Efficient Mortgages: A greener future for Europe

Brussels, 3 December 2018 – For immediate release

The Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM) Initiative is, today, unveiling its definition of an energy efficient mortgage which is the result of extensive cross-sectoral, market consultation of the lending institutions piloting the energy efficient mortgage framework and of the EEM Advisory Council.

Today’s announcement coincides with the start of the United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP24 –  taking place in Katowice, Poland until 14 December.

The definition is intended as a concrete response to the efforts of the European Commission to construct a capital markets union, to facilitate the clean energy transition in line with the Paris Agreements, and in this context, to build a financial system that supports sustainable growth. It will provide a market benchmark to operationalise the integration of energy efficient mortgages into the business lines of the forty-one pilot lending institutions. At the end of 2017, these lending institutions represented 55% of mortgages outstanding in the European Union, equal to 25% of EU GDP, constituting significant critical mass in the market.

The EEM Initiative is a market-led initiative, funded via the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme, which aims to deliver a standardised European framework and data collection architecture for energy efficient mortgages, with favourable financing conditions for energy efficient buildings, energy saving renovations and anti-seismic measures.

The EEM Pilot Scheme was launched in June 2018, further to the engagement of market actors in a consultation process by way of national and European roundtable events. The pilot scheme lending institutions are supported by the EEM Advisory Council, which includes representatives from the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Finance Corporation, The World Bank, UNEP Finance Initiative, the Scottish Government and Climate Bond Initiative.

Gerassimos Thomas, European Commission, Deputy Director-General for Energy, stated:

I believe the EEM Initiative will bring a positive change in the market, providing more accessible financing for energy efficiency in buildings. It will facilitate the implementation of energy efficiency investments where they are most needed, in the buildings sector. Having agreed on a definition is an important step, opening the way for a quick roll-out of energy efficiency mortgages. The definition agreed upon is operational and easy to use, and can be strengthened in time, to match the high level of ambition of the EEM Initiative, and to make better use of the tools provided by the European legislative framework.”

Luca Bertalot, Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative Coordinator, stated:

“Now is the time to take action, a market roadmap is the most effective way of delivering mortgage financing solutions to support European citizens in making their homes more energy efficient, comfortable, secure and therefore, ultimately, future-proof. The definition announced today provides a strong, operational market benchmark for lending institutions and a clear blueprint for the European Commission’s Sustainable Finance agenda, by facilitating cross-sectoral and institutional coordination and delivering market innovation and synergies.

  • To consult the Lending Institutions, please click here
  • To consult the Advisory Council, please click here
  • To consult the Supporting Organisations, please click here

Additional information can be found under the Pilot Scheme section: Roadmap and Pioneers

Contact:

Luca Bertalot, Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative Coordinator
E: lbertalot@hypo.org
Tel: +32 2 285 40 35

Colibri Hypotheken joins the Energy Efficient Mortgages Pilot Scheme, bringing the number of participating banks to 40

Brussels, 27 November 2018 – For immediate release

The Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM) Initiative is delighted to announce that Colibri Hypotheken has decided to participate in the Energy Efficient Mortgages Pilot Scheme.

As of today, 40 European banks are taking part in the Pilot Scheme, launched last June, and have committed to test the implementation of the final energy efficient mortgages framework into their existing product lines and processes. These banks are joined in the Pilot Scheme by 25 other supporting organisations throughout the EU.

The Pilot Scheme is composed of 7 subgroups combining market and institutional expertise to help refine the framework. The initial results of the analysis conducted since the launch of the Pilot in June were presented during the Pilot Scheme Meeting took place in Venice on 27 September 2018 in the presence of members of the Advisory Council.

The ultimate goal of the EEM Initiative is to deliver a mortgage financing mechanism, according to which borrowers are incentivised to improve the energy efficiency of their properties or acquire highly energy efficient properties, by way of favourable financial conditions linked to the mortgage. The Initiative will furthermore develop a data collection infrastructure for energy efficient mortgages.

