e5-programme for energy-efficient communities

e5 supports communities that want to contribute to a sustainable energy policy and urban development through the rational use of energy and an increased use of renewable energy.

e5 is an energy efficiency and climate protection programme successfully acting on local level. It is a certification and quality management system for communities enabling participants to improve their communal energy efficiency and to increase the utilisation of renewable energy. e5 consists of a quality management system for communal energy-related services and activities as well as certification and award for energy-related achievements.

e5 - a strategy for climate protection and energy efficiency

The target of the e5 programme is the identification of energy saving potentials within a community and the realisation, documentation and evaluation of the saving measures. Therefore a communal action programme is developed and adapted annually. All energy-related fields of municipalities (six energy areas: development & spatial planning, buildings & facilities, mobility, energy supply & disposal, internal organisation, communication & co-operation) are considered. Internal structures, suitable for steering the process including all relevant players in the community (politics, administration, citizens, enterprises etc.) are set up.

The success of a community is measured in “e”, the number of “e” representing the amount of energy measures implemented in the community. The community can apply for certification through external audit.

e5 is a process for several years

The best communities achieve up to “eeeee”, corresponding to 75 % of all possible energy measures. e5 correlates with the European system European Energy Award®. The Austrian certification "eee" (50 % of all possible points) is the equivalent of the European Energy Award® and the level “eeeee” corresponds to the European Energy Award® Gold. The European Energy Award® Gold can be seen as the European Champion League of energy efficiency.
Steps in the e5 programme
e5 steps

The energy profile of a community

The most important tool is the e5-catalogue which is a standardized set of 84 possible measures in six energy areas. It is used as an assessment tool during the consulting process as well as during the auditing process. Each measure is described in the catalogue in detail, the auditor evaluates the community's progress within each measure. Thereby the community progresses in many areas at the same time constantly evolving from a “normal” community into a best-practise example for other communities.

The catalogue is also an important document for the communal energy team. The team can use the catalogue as a check list for energy reviews. The catalogue is a catalyst for the improvement of the community as the community always sees the gap between the measures undertaken and potential measures. Therefore it acts as a guide towards the ideal community in energy terms. Results are represented with the energy profile. It shows the percentage of realisation in each specific area, thereby represents a visualisation of strengths and weaknesses found during the audit process.

The exemplary energy profile of e5 community
energy profile

Benefit of e5 for communities


  • supports communities in identifying potentials and setting energy goals
  • consults decision makers in taking the right actions to reach these goals
  • provides tools and standards for improved implementation of projects and measures
  • motivates communities and creates a positive competition between communities
  • helps the communities to network and share experiences
  • supports collaboration between neighbouring communities
  • measures the success of communities and makes it public 

e5-communities in Austria

e5 was established in 1998. Currently more than 200 Austrian communities are participating in the e5 programme. 7 of the 9 Austrian provinces offer e5 for their communities, these are Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Salzburg, Carinthia, Styria, Lower Austria and Burgenland.
The Salzburg Institute for regional planning and housing (SIR) coordinates and supports the communities in Salzburg.

For further information please contact the team of SIR or see www.e5-gemeinden.at or www.european-energy-award.org.