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In order to evaluate which measures are worth doing, you must know a good deal about the condition of the property and its market potential.

Evaluating a building's condition

Here you consider aspects such as the house's energy consumption (energy index or classification according to the cantonal building energy certificate (CECB), the structural condition of the roof, facade and windows, the construction standards of the bathroom/toilet, kitchen and living spaces as well as the heating and hot-water systems. Ask yourself if the layout of the rooms and living areas corresponds to your needs and if simple modifications would be possible. In doing so, also think about the future (e.g. having children, grown children moving out, suitability for elderly living, etc.).

Energy efficiency - a term with a future

In the case of buildings which have not yet been renovated for energy efficiency, the potential for savings for heating, hot water and electricity are near 50 per cent. Studies have shown that, for example, poorly insulated exterior walls let out approximately 25 per cent of the energy, 13 per cent escapes through inadequate windows and some 17 per cent through poorly insulated roofs.

Evaluating market potential

Market potential addresses issues such as the property's site and location and whether investments would bring added value later on in case of an eventual sale. Questions to ask yourself include: Is the community attractive and have a favourable tax rate? What is the situation with noise, the view, shopping, other infrastructure and transportation? Is there perhaps the possibility to better use the buildings and property and thus increase living comfort? Tip: If the house is to be sold in the near future, investments generally won't pay off any more.

Consult building codes

Consult building codes and examine what they allow (e.g. adding a balcony, extending a rooftop room, winter garden, etc.). When insulating facades, under some circumstances you should be careful because here you must maintain prescribed minimal distances to neighbours' homes or public property, and these vary from community to community.

By the way, with the implementation of the new model energy ordinance for the cantons (MuKEn), the requirements on thermal insulation and heating systems will increase in the next few years. Careful clarification in light of planned measures helps to avoid unpleasant surprises.