The European Code of Conduct

EFIEES has been the European partner of the QualitEE Project.

Funded by the Horizon2020 Programme, QualitEE was a research and innovation project that aimed to increase investment in energy efficiency services in the building sector within the EU and improve trust in service providers. The project ended in June 2020 and developed quality assessment criteria implemented in quality assurance schemes.

QualitEE builded upon the Transparense project, which had established the European Code of Conduct for Energy Performance Contracting in 2014. The code defined the basic values and principles that are considered fundamental for EPC projects and represents an important first step to increasing transparency and trust for these services. However, the code does not provide the assessment criteria or verification procedures that are required to enforce the quality of EPC. The QualitEE project looked to address this, whilst broadening the scope to include a wider range of energy efficiency services.


The QualitEE project has carried out extensive research, as well as consultation with key experts and stakeholders in the energy efficiency services market. Key outcomes from this work have been published, and made available for download, to support the uptake and development of quality assurance for energy efficiency services:

  • European Quality Assessment Criteria

The focal publication is a core set of Quality Assessment Criteria for energy efficiency services harmonised across Europe, and with nationally focussed additions. The 7 quality criteria identified for Energy Efficiency Services by QualitEE partners are the following:

QC 1 Adequate Analysis
QC 2 Quality of implementation of technical energy efficiency improvement measures
QC 3 Savings guarantee
QC 4 Verification of energy savings
QC 5 Value retention and maintenance
QC 6 Communication between the EES provider and the client
QC 7 Compliance with users’ comfort requirements
QC 8 Information and motivation of users
QC9 Comprehensible contractual stipulations for the definition of specific regulatory requirements

The Guidelines of European Technical Quality Criteria for Energy Efficiency Services are available for download here.

  • Financial Guidelines for Energy Efficiency Services

This document presents quality criteria relevant for financing of energy efficiency services (EES). It aims to establish a common understanding for the assessment of bankability of EES projects targeting at financial institutions, energy service companies and clients. On the one hand, financial quality criteria help financial institutions to assess the bankability of EES projects. On the other hand, the criteria support the project developers to prepare and implement their project in a way that facilities financing.

The financial guidelines are available for download here.

  • European Report on the Energy Efficiency Services Market and Quality

It is one of the most in depth and focussed studies of European Energy Efficiency Services (EES) markets to date. The report reviews the current status of quality assurance for EES in the 15 European countries covered. In each case it is recommended that further action is required to develop and implement quality assurance schemes to overcome existing lack of trust in service providers and low customer demand.

For more findings and to download the report click here.

  • Country Reports

National reports on energy efficiency services markets, finance and quality have been developed for 15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and United Kingdom.

You can download the reports here.

  • Business Models for Quality Assurance

In the report, 10 shortlisted business models – selected by QualitEE partners from a long list of 84 – are presented, described and analysed. The aim of the report is to inform the development of functioning quality-assurance business models for energy efficiency services across Europe.

You can read the report here.

  • Business cases for national quality assurance schemes for energy efficiency services

In 11 European countries the QualitEE project has engaged with stakeholders to research and develop the opportunity for national quality assurance schemes based on the quality criteria developed within the project.

Each country has documented the process in national business case reports, which offer key insight into the various approaches that can be taken, and in some cases provide a roadmap to the implementation of operational schemes that can increase trust, quality and uptake of energy efficiency services. The range of institutionalisation approaches taken has been summarised below:

  • Incorporation into national standards – (Spain) integrates quality criteria into existing standards published by the national standards body UNE.
  • Government scheme – (Czech Republic) uses the national adaptation of the quality criteria as the basis for a scheme led by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Energy Performance Contracting projects are individually certified past the first savings verification point, and service providers are certified based on achieving 2 or 3 certified projects dependent on value.
  • Trade association schemes – (Austria & UK) similar to the Czech Republic, the UK scheme – to be administered by the Energy Services & Technology Association –  uses sample project verification past the first savings verification point to accredit service providers. The established DECA scheme in Austria offers a project level label for providers that commit to deliver services in line with the quality criteria.
  • Incorporation in national ESCO registries – (Greece, Latvia & Slovenia) all EU countries were required to establish ESCO registries under the Energy Efficiency Directive. The quality criteria are incorporated into the process for appointing ESCOs to these registries.
  • Enhanced code of conduct – (Bulgaria & Slovakia) where the quality criteria have been included as an extension of the European code of conduct for Energy Performance Contracting, which has been signed by service providers in these countries.
  • Exceptions – (Belgium & Germany) In Germany it was found there was no demand in the market for certification, so ASEW – the German association of municipal utilities – has opted instead to use the quality criteria to offer a contract checking service. In Belgium it was found that the market was not yet sufficiently mature to accept a scheme, although useful groundwork has been prepared for the future. Interestingly the most popular approach during consultation was a hybrid scheme using sample projects to accredit providers, similar to the approach selected in the Czech Republic and the UK.

You can find all the national business case reports here

Final Report

QualitEE’s final report summarises the documents and deliverables written and published during the project’s lifetime, including an updated analysis of EPCs and ESCs European markets  and a description of the work done on national quality assurance schemes in each country covered by the project. 

The report also draws conclusions on the project:

  • Traceable quality is a push factor for EES market growth

The project has indeed shown that quality assurance schemes for EES services on the one hand and EES providers on the other hand, offer a tool to the clients to distinguish good quality projects. Therefore, the document reports a clear expectation of all market participants that quality assurance schemes would positively influence the development of EES markets.

  • Quality in EES projects can be clearly defined

The project has also proved that the overall definition of a “good” EES project is very stable and can be well described by QualitEE’s Technical Quality Criteria. The usefulness of the Technical Quality Criteria has been confirmed in a large number of pilot applications, as they help to shape the relationship between the EES provider and the EES client.

  • Reliable and verifiable quality criteria are useful for financing of EES projects

The Financial Quality Criteria that have been developed by QualitEE partners were perceived by market stakeholders as “common sense approach” to evaluate the financial sustainability of EES projects without requiring a full technical due diligence.

  • Heterogeneous quality assurance schemes reflect local peculiarities of EES business

The report concludes that the heterogeneity of the quality assurance schemes reflects the fact that EES business is a local one, and although closely related there exist local peculiarities that decide upon the development of quality assurance schemes.

  • Quality assurance schemes for EES require public support

Finally, the project allowed to conclude that a certain public support is required in the starting phase to ensure that quality assurance schemes arrive at the markets. The public support may consist of a wide range of different support measures: dissemination with public support (e.g. as part of a public programme); quality assurance may become a prerequisite of public tenders; or a public authority may take over sponsorship for a quality assurance scheme, etc.

The countries where QualitEE’s partners were not able to bring forward a quality assurance scheme clearly demonstrate that an exclusively market-based approach has limited chance of succeeding.

Read the full report here

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