Renovation of residential buildings

Who shakes it when looking at the energy costs, who either pays huge sums or sits in front of a dilapidated window. Both are not in the sense of the energy efficiency demanded by the federal government. In this regard, to achieve a solid status is accompanied by a major renovation in most residential buildings. A project that wants to be well planned. What you need to look out for and what you should know: Our guide tells you.

Energy efficiency – the goals

Energy efficiency - the goals

The desire to use less energy, thereby saving heavily and at the same time to protect the environment, should cherish every homeowner. After all, it’s about the wallet and your own four walls. This has been the attention of the Federal Government and the European Union for years. They have clear ideas about how energy consumption should change in the coming years.

With regard to residential buildings, the goal is to be largely climate-neutral by 2050. Specifically, that means in the words of the covenant:”By 2050 we want to realize a nearly climate-neutral building stock. Climate-neutral means that the buildings have only a very low energy requirement and that the remaining energy demand (reduction of primary energy demand by 80% by 2050) is predominantly covered by renewable energies. ” (2)

The Energy Saving Ordinance

The Energy Saving Ordinance

High standards such as these require a clear direction. Contributing factors include the Energy Saving Ordinance, or EnEV for short. It clearly defines the energy requirements for buildings to be constructed and existing. Clause 1 (1) of the EnEV states what it is about.

“The purpose of this regulation is to save energy in buildings. In this context, and in compliance with the legal principle of economic viability, the ordinance should contribute to achieving the federal government’s energy policy goals, in particular a virtually climate-neutral building stock by the year 2050. In addition to the provisions in the regulation, this objective should also be pursued with other instruments, in particular with a modernization offensive for buildings, incentives through the promotion policy and a rehabilitation roadmap. Within the framework of the requirements for the energy performance of low-energy buildings, which are yet to be defined, the Federal Government will also strive for a fundamental simplification and consolidation of the instruments governing the energy saving and the use of renewable energies in buildings in order to optimize the energy and economic optimization of buildings to facilitate. ” (3)

By the way, the provisions of the EnEV are not vague requests to do anything. These are specifications that must be complied with. If not, it will be expensive. The threat of punishment, if you do not carry out the energy recovery measures, goes up to a fine of 50,000 euros (4). Please note the exceptions and the time schedule for the work.

It is slow

It is slow

Despite financial incentives, progress is slow. You could call it rehabilitation jam. According to Research, less than one percent of the building stock is currently being renovated (5). In the long run, that’s not enough. Minimum would be two percent to meet the targets.

The Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau () has therefore investigated why homeowners decide for or against a refurbishment. During the talks, twelve groups of influencing factors emerged. This ranges from the feasibility over the living comfort to ecological and economic arguments.

The decision itself is based on two levels, according to . First, there is a reason – for example, repairs that are due anyway, or the legacy of a property. Stage two then forms the actual decision.”It is interesting that at this stage it is not so much a matter of rehabilitation, but how deep the rehabilitation should be.” (5)

The main costs here are the costs, the funding options, the amortization and the cost-benefit ratio. So the bottom line is the finances that decide on a refurbishment.

What does a renovation cost?

What does a renovation cost?

That money plays an important role in renovations is understandable. Because bringing a house up to the latest energy standard costs one or two euros. Vausparkasse Hall has summarized the costs for a model house from the 80s with 130 square meters of living space and 80 square meters of floor area, five rooms and one and a half floors (6):

In view of the costs, many landlords will ask themselves: Is this worth it at all? Does it make sense to take money into the hands of a literally old building in new splendor? The answer is yes.

Although the myth holds that an old building can not become an efficiency house, that is simply wrong. It is possible under optimal conditions, especially of a constructive nature, even the passive house standard. This will require a complete package with insulation, new windows and new heating (7).

These advantages offers a renovation

These advantages offers a renovation

Remains the question of the benefits and benefits of a renovation. The list is led by the energy saving, which then also has a positive effect on the costs. Again, there are estimates. It should be noted that you have to assume that every object has different requirements. In other words, concrete numbers can only be determined for specific individual cases. That’s done by energy experts. More on that later. Here is a rough overview of the possible savings (8):

To get a rough idea of ​​how long it takes for the investment in euros and cents to pay off, here’s an overview of the amortization period (9):

That in the two tables sometimes different values ​​are mentioned, is because in this area only extrapolations are possible. Who wants to have a binding statement for himself and his object, must take action and tackle the issue of remediation, at least with a first consultation.

Sample bill heating costs

To whom the data material is still too thin: Here is another calculation: The  Energy Agency (dena) has compared the energy costs for a refurbished and a renovated building. In 20 years, the heating costs in the unsanierten house amount to approximately 107,000 euros. On the other hand, if the property is completely renovated and up-to-date, the expenses will drop to 21,000 euros (10).

Indispensable: the recovery plan

Indispensable: the recovery plan

However, simply hoping for less heating and energy costs would be counterproductive. Only those who proceed in a planned manner will achieve the desired results. Planvoll means in this connection to clarify meticulously which measure should and can be executed when and in which combination. The important thing here is the order. This is what all experts point out, from architects to energy consultants. The simplest rule is simply: from outside to inside (11).