Luca Bertalot, Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative Coordinator, commented:

“It is with a great pleasure that we welcome Colibri Hypotheken to the Energy Efficient Mortgage Pilot Scheme. In order to achieve more sustainable growth and reach the European Union’s Capital Markets Union project along with the Paris Agreement goals to fight climate change, everyone must play a role. Since its launch in June, the number of banks participating in the Pilot Scheme has constantly increased, demonstrating the relevance of the Initiative and the willingness of the market to work together to build a greener and more sustainable planet for the future generations.”

Joost van Sligtenhorst, Colibri, stated:

“Today, two of the biggest challenges concerning the green transformation of residential properties, are financing energy saving measures and accessibility for inexpert home owners. At Colibri, we have great aspirations in bridging this chasm in two ways. First, we deal with the financing issues by making investments profitable, launching a green mortgage with extra loan capacity and financial benefits to our borrowers. Second, we address accessibility by teaming up with a Dutch initiative, guiding and advising home owners towards the actual implementation of energy saving measures.

Still, we believe that the green transformation can only be achieved when people, businesses and governments cooperate together. Therefore, we joined the EEM Initiative, pursuing a commonly adopted framework and a standardised, effective way to provide for affordable and accessible mortgage solutions. Together, we can actually get the energy transition broadly supported and pave the way to sustainable and energy efficient homes.”

Contact:

Luca Bertalot, Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative Coordinator
E: lbertalot@hypo.org
Tel: +32 2 285 40 35

Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative strongly welcomes first strategic partnership to be launched under the Energy Efficient Mortgages Pilot Scheme

The Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM) Initiative strongly welcomes today’s announcement that E.ON and BNP Paribas Personal Finance UK will work together to develop and pilot an Energy Efficient Mortgage product, in the first strategic partnership of its kind to be launched in the context of the Energy Efficient Mortgages Pilot Scheme.

Under the partnership, BNP Paribas would provide the improvement loan financing and E.ON would provide a managed renovation service. This service would help the customer to identify what measures would deliver the greatest savings potential, E.ON would then install the measures and offer a range of in-life energy services.

Currently, 39 European banks are taking part in the Pilot Scheme, launched last June, and have committed to test the implementation of an energy efficient mortgage product into their existing product lines and processes. These banks are joined in the Pilot Scheme by 25 other supporting organisations throughout the EU.

Luca Bertalot, Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative Coordinator, commented:

“We are delighted to see that the Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative has triggered real cooperation among market players which will provide consumers with a concrete incentive to improve the quality of their homes by way of an energy efficient mortgage. This latest development shows how the Initiative is a win-win for consumers and market players and we hope that this will be the first of many strategic partnerships in this area.”

Contact:

Luca Bertalot, Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative Coordinator
E: lbertalot@hypo.org
Tel: +32 2 285 40 35

Building a greener society: Ecology Building Society joins the Energy Efficient Mortgages Pilot Scheme

PRESS RELEASE

Brussels, 20 September 2018 For immediate release

The Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEM) Initiative and Ecology Building Society are delighted to announce that Ecology Building Society will participate in the Energy Efficient Mortgages Pilot Scheme.

The EEM Initiative is aimed at delivering a mortgage financing mechanism, according to which borrowers are incentivised to improve the energy efficiency of their properties or acquire highly energy efficient properties, by way of favourable financial conditions linked to the mortgage. The Initiative will furthermore develop a data collection infrastructure for energy efficient mortgages.

Currently, 39 European banks are taking part in the Pilot Scheme, launched last June, and have committed to test the implementation of the final energy efficient mortgages framework into their existing product lines and processes. These banks are joined in the Pilot Scheme by 23 other supporting organisations throughout the EU.

The Pilot Scheme is composed of 7 subgroups combining market and institutional expertise to help refine the framework. The initial results of the analysis conducted since the launch of the Pilot in June will be presented during the forthcoming Pilot Scheme Meeting taking place in Venice on 27 September 2018 in the presence of members of the Advisory Council.

Luca Bertalot, Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative Coordinator, commented:

We are delighted that Ecology Building Society has decided to join the Pilot Scheme and has embraced this Initiative just ahead of the Pilot Scheme meeting in Venice. Having Ecology on board is a valuable addition as it brings their extensive experience of supporting sustainable development to the table. The increasing number of organisations participating in the pilot scheme underlines the willingness of the market to take action and to play a pivotal role, in supporting the European Commission in achieving its ambitious energy savings targets, building a greener society and a more sustainable future.”

