May 21, 2019

The “smart” way of reducing expenses!

The “smart” way to reduce costs!

The “Home Saving” program is in full force, being the only and most effective way to upgrade your home and reduce its costs. Given that the impact of the Home Savings program has been great, the Department of Energy and Climate Change extends the categories of residential housing and modifies the income categories of the beneficiaries. But let’s look at the changes we had in the past, point to point, as well as some examples of the interventions you can make at your home. It should also be stressed that during the previous period there were several delays in the process, especially in the financing. As the evidence suggests, the process is proceeding more smoothly, and the widening of eligible housing and income criteria will increase participation in the program.

In summary, the changes have occurred

According to the latest data, the Ministry has proceeded with the creation of a new income incentive scheme for beneficiaries whose individual income does not exceed € 12,000 or the family’s 20,000 euros. For them, the grant now stands at 70% and the interest-free loan is 30% of the budget. At the same time, the program was extended to all residences, irrespective of age, as the last restriction restricting the participation in the program was lifted only in houses built before 1990. Eligible residences are the total of single-family houses, apartment buildings and individual flats additional condition) located in areas with a zone price lower than or equal to 2,100 EUR / sq. m. and have been classified under the Energy Efficiency Certificate (CER) in a category less than or equal to D. The above changes include the possibility to enter vacant residences in the program as long as they have been used as a home some time during the last three years. As regards loan terms, it is now possible to spend 5 years or 6 years instead of a 4-year loan in order to increase the eligibility of loans, while at the same time the advance was increased to 40%, from 30% previously. To date, 47,000 applications have been submitted to banks, of which about half have received a loan pre-approval, and over 10,000 of them, with a total budget of 95 million, have already been submitted to the program. Also, with respect to disbursements, 4,400 applications have received a loan advance while 1,800 total disbursements. It is reminded that the “Household Saving” program involves interventions, such as placing heat insulation on the building shell including the roof / roof and the pilot. It is also possible to replace window frames and install shading systems, to upgrade the heating and hot water supply system (for example: replacement of boiler room and distribution system, solar water heater, control systems and heating autonomy etc).

Which homes can be funded?

Eligible residences are the total of single-family houses, apartment buildings and individual flats (without additional condition) that satisfy exclusively the following criteria:

  • Are located in areas with a cost price lower than or equal to 2,100 € / square metres.
  • Have been classified under the Energy Efficiency Certificate (EEP) in a category less than or equal to D.
  • There is no limitation on the number of properties per citizen, while in apartment buildings those who do not wish to join the program may participate in equity.
  • Also included are vacant apartments that have been inhabited within the last three years.

Who can join the program

– With what incentives? As mentioned above, it is possible to obtain a 4/5/6 year loan, with or without guarantor, without mortgage, possibility of immediate repayment of the loan without charges, as well as repayment of the suppliers / contractors through the bank without the involvement of the citizen. An advance payment of 40% of the application budget is made subject to the program. Energy audits (pre- and post-interventions), the cost of which is 100% covered by the Program after the successful implementation of the project, are required to join the Program. Additionally, costs for consultant fees are covered up to € 250 without VAT.

What kind of work can I fund?

Interventions to be eligible under the Program should be based on the recommendations of the Energy Auditor of the Building during the energy audit process and concern only the following categories:

  • Replacement of frames ( framework, glass panes ) and installation of shading systems: Due to the requirement of the energy upgrade program, intervention is mainly, but not exclusively, in double-glazed thermo-insulated / thermo-interrupted windows. It is also possible to change the glass pane only, provided that energy upgrading is achieved. It is also eligible to replace a front door in a detached house and staircase and lumber frames in a block of flats. However, it does not include “openings” to the inside of the building whether or not heated (for example apartment door). This category also includes the installation of external shades and movable guard covers in the openings (shutters, rolls).
  • Insertion of thermal insulation in the building shell including the roof / roof and the pilot: In this category, it is also possible to install internal thermal insulation when the installation of external thermal insulation is technically impossible or not allowed by the applicable legislation (for example : listed buildings, settlements).
  • Upgrading the heating system and hot water supply system: This category is eligible:

