Topical Collection on Making the Energy Efficiency First Principle Operational

“Energy Efficiency First” or "Efficiency First" (E1st) is a fundamental principle applied to policymaking, planning and investment in the energy sector, which is gaining visibility in European energy and climate policy. E1st is a powerful approach to energy policy that could save families and businesses billions of euros in energy costs annually, improve energy security, and accelerate progress toward Europe’s goals for carbon reduction and a clean energy economy. Briefly described, the concept of E1st prioritizes investments in customer-side efficiency resources (including end-use and supply side energy efficiency and demand response) whenever they would cost less, or deliver more value, than investing in energy infrastructures, fuels, and supply alone. However, it is not enough to define E1st as an overarching principle; it has to be operationalized, assessed and made accessible to policy makers. Recently, several important Horizon 2020 projects have taken up the challenge to investigate in detail this principle. The Special issue draws on these projects: • The ENEFIRST project ( will help making the E1st principle more concrete and operational from definition to implementation, better understand its relevance for energy demand and supply and its broader impacts across sectors and markets, focusing on the buildings sector and the related energy systems. • The sEEnergies project ( focuses on the quantification of synergies between the E1st Principle and renewable energy systems for 2050 decarbonisation, covering buildings, transports and industry. • The ODYSSEE-MURE project ( develops an indicator approach to the EE1st principle • The SENSEI project ( enables energy efficiency to be rewarded as an energy resource and a new grid service while turning the energy efficiency retrofit project’s value into an investable asset for private financing.


  • Jean-Sébastien Broc

    Institute for a European Energy & Climate Policy

  • Vlasis Oikonomou

    Institute for a European Energy & Climate Policy IEECP, Sloterdijk Teleport Towers Kingsfordweg 151, Amsterdam 1043GR, Netherlands

  • Wolfgang Eichhammer

    1. Competence Center Energy Policy and Energy Markets, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Breslauer Str. 48, 76139 Karlsruhe, Germany 2. Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, Princetonlaan 8a, 3584 CB Utrecht, The Netherlands

  • Brian Vad Mathiesen

    Department of Development and Planning Aalborg University, A.C. Meyers Vænge 1, 2450 Copenhagen, Denmark

Articles (8 in this collection)