Study: Energetic refurbishments central to climate protection and affordable housing

The researchers used sample households to calculate how ambitious energy-saving refurbishment would affect tenants financially. They show that renovations can save around 50 cents per square meter over a period of 20 years using subsidies if only the energy-related modernization costs were apportioned. M

In the best-case scenario, tenants can then already save on their rent including heating in the first year after the refurbishment. It is particularly important for low-income households that ambitious renovations are carried out in order to achieve savings and reduce the rental cost burden.

Subsidies for renovations are central for low rents including heating

“Ambitious energy-efficient building renovations are expensive. In order for tenants to really be relieved of falling heating costs, it is important that funding opportunities are used when financing the investments, because this directly reduces the levy on the tenants,” says project manager Julika Weiß, Heat expert at the IÖW.

“But so far there has been no obligation to do this and the incentives for the landlords are low with the current allocation regulations, so there is a risk that renovations will tend to put an additional burden on the tenants.”

Policy Recommendations

The researchers therefore recommend that politicians provide targeted support and demand. This means offering attractive funding programs at federal and state level and changing the approval practice in milieu protection areas in such a way that it favors rent-including-neutrality. In addition, the tenancy law should be changed in such a way that in future it will be financially advantageous for landlords to take advantage of subsidies.

In addition to funding renovations and protecting vulnerable groups, the researchers also recommend that the state of Berlin create local advisory services. Landlords and tenants should be able to easily find out about energy renovations, funding opportunities and support offers on site. This is essential for creating acceptance and improving participation.

Prevent energy poverty and high stress on tenants

“This winter shows us how quickly rising energy costs can lead to energy poverty and burden tenants,” explains Katja Schumacher from the Öko-Institut. If refurbishments are carried out in such a way that they drive up rents including heating, the situation for the households affected becomes even worse. The additional loads can be very different. Households with low incomes and already high rents are much more affected.

“So far, the social systems have not sufficiently compensated for this,” says Schumacher. “With adjustments to housing benefits and the costs of accommodation, as well as easy-to-implement hardship regulations, tenants with low incomes could be protected from such cost increases.” (gun)

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