– Installing a new or replacing a burner and / or boiler system with a new oil or gas system (central or individual) or a system primarily operated by the use of a renewable energy source, such as a biomass burner , heat pumps, solar thermal systems, etc.) or a high-efficiency CHP system. Installation / replacement refers to the electromechanical equipment of the boiler plant as a whole and to the distribution network (automation, circulators, chimney, pipe replacement or insulation, etc.). Expenditure on oil tank and heat output terminal units (radiators, underfloor systems, etc.) is not eligible.

– Installation of automatic control devices for the operation of the heating system, such as timers, compensation and / or hydraulic balancing automation for the adjustment of partial loads (three or four-way electric valves, pump speed regulators, etc.), space thermostats, thermostatic radiator heads, etc. ., including calorimetry systems for the allocation of heating costs.

– Installation of solar systems for the supply of hot water (collector, water storage tank, support, piping, etc).

Especially in the case of a proposed replacement of a burner / oil boiler with new technology, the need for change over maintenance or chemical cleaning ( for example, in the case of a replacement burner / oil boiler) should be based on their characteristics and the results of the exhaust gas analysis. (For example a boiler that has suffered irreparable damage). In addition, the above mentioned costs for specific interventions include any additional necessary work for the complete implementation of the intervention such as scaffolding, coatings, microstructures for restoration of the appearance of the intervening element, demolitions and demolitions, screens, sloping slopes, waterproofing, necessary work and interventions for the proper operation / behavior of the thermal insulation, necessary interventions on the roof (for example replacement of tiles), etc. The labor costs, including any required  ΙΚΑ insurance (social security institute) contributions for construction work, which, under the applicable legislation (non-occupied occupations), are borned by the Program Beneficiary as “Project Owner”.

Cost example

Implementation of the interventions does not require authorization, or even approval of small-scale construction works, except in very specific cases. The maximum eligible budget for interventions, including VAT. May not exceed € 15,000 per property (in each case the costs paid by the energy auditor are paid and the project advisor is paid). For example, a citizen with a family income of € 35,000 for a € 10,000 budgeting work, takes out a 5 year loan in June 2012 of € 6,500 and receives the remaining € 3,500 grant. The installment of his loan is about 110 €, while the interest to be paid for the period 1/1/2016 -1/7/2017 is about 80 €.

What we gain from the energy upgrade

The expected energy, environmental and social benefits after completing the program are:

  • Energy savings of about 1 billion kWh per year.
  • Raising awareness of the rational use of energy and protecting the environment.
  • Upgrading living conditions in buildings and cities and improving the everyday life of the citizen.
  • Upgrading urban environment.

Interventions in practice

Replacement of glass panes with Energy Low – e Thermal losses in a building account for 35% of the windows. If we want to upgrade our building and make it more energy efficient, the first step is to replace the windows and window frames. The new, low-emitting glass panels have the ability to keep the heat inside the building in winter and protect it from heat in the summer. Low-E energy glass is transparent and has a coating of tiny metallic oxides on one side. This coating does not allow the transfer of heat from the interior of the house to the outside environment or vice versa. Low – e glasses are never used as single but always as part of double or triple glazing. Energy glasses reflect infrared sunlight while allowing visible light to penetrate them. As a result, our space is kept cool in the summer by reducing its cooling costs. At the same time, Low – e glasses maximize the beneficial energy of the sun. Light is absorbed by all surfaces and converted into heat inside the building. The heat transferred to the room is reflected by the energy glazing inside the building again so that it does not escape, thus reducing the heating costs.

