Energy renovation – what, why and how?

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The heating costs and carbon footprint of dwellings can be reduced by improving their energy efficiency. Energy-efficient buildings consume less energy, thus generating less emissions. The best thing is that improving energy efficiency also reduces living expenses.

What are energy renovations?

Energy renovations are renovations that involve improving the energy efficiency of the building and/or adopting new, renewable energy sources in the building. Energy renovations are typically a combination of various measures.

For blocks of flats, energy renovations can mean the adoption of geothermal heating systems or the installation of a heat recovery system, for example. This kind of energy renovations can be carried out even between major renovations as they are often beneficial as is, and the dwelling can continue to be used as normal during an energy renovation.

In some cases waiting for the next major renovations can be a more cost-efficient option. Ideally, the planning of major renovations should always include a review of the possibility of improving the thermal insulation of windows, the roof and facades.

Why is it beneficial to carry out energy renovations?

Energy renovations are worth carrying out because they benefit homeowners. The energy efficiency of nearly all blocks of flats in Helsinki can be improved in a financially viable manner.

In blocks of flats, energy renovations can potentially cut heating costs by as much as half. This translates to a significant decrease in the maintenance charge and living expenses as well as savings over time, as heating is the single largest expense item of housing companies. Energy renovations also have a positive impact on the value of dwellings.

Some energy renovations also improve comfort of living. Improving the thermal insulation of windows and walls and making ventilation more efficient means that you no longer have to endure excessively hot or cold indoor temperatures or draughts at home.

What do energy renovations cost?

The cost of energy renovations depends on the type or scope of the work. Often energy renovations can be carried out in a company charge-neutral manner, i.e. by funding the entire works with the resulting savings, which means that the company charge (yhtiövastike) does not need to be increased at any point due to the renovations. In other words, at best energy renovations can feel practically free, and will eventually start generating savings. Typically the payback period for a big energy renovation in a block of flats is 10 – 15 years. Smaller renovations have shorter payback periods.

In some cases energy renovations can also be funded with complementary building, for example. The funding options available are constantly growing more varied.

Right now is a good time to look into the possibility of carrying out energy renovations, as the state (ARA) will be granting energy subsidies for them until 2022. Housing companies can be granted EUR 4,000–6,000 per dwelling in subsidies for carrying out energy renovations.

Are energy renovations a major climate action?

Yes! Energy renovations are the most effective climate action that a housing company can take. The energy consumption of buildings is the single largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in Helsinki, and improving the energy efficiency of old residential buildings is vital if Finland is to achieve its goals in mitigating climate changes. The energy consumption of dwellings and other buildings accounts for over half of Helsinki’s total carbon dioxide emissions. This is why the City is also encouraging private property owners to improve their energy efficiency.

What kind of housing companies benefit from energy renovations?

Energy renovations can benefit all kinds of housing companies. The financial benefits are greatest for blocks of flats that were built before the 21st century. In Helsinki, there are a total of approximately 260,000 dwellings in such blocks of flats.

What kind of help is available for energy renovations?

To make it easier for housing companies in Helsinki to carry out energy renovations, the City is offering concrete help for them. The Energy Renaissance team established under the City of Helsinki’s Building Control Services provides housing companies with impartial support in all the planning stages of energy renovations.

The services of the Energy Renaissance team are aimed at residential blocks of flats. The team’s experts can participate in a housing company’s meetings and help the housing company’s board of directors prepare invitations to tender and evaluate tenders, for example. Read more about the services of the Energy Renaissance team »

For single-family houses, energy advice is provided in Finnish by HSY. Motiva’s website has advice for housing companies and tips on other parties that provide advice.

There is also significant financial support available for energy renovations. The state (ARA) will be granting energy subsidies for renovation projects that improve the energy efficiency of residential buildings until 2022. Housing companies can be granted EUR 4,000–6,000 per dwelling in subsidies.

How do you start energy renovations?

We have compiled useful tips for homeowners and housing companies on how to facilitate energy renovations. The first step towards smart and financially viable renovations is the commissioning of an energy efficiency survey. Commissioning an energy efficiency survey does not impose any binding obligations on the housing company; it simply provides information on what kind of energy renovation would be effective.

Did you not find the information that you were looking for? You can request more information from the City’s Energy Renaissance team »

Information for housing companies

Contact an energy expert

Submit a proposal to your housing company

Material for energy renovation