Paul Ellis, Chief Executive of Ecology Building Society, stated:

“If we are to meet our Paris climate agreement commitments, the finance sector needs to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

“Ecology has pioneered green mortgages for over 30 years. Over that time we’ve proved that incentivising energy efficiency through mortgage pricing works by basing our mortgage rates on a property’s climate impact.”

“By participating in the Pilot scheme we are able to share our experience of using the pricing mechanism to reward best practice and innovation in low-carbon building and contribute to the development of industry-wide criteria for green mortgages.”

“We hope that this results in a permanent and committed journey for those lenders who are taking part.”

Contacts:

Luca Bertalot, Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative Coordinator

E: lbertalot@hypo.org

Tel: +32 2 285 40 35

Ian Rigarlsford, External Affairs Manager

E: ian.rigarlsford@ecology.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 1535 650770

Mob: +44 (0)7421 745411

Developing technical due diligence for valuers: towards additional information for lenders

By Sarah Sayce professor of University of Reading and Zsolt Toth, External Affairs & EU Liason Manager, Europe RICS

Valuers act in accordance with the instructions they receive and the requirements of their professional body. As energy efficiency is likely to present a lower risk in terms of value moving forward, it is therefore a risk factor to any loan. Under prevailing client instructions, the valuer will normally be asked to comment on some of the most common risks to value in relation to the property and its general suitability for a loan, while energy rating is not normally a specified risk. However, some lenders, believed to be a growing minority, are now asking for information in relation to energy ratings and energy efficiency if such data is available.

It is from this starting point that the EeMAP commenced. Discussions with banks, valuers and professional bodies revealed that greater clarity and standardisation of instructions to valuers, with respect to reporting on energy efficiency, will assist lending institutions to develop a clearer and more explicit understanding of the potential risks associated with properties that could be subject to value depreciation due the building’s energy characteristics.

For this to happen there is a requirement to work with all the stakeholders to establish both how the instructions could be clarified and how appropriate information could be recorded and reported back to inform lending decisions.  Earlier this year, we developed a draft checklist of information relating to building inspection and valuation which is intended to pilot as a possible extension to the instruction, inspection and reporting protocols for valuers.

The valuation checklist: an enhancement to the due diligence process

Under current due diligence processes, energy efficiency data should be collected and considered, where it is available and used for the assessment of Market Value only where comparable evidence supports it.  However, by an awareness of the potential implications of sustainability and energy in the future, the valuer should be in a position to offer pertinent advice where data is available, if so instructed.  The purpose of the draft checklist, therefore, is four fold; it is to:

  • provide a potential extension for instructions for secured lending;
  • enable valuers to reflect upon the building characteristics that impact on energy efficiency and form a judgement as to whether such characteristics present a risk reduction or increase to the security of the asset for the loan moving forward;
  • Engender greater awareness of energy matters by valuers and encourage participation in upskilling;
  • Build awareness of energy efficiency risk among the banks’ risk assessment departments, improve their skills of how to interpret valuation and EPC reports as well as learn how to challenge valuers in case of incomplete valuation reports.

Testing the checklist prior to the Pilot phase: what we hear from valuers

Given that the responses to the public consultation carried out earlier the year, whilst useful, could not give ‘fine-grained’ feedback on the checklist, semi-structured discussions with valuers operating in different EU Member States have been conducted. The discussions with valuers provided useful confirmation of previous findings but also added depth of insight as follows:

I. Instructions from clients in respect of energy efficiency.

The interviews confirmed that in general banks only required a report on the EPC – if indeed they require anything in terms of energy. Although it was reported that some valuation reports contain comments on energy efficiency related risks and benefits, many lenders, in practice, do not take account of these considerations. No valuer reported that banks ask for comments on the risks posed over the life cycle of the asset.  These opinions underscore the previously recorded findings and point to the need to engage banks as commissioning clients.