That is, by installing energy glazing we protect the building from unwanted heat in the summer months but keep it indoors in the winter. Our space is kept at the temperature we want without loss and greatly reducing our expenses. The replacement of 15 square meters of vitrified glass with energy costs from 1,000 to 1,500 euros in total, without the cost of installation, and if we calculate the reduced heating and cooling costs that are achieved, the depreciation is about 2 years. The indicators to be taken into account when selecting glass panes are “U Value”, “Solar factor g” and “Light transmission” (LT). The index “U” is the coefficient of thermal conductivity and its value must be minimized. Solar g is the solar factor, its value indicates the percentage of solar flux passing through the glass, and it must also be minimized in our country due to the very hot summers. “Light Transmission” indicates the optical permeability, the light passing through the building and its value must be maximized. For best performance and greater energy savings, we need low U and g gauges and a high LT index.

Replacement of thermo-shuttered windows

The “Home Saving” program also subsidizes the replacement of window frames and is essentially concerned with the replacement of the frames with new heat-shrinking and double glazing, due to the energy requirements of the program. Thermal breakage protects the cabinet from temperature fluctuations, metal moistening, prevents water flow, and in combination with double or energy glazing is the best insulation for our windows. Thermal cut is essentially the placement between the inner and outer aluminum profiles of a material that is a “bad” heat conductor. This material is usually polyamide, which has very low conductivity and is a very hard material contributing to the durability of the frame. Thermally shuttered windows provide significant benefits in saving energy and money. They reduce heating needs in the winter as the heat transfer from the inside to the exterior of the building decreases and the needs for air conditioning in the summer are also reduced. Their cost may exceed that of conventional window frames by about 20%, but damping is immediate due to reduced heating and cooling costs. In addition, the building itself is protected from various damage due to weather conditions.

Mounting of fixed or movable shades

Shades in a building also play a very important role. Mobile or fixed protect the building from the sun and do not let it overheat, reducing the energy required to cool the building. Specifically, the south face of a building presents the advantage, with the correct placement of a shelter, to protect it in the summer but to collect the desired heat in the winter as the sun is lower. Movable shades are the best solution for the eastern and western sides, so they can open in winter and close in the summer. However, the shades to be placed must meet certain requirements. In addition to sun protection, natural lighting, ventilation and viewing should be avoided. Especially on the east and west side of the building, where the sun is low and its rays reach deep into the building, a very careful choice of shade should be made.

Thermal insulation installation

If our building is not well insulated it is easy enough to understand. The walls are cold in winter, as do the floors, the heating cost is too long and there is no uniform temperature inside the house. Respectively, in the summer the air inside the building is hot and the air conditioner is constantly on. If the building has a roof, its thermal insulation is compulsory, although the rest of the building is optional. Especially in buildings built before 1979, before the implementation of the thermal insulation regulation, energy losses are enormous. But even in new constructions, insulation often does not suffice, as many elements of the building, mainly of concrete, remain intact. Incomplete thermal insulation in addition to high energy consumption also creates worse living conditions for building users. Proper insulation protects against cold, heat and humidity and oil consumption can be reduced by up to 40%, reducing heating costs and protecting the environment. In cases where external thermal insulation can not be installed, such as in listed buildings, the Home Saving program subsidizes internal placement.

7 Steps to Participate in the Program

  1. Every citizen wishing to participate in the program must check that his property meets the requirements and whether his income meets the requirements mentioned above.
  2. Subsequently, the necessary pre-approval of the loan will be obtained from the bank that will choose (Alpha Bank, Eurobank, Piraeus Bank, National Bank). Thus, the bank will consider whether you can meet the loan obligations based on your income and other financial obligations. The necessary supporting documents for the pre-approval are summarized as follows:
  • Police ID or Passport in effect
  • Proof of income and
  1. A) For employees / pensioners: last year’s statement or, if not received, a tax return (Form E1) of the last financial year
  2. B) For employees: last salary receipt or official (not manuscript) certificate of salary from the company’s accounting department
  3. C) For pensioners: quarterly pension settlement or the last pension payment cut.
  4. D) For freelancers / entrepreneurs:

– Clearance notes 2 years ago.

