Testing and Dissemination of Public Internal Performance Contracting Schemes with Pilot Projects for Energy-Efficient Lighting in Public Buildings

  • Project no.3209
  • Duration 02/2003 - 09/2005

The PICOlight project will transfer, promote, test and disseminate the Public Internal Performance Contracting concept, first used in Germany, in six European countries. The Energy Division co-ordinates this project with twelve partners.

What is Public Internal Performance Contracting (PICO)?
In many public authorities and comparable institutions, significant opportunities to save energy costs exist. However, often these profitable potentials are not realised due to various reasons. Among the barriers, typical characteristics of public investment financing play a prominent role. Energy efficiency services, such as performance contracting or contract energy management, often provide a solution to this situation. Public internal performance contracting (PICO) is a kind of in-house "third-party" financing or energy performance contracting scheme.
One unit of the public authority, e.g. the technical department of a municipality, delivers the financial and technical energy efficiency service to another unit of the same public administration, and the remuneration takes place through cross payments of budgets, according to the saved energy costs, between these two organisational units.
In times of tight public budgets, PICO offers the opportunity of continuous implementation of energy efficiency measures through the temporary provision of seed money. The resulting pay-back cash-flows provide new funds for follow-up projects.

The main objective of the PICOLight project is to transfer, promote, test and disseminate the PICO concept, first used in Germany, in six European countries, and to develop it further and adapt it where necessary. The project aims that at its end, PICO schemes shall be established in the seven public administrations that participate, and that many more public administrations will also implement PICO structures and energy efficiency projects. The technical focus in field-testing PICO shall be energy-efficient lighting.
A secondary objective of the PICOLight project is to analyse the overall public procurement process of lighting and other building technologies, and prepare and disseminate proposals and methods for making it more energy-efficient.

Description of the work
Achievement of the project's objectives will be enabled i.a. through PICO pilot projects on energy-efficient lighting, brochures, case studies, websites, guidebook chapters, and workshops in at least six European countries. The general project structure consists of an overall project co-ordination, a scientific and a dissemination co-ordination, plus national teams. The national teams usually consist of one public administration and one scientific expert. Representatives of the target groups and key actors are thus already involved in the project group, but will further be involved in the dissemination activities.

Expected results
The expected results are at least 12 buildings retrofitted, adapted PICO schemes developed and implemented, a policy framework for PICO set, recommendations for improving the public procurement of lighting and other building technologies developed, and awareness for PICO and energy-efficient lighting in public buildings raised in the six countries. This is expected to pave the way for widespread uptake of PICO and energy efficiency by public bodies in these and possibly other EU and accession countries. If as a longer run result of the PICOlight project, PICO were broadly implemented by public administrations and institutions throughout the EU, it can be estimated that over 10 years, savings of up to 50 TWh/year of electricity and fuels could be reached. This will not only be in lighting, but also in heating, hot water, circulation pumps, fans, air conditioning, etc.