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Energetic renovation of residences: Definition, costs and subsidies


Shooting for the stars: Energy-efficient home design

By renovating a building to make it more energy efficient, you can reduce energy costs and make an important contribution to greater sustainability and environmental protection. For this reason, there are government subsidy offers for many refurbishment measures, which serve as an incentive to carry out energy measures. In addition, you can claim the expenses for such activities against tax. It makes sense to weigh up the costs and benefits carefully before refurbishing and to check which measures are necessary. With an individual renovation roadmap, the costs can be calculated. It is therefore advisable to consult an energy advisor, especially for complex measures.


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What does energetic renovation of buildings mean?

The main purpose of energy refurbishment is to modernize a building in order to reduce energy consumption. This is done with the help of structural measures. These can be of different nature and affect heating, hot water treatment or ventilation. What they all have in common is that they reduce C02 emissions and/or promote the use of renewable energies. Especially in times of rising energy prices, refurbishment measures of this kind take on an important role. Refurbishment for better energy efficiency is already mandatory in some cases. Energy refurbishment reduces costs, improves environmental aspects and increases the quality of living as well as the quality of life in the property.

Measures to increase your energy efficiency

If you want to renovate for energy efficiency, there are various approaches. Energy-saving measures include improving thermal insulation, which primarily affects exterior walls, basement ceilings and the roof of the house, as well as installing new heating systems or replacing old and leaky doors and windows. The installation of ventilation systems for heat recovery and for aeration and ventilation is also one of the potential measures with which you can renovate a house to make it more energy efficient. The installation of a photovoltaic system also serves to optimize energy consumption and makes property owners independent of the public electricity provider. Especially in times of rising electricity prices, this is a great incentive when it comes to planning building renovation measures.

Up to 20% of expenses used for remediation are tax deductible.

Advantages and disadvantages of energetic renovations

Compared to conventional modernization, building renovation for increasing energy efficiency has several advantages. It reduces costs, protects the environment and optimizes the living environment, as the house remains cool in summer and warm in winter. Moreover, building renovation increases the value of the property. It should be noted that the cost of energy renovation can be quite considerable. Especially if you have to renovate an old building to make it more energy-efficient, the costs can be high. Furthermore, more complex procedures are prone to errors. If an energetic roof renovation is not planned and implemented properly, this can promote mold growth in the house. The costs can be absorbed with the help of subsidies from the state. It makes sense to develop a careful renovation roadmap to demonstrate the planned activities and attach this to the grant application. Since an energy consultant must always be consulted before subsidies can be claimed, this ensures that all measures are carried out professionally, in a structured manner and with a trained eye for possible sources of error.

Good to know: GEG at a glance

According to the Gebäudeenergiegesetz (GEG), owners of existing properties are obliged in some cases to refurbish the building in terms of energy efficiency. These renovation obligations apply to various areas of building physics and building technology and exist for all permanently heated or cooled residential buildings. Property owners must pay attention to insulation measures to reduce heat loss as well as attic insulation. In addition, replacing old boilers and insulating pipes in unheated areas are among the mandatory renovation measures when it comes to energy efficiency. Also, since September 30, 2021, all central heating systems must be equipped with controllers for heat supply as well as for electric drives. Exemptions with regard to the renovation obligation exist for detached and semi-detached houses built before February 01, 2002. They are often exempt from the obligation to insulate attics, the renovation obligation to insulate pipes or the obligation to replace old boilers. However, this only applies as long as the owner of the building does not change. If such a building is purchased or inherited, the renovation obligations must be fulfilled within two years of moving in.


There are numerous governmental subsidies available for the renovation of real estate property. The subsidy is provided in the form of one-time payments or as a low-interest loan. For individual building envelope measures, heating system replacement or for the installation of a solar thermal system or gas hybrid heating, the BAFA BEG EM program provides grants covering between 20 and 55% of the total costs. Under KfW 461, a grant is available for the new construction, purchase or renovation of an efficiency house, covering between 15 and 50 % of the eligible costs. The state also offers low-interest loans for the new construction, purchase or refurbishment of efficiency houses (KfW 261) and for individual measures to insulate windows, heating systems and other building components (KfW 262).

Frequently asked questions

Written by:

Stefanie Aust, Guest Writer

Stefanie loves to put complex topics from the real estate world into understandable and inspiring words. Whether it's about the right financing, choosing the right type of flat, or a successful property search: Stefanie is happy to inform you.

Immowelt-Partner EVERESTATE GmbH

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