– Documents for the last two financial years showing the turnover of an individual enterprise

  1. E) For Farmers-Farmers: Clearance memo and tax return (Form E1) of the last financial year.
  2. The interested party shall invite an energy inspector to carry out an energy audit to determine the energy class of the dwelling, the proposed interventions to achieve the program’s energy target and the savings to be achieved (the cost of the interventions shall be according to the offers to be received by industry professionals).
  3. The interested party submits the relevant application together with the necessary supporting documents to the contracting bank, which are the following: • Decision of the General Assembly of the apartment building (Co-Owners’ Decision) for the consent of the co-owners in the requested interventions (where appropriate)
  • Identity Card Copy
  • Building License or other similar legitimisation document
  • Corresponding Declaration N.1599 / 1986 of joint property
  • EFTA or DOI certificate for the Zone Price
  • Income Tax Clearance of the previous fiscal year
  • Income tax return copy of the previous financial year
  • A copy of the Property Statement (E9) of the previous fiscal year
  • Energy Efficiency Certificate (PPE)
  • Intervention Proposal Form
  • Financial offers of contractors-suppliers (submission of bids to the co-operating bank at the application stage is not mandatory).
  1. Signing a loan agreement and receiving an advance of 30% of the eligible budget on the basis of the bids given.
  2. Implementation of interventions and second energy audit
  3. Completion of disbursement. For this step, the interested party will have to provide the cost statements and the certificate of the second energy audit.

Energy performance certificate and energy inspections

As mentioned above, the Home Savings program is directly linked to energy audits and energy performance certificates. Let’s look at this point, the details of the SMP and, more generally, energy audits, even though their costs are subsidized within the program. The minimum prices-cost (a) for multi-apartment buildings, where the inspection concerns the entire building, the fee is set at EUR 1 / square metres of the building and may not be less than EUR 200.

(b) for multi-apartment buildings, where the inspection concerns a part of a building (individual apartment), the fee is set at EUR 2 / sqm and may not be less than EUR 150

  1. c) for a single house the fee is set at 1,5 EUR / sqm. of the building and may not be less than EUR 200 For the determination of the final minimum wage, the Value Added Tax (VAT) must be included.

The aforementioned fees are covered by the program at a rate of 100% provided the application is submitted and the energy targets set in it are achieved.

 Building Energy Performance Regulation

The rapid change of the country’s energy policy and compliance with EU requirements has led, among other things, to the adoption of the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulation. The regulation is something like “energy identity”. Its purpose is to upgrade the country’s energy buildings by promoting some interventions to make them more environmentally friendly and less damaging to their maintenance. KEN.AK is not only necessary in new constructions, having replaced the heat insulation study but also the existing ones that are to be exploited. Each apartment / building to be built, rented or sold needs to have its “energy identity”: the “Energy Performance Certificate of a Building” for the existing constructions to be exploited and the “Energy Performance of Buildings Study” building permit in new buildings. The Energy Performance Certificate applies to all buildings with a total surface area of ​​more than 50 m². and in all buildings of the public and wider public sector. It includes, inter alia, the results of the energy inspector’s assessment and recommendations for improving the energy performance of the building so that consumers can compare and assess their actual consumption and potential for improving energy efficiency. Issuing the certificate is mandatory.

How is the energy inspection done?

The inspector is an important tool for diagnosing the energy situation of existing buildings and the potential for improvement, which is achieved through the inspection of the building and its classification in Energy Class. The categories are as follows: A +, A, B +, B, C, D, E, G and H. All new studies will be mandatory to be evaluated in energy efficiency class B and above. Existing studies will be extremely difficult to evaluate in Category B unless they receive interventions before being evaluated.