II. The use by valuers of existing guidance during their due diligence and reporting processes

The valuers interviewed work across a range of countries, it was confirmed that valuers should be reflecting energy efficiency but only if there is a discernible value attached to it. In Germany, the requirement goes further with regulatory standards already requiring valuers to reflect energy efficiency as expressed in: maintenance costs, yield, rent levels, ease to rent, etc. However, even if energy efficiency is taken into account it is difficult to extrapolate; partly as there is insufficient real data, a point that was made very strongly in relation to Italy.   The lack of data was a persistent theme with the view expressed that in some cases valuers do not even have EPC data available.

III. Views as to the draft checklist and explanatory notes

Opinions were extremely positive being described variously as “a great initiative”; “promising”; “relevant” and “a great rating tool which can help valuers”.  Whilst to most valuers, there are elements within the checklist that are not being considered currently as part of the inspection/due diligence process, it was pointed out that some elements were already matters that the valuers routinely collected and indeed reported. However, in no case were those items considered in terms of their impact on value risk, as required in the judgements in the RAG rating. In summary, whilst some of the items on the checklist would require additional information being collected – or in some cases provided by a specialist energy assessor, many items could be so collected and judgements made. This would be a useful service to the client – if they were to request it.

IV. Suggestions for improvement of the checklist

First, there was a general acknowledgement that the checklist requires extra work on clarifying the indicators and additional guidance. Second, it was regarded as quite long and containing too many questions. As a consequence, it was suggested that it should it focus on those questions that most clearly have a risk mitigation impact; be mindful that some factors are already included in the valuation. Third, it was suggested that, as many valuers now use digital reporting and input direct from their site notes, to develop the tool such that it can tie in with the digital reporting templates would better assure its take up.   This would lead to greater efficiency and reduce the requirements to ask for additional fees.

 V. Constraints

Finally, valuers were asked about barriers and constraints to adoption of a developed version of the checklist. It was acknowledged that several existed, the key issues raised were:

  • valuation report templates used by banks often do not allow to comment on energy efficiency and value and associated risk implications;
  • many secured lending valuations are undertaken with the use of Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) and these cannot accommodate the checklist. The checklist is therefore predicated upon valuer physical inspections;
  • Some mortgage lending products may act as a barrier to creating demand, such as as fixed-term mortgages without the possibility to change the terms and conditions;
  • whilst the checklist could produce in effect a risk score, the quality and quantity of data in terms of energy is still so thin that the influence on market value will remain muted;
  • the issue of liability of the valuer was raised; to mitigate this it would possibly be necessary to be provided with the energy audit;
  • The question of additional fees for additional work was raised by several; clearly this needs address in order to achieve acceptance of the principle;
  • Several valuers pointed to the need to upskill valuers and that an energy audit would be key to underscore the use of the checklist. The issue was equally raised that banks will also need to be educated in order to better understand valuation and EPC reports and to learn how to question valuation reports. The latter can be extended to internal key stakeholders within banks, including the first point of client contact, i.e. the customer services representative.

Concluding remarks

The interviews provided new insights, confirmed some concerns in terms of constraints in adoption that will require address but overwhelmingly provided positive support.  Summarising the feedback received, it is becoming clear that many valuers are in fact already considering energy efficiency as part of their daily valuation practice and that many of them are already collecting data and information and this predominantly through EPCs and physical inspections.

However, the interviews and previous survey also showed that there are a number of structural barriers within the mortgage lending process that should be considered and addressed by banks during the EeMAP pilot phase.

Energy Efficient Mortgages can unlock Europe’s first fuel

By Marco Marijewycz, International Market Manager B2C, E.ON

Improving the energy efficiency of Europe’s building stock is one of the greatest infrastructure challenges facing our generation. Europe has one of the oldest concentration of building stock in the world, with about 35% of the continent’s buildings over 50 years old. Moreover, buildings account for 40% of EU energy use, and it is estimated that the EU needs to invest around €100 billion annually in building renovations to meet its energy and climate goals.

This is why improving the energy efficiency of the EU’s existing building stock is such a key priority for the European Commission in order to protect the environment save both costs for consumers and increase energy security. By improving the energy efficiency of buildings, we could reduce total EU energy consumption by 5-6% and lower CO2 emissions by about 5%. Indeed, from an energy security perspective, it has been said that the cheapest power station you ever build is the one you don’t build. Put simply energy efficiency can be Europe’s first fuel.

