Sustainable renovations pay off

Rising energy costs and climate change increasingly bring up questions about the design and condition of exterior walls, windows, attic areas and heating systems with regard to thermal insulation and issues of carbon emissions. That's why climate-friendly renovations are «in». They're worthwhile from many perspectives.

Cut expenses, improve market value

With sustainable construction you can pay attention to ecological compatibility, resource-efficient systems as well as high comfort for the inhabitants, all at the same time while reducing energy consumption. The somewhat higher construction expenses are quickly offset by savings in heating and maintenance costs.

In addition, property with a higher level of ecological quality maintains its market value better over the long run. You can find more information at www.dasgebaeudeprogramm.chwww.endk.ch and www.minergie.ch.

Promotional programs, favourable mortgage rates

With a bit of luck, you can profit from special promotional programs or subsidies. The web site www.energiefranken.ch provides a good overview. After entering the postcode for a building's location you can learn about all the applicable energy programs at the federal, cantonal and local level along with information from the regional electricity and gas companies.

Banks also support this concept in that they provide somewhat more favourable mortgage rates for climate-friendly construction or renovations.

Energy assessment - a must

Before you embark on an energy-efficient renovation, however, you must determine the source of the energy losses and how to address them. For this you need some expert advice. You can find names and contact information at your community's building authorities or at www.geak.ch.

In some cantons and communities, building assessments are conducted at reduced rates. Above all, don't invest a single Swiss franc before you have a comprehensive consultation.