Private Buildings

City of Assen The Netherlands


2 million € budget

Private Buildings

The Assen Service Costs Model (ASCM)


Objectives & Characteristics:

Increasing Energy Efficiency (EE) in the built environment is a key priority in the battle against climate change and energy poverty. However, private financing to increase EE in owner-occupied housing is often limited, due to perceived risks, inadequate knowledge of future benefits or limited financial resources by the house-owner. Homeowners are not willing or are not in a financial position to enter an extra loan and thereby increase their existing debt. The Assen Service Costs model (ASCM) offers a financial model to solve this issue.

The ASCM is an innovative form of financing that allows owner-occupied houses to be renovated towards zero-on-the-meter without using personal loans. Our model is based on ‘object based-funding’ instead of personal-based funding. This allows us to renovate an apartment complex as a whole, instead of renovating a single unit. In the ASCM, owner-occupied houses are renovated to be ‘zero on the meter’, i.e. the energy consumption of the household equals or is less than the revenue from renewable energy sources (e.g. solar panels).

The renovation will be funded through the homeowners association (HOA), while a guarantee fund is provided by the authorities (in our case the regional authorities: Province of Drenthe). This guarantee fund allows banks to provide a loan under current regulations, as the HOA itself does not hold any collateral. Home owners pay a regular fee to the HOA. As the HOA pays for the renovation of the complex, the fee paid by homeowners to the HOA will increase. This increase in so called ‘service costs’ however is balanced by a decrease in energy costs.

The selected consortium of builders who realize the renovation of the apartment complex will guarantee an agreed-upon energy performance of the building for a similar period of the time as the repayment of the loan will take. They are not only responsible for the renovation itself, but as well for maintenance and management of the building. The property owner thus exchanges the energy costs for service costs. Thus, residents live in a more comfortable and energy efficient house, while their costs remain similar, or even decrease.

A rollout of this project will have multiple positive effects. The release of capital, among other banks and pension funds, can lead to a huge boost for the construction and sustainability sector and thus for the growth of the economy. This, of course, in addition to the contribution on the objectives of CO2. Other effects are, fiscal benefits (tax revenues) and the increase of the liveability of cities. All these aspects make that there is a lot of interest from the Dutch Parliament and the European Parliament in the Asser Service Costs Model.

The ASCM pilot phase is now finished. One building was refurbished and its co-owners do not have any energy bill to pay.


Financing scheme: