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Green Initiative

Energy Efficiency investment for SMEs in new Member States and pre-accession countries

What is the Green Initiative?

Support for energy efficiency projects by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in EU new Member States and pre-accession countries through:


  • EIB loans at attractive rates channelled through participating intermediaries
  • Grants from the European Commission (EC) up to 15% and EUR 150,000 of the EIB loan amount
  • Administration fees paid with EC grants to encourage intermediaries to lend for energy efficiency

Technical assistance

  • Independent experts provide technical assistance to SMEs and intermediaries to support project identification, planning and implementation.

Eligible investments

Examples of eligible investments:

  • Energy efficiency in residential and non-residential buildings (both single measure and multi-measure, major renovation)
  • Industry energy efficiency
  • Solar thermal collectors
  • Biomass boilers
  • Geothermal heat generation
  • Combined heat and power
  • Renovation of district heating systems (pipelines, generation units, substations)

Eligible investments can be on the energy demand side, improving performance of buildings, infrastructure or equipment. Renewable energy investment is eligible only as part of energy efficiency projects. Not eligible is investment in new buildings which already conform to energy efficiency standards set at country level, land purchase and real-estate investment.

Eligibility criteria

The investment cost of a project should not exceed EUR 25m and the EIB loan should not exceed EUR 12.5m. The maximum implementation period of projects should normally not exceed 3 years.

Investment projects must comply with at least one of the following criteria:

  • Building sector projects need an energy savings ratio at least 30%
  • Otherwise, an energy savings ratio of at least 20%
  • Greenhouse gas emission reduction of at least 20%

All investment must also conform to all national and EU environmental legislation.

Eligible entities

  • Autonomous SMEs with fewer than 250 employees before the planned investment and annual turnover less than EUR 50m or an annual balance-sheet total less than EUR 43m*.
  • Housing associations may be considered provided they fulfil the conditions of the Commission Recommendation on SMEs*.
  • Energy service companies implementing projects for SME end-users are eligible if the benefit of the Investment Incentive is fully passed on to the SME.

The subsidiaries or holding companies of groups with more than 250 employees are not eligible. All economic sectors are eligible except for a limited number of exclusions (see excluded activities).

For additional information, contact the Infodesk.

* Commission Recommendation (2003/361/EC) of 6 May 2003 (OJ L 124, 20 May 2003, p.36)

Related Documents
  • Green Initiative - Participating intermediaries EN