There is also a clear consumer case for energy efficiency, for example according to a previous study commissioned by the UK Government, upgrading energy efficiency of their property with a move from an EPC Band E to an EPC B could enable homeowners in England to reduce their energy costs by around £380 per year on average. Moreover, for an average home in England, improving its EPC from band D to B, could mean adding more than £16,000 to the sale price of the property.[1]

But with the consumer case so clear for energy efficiency, why on the domestic property side have we seen slow progress, and what role can private finance play in unlocking an energy efficiency revolution in Europe?

There are numerous reasons for the slow uptake of energy efficiency across the domestic property stock of Europe. Whether that’s the split in incentives between landlords and tenants vis-à-vis the cost recovery of energy efficiency investments through higher rental charges, fragmented Government policy in this area, or the lack of affordable finance for property owners wishing to make energy efficiency improvements. However, it is the lack of affordable finance problem area that I wish to focus on.

Whilst EU Member State Governments have made positive strides to increase the uptake of energy efficiency through policy actions, these policy interventions have been more incentive or ‘carrot’ driven given the political risk of pushing regulatory or ‘stick’ driven interventions on the electorate. This is completely understandable. How can a Government regulate improvements to domestic properties without the confidence in the market being there to deliver on the demand policy action would create? However, on the flip side, how can the market ready itself and invest in capabilities and technology without the surety of demand what regulatory interventions provide. The reality is you can’t beat people into action with carrots, and if the sticks are not well justified then the electorate will have the Government out of office at the next election.

In sum, the real issue here is that we have been too linear in our approach to drive domestic energy efficiency uptake and not integrated enough in our actions. There has been too much reliance on Governments to make the market and there has not been enough creative cooperation between market actors from across the value chain. In short, we have treated energy efficiency as a problem for Government to solve rather than an opportunity for the market to better serve customers and citizens. However, to succeed both Government and the market need to work closely together with a clear, single focus – a ‘transaction focus’. Mortgages offer such a ‘transaction focus’ as they represent a key intervention opportunity for the message and benefits of energy efficiency to be communicated to the customer at a time when a long-term mindset is being taken. They create a moment when the customer is potentially more open to receive the benefits message, and also learn about available Government support for energy efficiency improvements.

It is for this reason that the market-led Energy Efficient Mortgage initiative (EEMI) possesses such transformational power, and offers finally a vehicle for Government policy and incentives to connect to, complement and enhance. For the first time the EEMI has brought together an eco-system of market actors with the power to act on the lack of affordable finance of home energy efficiency improvements. This initiative is convening banks, valuation professionals, energy companies and energy efficiency experts under a single mission, to create a standardized energy efficient mortgage concept for Europe. Through deep cross sector cooperation this initiative can enable the reformulation of an incentive chain to work for all market actors and most importantly, customers.

This is why E.ON is proud to be the only European energy company to be involved in this pioneering initiative. We also see great partnership possibilities with banks that mean together we can deliver customers a great energy efficient mortgage experience. Our confidence is not misplaced however, indeed as part of our role in the EeMAP project, E.ON has led the consumer research programme.

In our study supported by research agency BASIS we uncovered key consumer insights arising from Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom which indicate a positive customer reaction to the concept of an energy efficient mortgage. In fact appeal of the concept is highest in Italy (80% very/quite appealing), followed by the UK (66% very/quite appealing), with very low outright rejection of the idea. Not surprisingly, the appeal is highest to those customers who are open to making energy efficiency improvements to their properties and to those that would consider taking out a loan to do so.

The one most important reason for finding the product appealing was the financial benefit of the product. Financing means different things in the study countries, in the UK and Sweden, it is about having access to a lower interest rate, while in Italy it is about achieving long term savings.  Of almost equal importance to finance as a driver are energy considerations, namely the tangible benefit of bringing down energy bills, particularly in the UK and Italy.  The emotional benefit of achieving a warm and comfortable home is a strongly recognised energy benefit in all countries.

We strongly believe that easier access to affordable financing via an energy efficient mortgage should provide an added incentive for customers to better insulate buildings, replace an old heating system or increase energy independence through solar panels in conjunction with batteries or virtual storage. For E.ON this is highly relevant because as a business we have shifted from a traditional utility business model to that of an energy solutions provider. Our focus is therefore to enable customers to live more sustainably, lower their energy bills and increase their participation in the energy system through solar and battery solutions.

