Building and apartment owners (private and public) constitute the core target group for energy savings measures in the building sector with respect to renovation measures. Programmes that aim to promote investments in the refurbishment of buildings need to address those people, companies or associations that own the buildings or are entitled to take decisions about their refurbishment. In the case of rented buildings or apartments, such programmes also need to address the tenants that are often impacted by such refurbishment measures (e.g. noise, dust) and in some countries need to accept such measures.
Building owners are a heterogeneous target group, ranging from private owners of single-family houses to large companies owning large building stocks. Multi-apartment houses with a heterogeneous ownership structure are another sub-group that raises particular challenges to successful, collective decision-making when it comes to refurbishment measures. There are many reasons why building and apartment owners may not agree or may not be motivated to conduct refurbishments that lead to energy savings in their buildings:
- Lack of knowledge about energy savings potentials
- Split incentives between building owners and tenants (user/investor dilemma): Whereas the investment has to be done by the building owner, cost savings through decreased energy demand occur at the side of the tenants. Co-benefits such as longer lifetime of a building, increased value of the property, better chances of finding residents often are not properly considered in the economic assessment.
- Unclear legal regulations on how (at least part of the) investment costs in energy savings measures can be allocated to the tenants
- Lack of financing opportunities (in order to overcome the initial cost barrier of e.g. the investment in an insulation of the building envelope or a new efficient heating system)
- Difficult decision processes in multi-apartment houses due to a large number of decision makers
- In several countries, a large share of the buildings stock is owned by elderly people who often do not accept extensive payback periods.
- Complexity of refurbishment projects: In many cases such projects require individual solutions (which makes replication of or knowledge-transfer from other projects difficult).
Energy change projects can address these issues in the following ways:
- Provide information about energy saving potentials as well as accompanying co-benefits of building renovation, e.g. increase of technical life-time and value of the property, increase in comfort (and health)
- Target building owners and residents collectively in order to achieve common decision-making and agreement on financing and split of financial benefits
- Offer ESCO, third party financing and energy performance contracting solutions
- Pay attention to possibly available public funding programmes (and time DSM programme in accordance)