Ultimately, the exact procedure always depends on the house and your own (financial) possibilities. Nevertheless, one should pay attention to some aspects. It makes sense and logical to combine the replacement of the windows with the facade insulation. So it can be seamlessly insulated and everything fits from the beginning (12). After the insulation then the heating would come because it can be dimensioned differently due to the insulation and thus may be significantly cheaper (13).

Generally speaking, a wrong procedure not only costs time and money, but may even do more harm than good. Therefore, homeowners should always rely on professional knowledge.

Individual energy advice

If one thing has become clear in the meantime: Without a consultant, it will be difficult to restructure. The problem: Consultants cost money. His is also aware of the policy. To clear this hurdle, funding is available.

There are several contact persons. On the one hand, you can contact the consumer centers and have a detailed check made there. Or, what is recommended, you turn to an energy consultant, who takes in everything on site and devises a plan. An expert list for federal funding programs can be found.

The funding comes from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) (16). The advisory grant for one- and two-family houses is up to 800 euros. From three units up to 1,100 euros are possible. Also offered is energy planning and construction supervision. Bank will pay a maximum of 50 percent of the costs, up to 4,000 euros, through the subsidized product “Energy-efficient construction and renovation – Subsidy construction support (431)”.

The individual refurbishment timetable

The ideal basis is therefore an individual renovation timetable. According to the Energy Agency, he should “on the one hand make the results easily understandable nationwide and on the other hand support the energy consultant in the development of concepts for the step-by-step renovation and the complete renovation” (17).

For owners, such a plan has the distinct advantage of providing a viable concept based on a holistic view of the property. In addition to the first concrete measures, future perspectives are also shown.

Of particular importance to dena is the quality standard that is to be created through the individual refurbishment timetable. Equally important: “The experts take into account the ideas of the homeowner and their financial means as well as the various funding opportunities.” (18).

Grants and tax benefits

Grants and tax benefits

The conversation with an energy consultant is certainly helpful with regard to the funding opportunities. offers a number of options right away. In addition, there are tax breaks, for which one should consult with a tax consultant.

The promotion

The list of funding programs of Bank is extensive. For the heating sector alone, there are the conveyor products 151, 152, 167 and 430 (19). As a rule, the Efficiency House Standard (20) is decisive. The Efficiency House 55, for example, supports wood pellet or biomass heating, a heat pump, a solar system for WHD heating, exterior wall insulation with 18 centimeters, roof insulation with 24 centimeters and new windows with triple glazing and special frames.

The details, guidelines and possibilities should be studied in peace and discussed with the energy consultant. This is the only way to ensure that the right funding is requested. Praiseworthy: In order to have an idea of ​​the monthly costs to be expected, Bank offers a high-speed computer for energy-efficient renovation (measures 151/152) (21).

Tax benefits

You can also save on the tax. Anyone who decides on a reorganization, should cancel the bills and make sure that wages and materials are reported separately. This is important because only the labor costs and, if applicable, the travel and machine costs can be claimed for tax purposes.

The prerequisite for this is that the work is provided by a separate company directly to the owner. In addition, the invoices must be paid by bank transfer. Then, for household-related craftsman services such as work on the exterior walls 20 percent of a maximum of 6,000 euros deductible – ie 1,200 euros (22) (23).

Rental properties and property purchase

You can also enjoy the benefits of renting your property and choosing to buy and renovate a house. However, sometimes other rules and regulations apply here.


Anyone renting a house is undoubtedly interested in preserving the value. For a renovation is best suited. However, the renter must be informed at least three months in advance. The start of construction, the duration of the action and future operating costs must be stated. What measures fall under the term modernization, is clear from paragraph 555b of the Civil Code. Paragraph 559 explains the extent to which the rent may be increased (24).

House purchase

If you want to buy a house that already has a few years on its back, you have to clarify in advance whether a renovation according to the Energy Saving Ordinance is mandatory. This applies to the insulation of the top floor, the replacement of the heating, the insulation of pipes, fittings and fittings that heat in unheated rooms, as well as the creation of an energy certificate, if the house is to be rented or resold (25). Again, it is worth talking to an expert to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Renovate very practical

Renovate very practical

In the planning of rehabilitation measures should also take into account that you live for a certain time on a construction site. For those who buy a house, that is relatively easy. They move a few weeks later. If it is a house where you have lived for years, you can not help but arrange with the construction work. The most important thing is the progress of the work and that you stay on the ball.

What does that mean? If the windows are replaced or the radiators, it will dust and it will be filthy. The top priority is therefore to clean up daily and remove the coarse dirt. It is also helpful to keep the doors closed at all times and to cover the areas that are not being worked with with foil. The dust can not be completely slowed down, but kept in check.

Another tip: The renovation should be planned so that some rooms are always habitable. Here and there you may have to trick – maybe with a cooking and washing facilities. But in consultation with the craftsmen and the energy consultant, one should find a viable solution. To stay in a hotel would be conceivable, but also expensive (26).

It is important that you do not spoil your mood and think about the result: an energy-efficient home and the savings in heating costs. It is worthwhile to tackle the work in several stages or at one go. Then you sit comfortably afterwards in the warm, without shaking out of fear of the next oil or gas bill.


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