With rising energy prices and international efforts to tackle climate change, improving the energy efficiency of homes is increasingly important across Europe. 

It is recognised that energy efficiency retrofit of apartments is particularly difficult, but with 43% of the European population living in them1 it is essential to find solutions.


Low Energy Apartment Futures (LEAF) was a European-wide project which looked to improve the energy efficiency of apartment blocks by removing the barriers to retrofit for people living in and managing flats. The project ran from March 2013 to March 2016 and was funded by the EU’s Intelligent Energy Europe programme and local organisations in each country; with Changeworks receiving co-funding from the City of Edinburgh Council. Changeworks co-ordinated the project working with seven other organisations in six partner countries.

Overcoming barriers

The aim of the project was to identify and overcome a number of key barriers to retrofitting these properties such as the limitations of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and difficulties associated with buildings under multiple ownership. 

During the course of the project Changeworks and the other LEAF partners worked alongside owners and managers to deliver the energy efficiency retrofit of 24 case study buildings across six European countries. The results and findings from these case studies helped us to identify the barriers and successes experienced by multi-occupancy buildings during the retrofit process.  

Developing solutions

To further support retrofit LEAF developed two toolkits for landlords and property managers which provide a step-by-step approach to retrofitting apartment blocks, incorporating a technical and an engagement toolkit.

The lessons and findings arising from the project have been used to produce a set of national and European policy recommendations. These recommendations are designed to help increase retrofit in multi-occupancy apartment buildings by reducing the barriers. 

More information about the project can be found in the final report and as a summary in the project brochure.

Partner feedback

“The project was managed with a good balance of flexibility and strong co-ordination. The open and accurate communications together with close monitoring of the progress in each partner country played a significant role in achieving the original targets of the project. It was a pleasure to work with Changeworks.” 

Zsuzsanna Király, Project Manager, Energiaklub


  1. Source: European Environment Agency (EEA) (2011)