Across our seven market regions and to over 22 million EU citizens in those markets we are already offering such solutions. We are therefore well positioned to enable banks to deliver an innovative and compelling energy efficient mortgage customer experience. The EEMI pilot phase presents a great opportunity for experimentation and cooperation to find the right energy efficient mortgage product formula for consumers. E.ON’s research has already shown there is demand and we are committed to participating in the pilot scheme. We are therefore very interested to collaborate with banks who have also signed up to the pilot scheme. Together we have the opportunity have real impact for people, the planet and the future profitability of our enterprises and work together with Governments and other key EU Institutions to scale up an exciting new mortgage market.

The future is now, join with us, we are ready.

[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/207196/20130613_-_Hedonic_Pricing_study_-_DECC_template__2_.pdf

Energy Efficient Mortgages: From a Data Perspective

By Vincent Mahieu, Senior Associate, Hypoport

In the second week of June 2018 we saw a successful launch of the Energy Efficient Mortgages Pilot Scheme  (in collaboration with 37 European banks, 23 supporting organisations and EU and international political institutions). The EeMAP and EeDaPP are part of the Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative that aims to create a standardised Energy Efficient Mortgage framework to incentivize building owners to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings or acquire an already energy efficient property by way of preferential financing conditions linked to the mortgage. For those who are new to the concept: the idea is that the Energy Efficient Mortgage utilises the concept that energy savings have a risk mitigation effect for both banks and the borrower: allowing consumers to benefit from the improved collateral value and the lower energy costs, potentially contributing to lower risk on the balance sheet for banks resulting in potentially  favourable capital treatment.

The Energy Efficient Data Protocol and Portal (EeDaPP) Initiative

There has been an increased issuance of green (covered) bonds & notes in recent years. Although we greatly applaud this development, we typically see that the guidelines adhere to the liability structure of an issuance or to the ‘use of proceeds’. The last two years we have seen the first issuance(s) of green residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and covered bonds. There is however a lack of standardisation when it comes to the definition of green assets on a European scale. To this end the European Mortgage Federation – European Covered Bond Council (EMF-ECBC), together with European DataWarehouse, Ca’ Foscari University, Goethe University Frankfur, CRIF, TXS and Hypoport has launched a market-led initiative to address the current lack of standardisation in terms of datasets by delivering a framework for standardisation of technical and financial data gathering: The Energy Efficient Data Protocol and Portal (EeDaPP) Initiative.

Building and working with the outcomes of the Energy Efficient Mortgages Pilot Scheme, EeDaPP aims to design the first European framework that focusses on capturing quantitative data on an asset-level: allowing for in depth analysis across transactions, originators and jurisdictions on both performance and data quality.

Mortgage lending is a very data driven venture. The overall market has benefited greatly from the disclosure initiatives introduced in the last couple of years by the European Central Bank with the RMBS loan level data template) and the EMF-ECBC with the establishment of the Covered Bond Label and the underlying  National and Harmonised Transparency Template (NTT&HTT). The more widespread public availability of loan level data and standardised (investor) reports is a clear example of transparency and a push for more due diligence by market participants. Likewise, the Bank of England and Prime Collateralised Securities (PCS) have contributed to the establishment of standardised data templates and data requirements on their side. Managing a mortgage portfolio is affected by an abundance of reporting, disclosure, audit and retention rules affecting the reporting process. From Hypoport’s perspective we often see pitfalls here: 1) overlapping disclosure requirements and 2) supervision by multiple (national and supra-national) regulators. The increase in regulation can potentially result in inconsistent disclosure requirements and increased costs. The  EeDaPP Initiative will therefore perform a comprehensive analysis on the current state of the available and forthcoming voluntary and involuntary mortgage reporting initiatives will be undertaken.

Integrating different data sources and definitions into one system, handling and administrating large quantities of data from various source systems can and will offer a challenge. Therefore, it is important that we define a clear template, instructions and validation rules for the delivery of energy efficient data towards the Portal.  Next to this it is important that the scope (types of transactions e.g.: RMBS, Covered Bonds, Retained vs Non-Retained, Public vs Non-Public) should be well defined in terms of expectations and (technical) standards.

