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Renovation for Energy Efficient Buildings (REBUS) project


REBUS is a European partnership project to improve energy efficiency of publicly owned buildings by exchanging best practice and experience.

The project started in April 2016 and will run until March 2021.

The project

Funded through Interreg Europe, the project is worth a total of 209,546 euros (of which 85% is funding by European Regional Development Fund, and 15% by us).

The project is led by the Resources Recovery Regional Agency (ARRR) in Tuscany and involves partners from Germany (Osterholz), Greece (Crete), Hungary (Miskolc), Poland (Krakow), Romania (Braila), Sweden (Malmo) and the UK (Durham).

Project Partner Steering Group meetings have been held approximately every six months, with each partner country taking turns to show their knowledge and experience within their area, and share learning with project partners.

Our involvement in the project

Our involvement has influenced several low carbon projects which are included in our Climate Emergency Response Plan. Over the years there have been several study visits and online meetings enabling best practice sharing and learning across the partnership, which have influenced our way of thinking, the way we operate  and contributed to the Plan.

Our overseas partners expressed an interest in learning more about the energy efficiency work that we do with local schools through the ECO2 Smart Schools Programme, a partnership between us and the Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists (OASES) Project, and the impact of the Big Switch Off campaign -  a project to manage the environmental impact of our buildings through energy and carbon management.

The ARRR adopted our Big Switch Off campaign for their work in Tuscany with building managers.

As part of the six-monthly information exchange visits, we hosted the project partners on 5 September 2018 for two days. Highlights included a welcome from our then Chairman (Councillor John Lethbridge), followed by a visit to Durham Energy Institute. In addition, we held a prize giving ceremony for  the young people and schools that invented with the new name and logo for the school's programme ECO2 Smart Schools (formerly School Carbon Reduction Programme).  

What we have achieved

We have established a very effective Local Stakeholder Group of national, regional and local organisations supporting the project and moving forward change. These include:

  • Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • Community Energy England
  • The Environment Agency
  • Coal Authority
  • North East Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Voluntary Organisations Network North East
  • Northumbrian Water
  • Durham University/ Durham Energy Institute
  • Durham Community Action
  • The Auckland Project
  • local community groups and residents

We have also:

  • contributed to the development of the Energy Renovation Pathway guidance document - a planning guide for people interested in exploring approaches to energy efficiency in buildings
  • accessed information on new alternative energy technologies, in particular to renewable heat (minewater) which has influenced new projects
  • increased the ability and understanding of staff to improve building energy efficiency
  • changed regional and national funding policy to emphasise the impact of behavioural change within energy efficiency projects
  • developed a series of low carbon projects in County Durham, which are included in the County Durham Climate Emergency Response Plan (2020-2022)
  • unlocked renewable heat opportunities across the County - we were able to visit the minewater heat project in Heerlen in the Netherlands and learn about installing major minewater heat networks

Unlocking renewable heat opportunities

This short film from REBUS partners highlights the impact that the four year project has had, specifically looking at the proposals around renewable heat sources for County Durham and the potential of minewater heat in particular.

Icon for pdf Video transcript REBUS (PDF, 88.6kb)

The final conference - 10 November 2020

The final conference was held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic and had over 100 delegates.

We showcased its work on renewable heat and the presentation was led by Cllr John Clare (our Climate Change Champion).

Each partner organisation focused on a specific element of their work and its impact through the programme. The Energy Renovation Pathway guide that all partners collectively produced was highlighted as a useful tool for organisations to develop their energy efficiency planning for funding opportunities such as the European Green Deal.

The future

We are committed to REBUS' energy and climate change activities though our Climate Emergency Response Plan, aiming to meet the carbon zero target for the whole of the County by 2050.

The REBUS project has been a key element of developing thinking and driving change. Thank you to Interreg Europe and all the partner organisations in the UK and across Europe.

EU Regional Development Fund Logo
Rebus Logo

In partnership with

  • EU Regional Development Fund
  • Rebus
Contact us
Low Carbon Economy Team
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