Investments in energy efficiency: New benchmarking platform for companies, investors and policy-makers

Today, the EU Commission introduced the De-risking Energy Efficiency Platform. Based on more than 7,800 measures and actions that have already been implemented, this free benchmarking website enables businesses, investors and political decision-makers to assess which investments in energy efficiency are particularly worth making – whether with regard to fast payback times or the highest possible profit. The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI played a decisive role in developing this platform by providing thousands of data sets.

The De-risking Energy Efficiency Platform (DEEP) was developed by the Energy Efficiency Financial Institutions Group (EEFIG). This working group was established in 2013 by the EU Commission and the United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), in order to improve people’s understanding of the risks and advantages of investing in energy efficiency. In total, more than 30 partners from science, business and politics are working together on this project.

Dr. Clemens Rohde, Head of the Business Unit Energy Efficiency at the Fraunhofer ISI, which has been part of the consortium since 2015, sums up the most important project objectives: “Energy efficiency is a decisive factor for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Alongside this environmental aspect, it is also essential for businesses to safeguard their supply of energy and their competitiveness. And investors want to know whether and when an investment in an energy efficiency project will pay off. All these aspects were considered when developing the benchmarking tool. There has never been such a broad statistical basis available before”. 

Data from more than 7,800 energy efficiency projects

Real-world figures from more than 7,800 energy efficiency projects that have been implemented over the last few years in industrial enterprises and the building sector were used as input for the database. The biggest share of the data are from the European Union, but there are some from other countries, mostly the USA. The majority of the data for Germany are taken from Learning Energy Efficiency Networks, which are scientifically monitored by Fraunhofer ISI.

Based on these data and using specific benchmarks, businesses and investors are able to identify, for instance, how many years it takes on average for certain investments in energy efficiency projects to pay off or make a profit. The specific data can be downloaded as graphically illustrated fact sheets. In this way, the platform helps to assess the feasibility and risks of individual projects and bundles of projects.

Alongside businesses and investors, other target groups for the benchmarking platform include political decision-makers and scientists: In the field of policy, the data can indicate which measures are particularly promising in the respective country and should therefore be promoted; for scientists, they provide a good data basis for further research. 

Energy efficiency is worth it

The collected data already demonstrate that energy efficiency pays off, emphasizes Clemens Rohde: “Investments in industry have proven particularly profitable. The average costs for energy efficiency measures here are relatively moderate at about 0.012 euro per kilowatt hour and usually pay off after about two years. In the building sector, the costs are slightly higher at 0.025 euro per kilowatt hour and the average amortization period is much longer at eleven years. However, this is also due to the fact that short payback periods are a more important criterion in industry than when renovating residential buildings, for example.”

To make the database even broader and ensure the platform can be used for as long as possible, the EEFIG Team would like to expand it using figures from other realized energy efficiency projects. Interested businesses and institutions are invited to contact Dr. Clemens Rohde.


The De-risking Energy Efficiency Platform (DEEP) can be accessed here It can be used free of charge, but a user log-in must be created. Information is available here about the Energy Efficiency Institutions Group (EEFIG), which was established at the end of 2013 by the EU Commission and the United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.

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