The EeDaPP Initiative has a unique chance to tap from new and growing green investor mandates, by providing and making tangible the actual ‘green performance’ of assets over time. Explicitly we aim to establish a framework that is scalable and flexible. We strive to enhance the trust and transparency of market participants in Energy Efficient Mortgages from both an originating, funding and public perspective. To this end we will establish a pragmatic approach, minimising potentially perceived burden on a data logistical side. Therefore, we look forward in working in close collaboration with a growing number of market participants. Likewise, we see that forthcoming regulation increasingly acknowledges  energy consumption as an important factor. For instance, the Simple, Transparant and Standardised (STS) reporting template drafted by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) provides increased and interesting momentum in aligning forthcoming energy efficiency related data fields.

We see that Covered Bond and RMBS investors and regulators demand coherent and adequate reporting. The EeDaPP has the explicit aim to build on and complement existing and forthcoming initiatives in the current European mortgage reporting space. The market can expect the establishment of a concrete Energy Efficient Mortgage reporting template in line with forthcoming STS and CB reporting guidelines.

To ensure we have a solid framework for data quality we are currently analysing best practices in data gathering, extraction and handling. In this respect we can draw upon the experience of European DataWarehouse and EMF-ECBC from a report repository side. On the other hand, with the experience of TXS, CRIF and Hypoport we can assess the ability from mortgage issuers and servicers to comply with providing Energy Efficient data handling. Likewise, the Ca’ Foscari University’s ability to interpret and explain the relevance of energy efficient data, provides a stepping stone to set out and negotiate future policy favourable towards Energy Efficient  Mortgages on a European scale.

Further details regarding the EeDaPP Initiative, is available on the joint EeMAP and EeDaPP website here: www.energyefficientmortgages.eu

EeMAP Market Consultation: Over 500 Stakeholders Show Strong Support for Pilot Proposals

Image result for stephen richardson world gbc

By Stephen Richardson, World Green Building Council

Between February and April of this year, the EeMAP consortium undertook a mammoth, market consultation exercise to gather detailed feedback on our draft proposals for the pilot scheme.

Spearheading this process, national Green Building Council’s (GBCs) from the Europe Regional Network (ERN) of World Green Building Council hosted eight workshops in Croatia, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. The workshops brought together national experts from the energy efficiency, finance and valuation communities to discuss national implementation of the EeMAP pilot guidelines.

Using tools and materials provided by the ERN and engaging both national and international speakers, the GBC workshops attracted almost 500 stakeholders. In several instances, the workshops were co-hosted by national banks such as UniCredit in Italy and Triodos in Spain and have led to the formation of national hubs of actors from across the value chain who will take forward the implementation of the EeMAP pilot at national level. Alongside these workshops, the EMF-ECBC coordinated an online public consultation process which received more than 50 responses from a range of sectors.

The experts consulted in both the national workshops and the online consultation gave strong signals of support for the proposed approach to the EeMAP pilot. All respondents to the online consultation agreed that the draft guidelines were appropriate for the pilot scheme. There were no respondents who selected ‘disagree’ or ‘strongly disagree’.

In the workshops, a traffic-light system of red, amber and green responses was used to gather participants’ feedback on the proposed building performance criteria for energy efficient mortgages. Across all eight countries, the responses were either green, indicating the criteria can be implemented without any adaptation, or amber, indicating that only small adaptations would be needed. The map below shows a summary of the workshop responses.

Based on these outcomes, the EeMAP consortium have updated the guidelines for the pilot, making only small adjustments, and adding greater flexibility to ensure that they can be adapted to account for specific market conditions.

The large number of banks and supporting organisations [link to pilot launch press release] which have committed to the pilot is another endorsement that this framework has struck the right balance between ambition and rigour on the one hand and pragmatism and flexibility on the other.

Picture 1: Stephen Richardson of WorldGBC presents EeMAP to national experts at a workshop hosted be UKGBC in London
Picture 2: Hundreds of experts provided feedback on the EeMAP proposals during national workshops facilitated by Europe’s GBCs