­Energy efficiency in awarding public contracts

The public sector is a major purchaser of goods and services in Finland, with the value of public procurement contracts amounting to approximately EUR 20–30 million a year. As a major player, the public sector has the opportunity to influence the supply by directing the demand.

Public contracts have a significant impact on the life-cycle energy consumption of goods and services. The Act on Public Contracts encourages contracting authorities to take environmental considerations into account. Energy efficiency is a highly suitable procurement criterion alongside price and other grounds.

According to the Energy Efficiency Directive, central governments can, under certain conditions, purchase only products, services and buildings that meet the energy efficiency requirements laid down by EU legislation, such as the Energy Labelling Directive, the Ecodesign Directive and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, and the Energy Star Programme. Local and regional public sector operators are also encouraged to pursue energy efficiency in public procurement.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has issued guidelines on energy efficiency in public procurement. The aim is to instruct State authorities, municipalities and other organisations to take into account measures that promote energy efficiency. Private sector operators, too, can apply the guidelines.

Requirements for energy efficiency in public procurement are also included in the Government Resolution on the promotion of sustainable environmental and energy solutions (cleantech solutions) in public procurement, issued on 13 June 2013.

Further information: timo.ritonummi(at)tem.fi