The residential sector is the largest final energy consumer in Hungary. It is responsible for 30% of total national carbon dioxide emissions. The general poor condition of the building stock is increasingly being regarded as the source of social and environmental tensions, including fuel poverty concerns and unnecessarily high greenhouse gas emissions due to the inefficient use of energy. In order to address these issues the Hungarian government as well as some local authorities initiated programmes to support energy efficiency refurbishment in residential buildings after the post-socialist transition. These programmes continuously evolved over the years and in 2009, parallel to the introduction of the Green Investment Scheme, separately running programmes were merged under one overarching framework.

The presentation will start by introducing the significance of energy efficiency in climate action in the short term. It will outline the characteristics of the buildings sector in economies in transition, focusing on the Hungarian case. To demonstrate the technical potential two model projects in residential energy efficiency refurbishment are introduced. At the same time groups of barriers are identified that obstruct the realisation of the existing high, negative-cost GHG emission reduction potential in the sector. The evolving programme structure and its connection to ‘hot air’ quota sales through the Green Investment Scheme is outlined. Areas of improvement regarding the programmes are identified.