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Definition of important terms in the context of the REFINE project

Taking into account the fact that some of the terms that are important in the context of the REFINE project are not used in a uniform way throughout Europe, we present the following list of definitions:

Energy efficiency improvement: An increase in energy efficiency as a result of technological, behavioural and/or economic changes

Energy efficiency improvement (EEI) action or EEI measure: An action normally leading to a verifiable, measurable or estimable energy efficiency improvement

Energy efficiency improvement (EEI) investment: An EEI measure that requires the use of upfront investments, usually through the involvement of a financial institution, and regardless whether these investments are related to hardware installations or to services.

Energy Efficiency Service (EES): Agreed task or tasks designed to lead to an energy efficiency improvement and other agreed performance criteria. The EES shall include energy audit as well as identification, selection and implementation of actions and verification. A documented description of the proposed or agreed framework for the actions and the follow-up procedure shall be provided. The improvement of energy efficiency shall be measured and verified over a contractually defined period of time through contractually agreed methods [EN 15900:2010]. If the EES includes EEI investments, it may or may not include financing of these investments.

Partial services connected to EES: Services that just include parts (“components”) of the EES value chain like design and implementation (excluding verification, for example), but are designed to directly or indirectly lead to an energy efficiency improvement. If the partial EES includes EEI investments, it may or may not include financing of these investments.

EES provider: A company that offers EES to its clients. Another term frequently used in this context is ESCO (energy service company), but this term is mostly connected to the provision of energy performance contracting (EPC) or energy supply contracting (ESC), which are specific forms of EES.

Energy Performance Contracting (EPC): A comprehensive energy service package aiming at the guaranteed improvement of energy and cost efficiency of buildings or production processes. An external Energy Service Company (ESCo) carries out an individually selectable cluster of services (planning, building, operation & maintenance, (pre-) financing, user motivation …) and takes over technical and economic performance risks and guarantees. Most projects include third party financing. The services are predominantly paid out of future saved energy costs (Graz Energy Agency Ltd, 2008).

Financing Models for Market Growth: Financing Models that enable EES providers to clean up their balance sheet, thus gaining financial leeway for new projects. In many cases, these models contain a refinancing scheme.

Refinancing: In the context of the REFINE-project, we understand under this term a model, where an EES provider sells and a refinancing institution acquires receivables to be paid by an EES client, thus leading a restructuring of the initial financing set-up which may have been ensured through the EES provider’s cash flow, credit financing, leasing financing or other financial means.

Sale of receivables or sale of claims: umbrella term for any kind of receivables purchase agreements that allow a company (in our case an EES provider) to sell off the as-yet-unpaid bills or expected receivables from its customers.

Cession: In the REFINE-project, we understand cession as the legal term for the assignment of receivables.

Factoring: In the REFINE-project we use this term for a specific form of receivables purchase agreements, where short-termed receivables are sold. The non-payment risk remains with the seller.

Forfaiting: In the REFINE-project this term is used for the sale of longer-term account receivables usually without right of recourse. (widely used in export business)