NEST international - New standards for old houses international
Given the unstable energy prices, the dependency on energy imports, the deteriorating situation on the job market, but also to meet our climate protection targets, its is of utmost importance to make use of the huge potential of housing refurbishment. Real estate from the time between the wars and the post-war period shows an energy reduction potential of more than 70% and is indicated by poor technical installation.
Although policy makers are aware of the importance of housing refurbishment, in reality the rate of refurbishment is still very low (ca. 1% in Austria). Various constraints amongst the relevant building owners have not been overcome satisfactorily yet. Mostly, refurbishment is undertaken in several steps at a high degree of personal contribution, with the effect of not meeting the necessary and high levels of energy efficiency.
Due to the positive experiences from undertaken projects in the field of energy efficient- and eco-friendly refurbishment of detached houses ("New standards for old houses" and "New standards for old houses - concrete"), experienced partners form the Central European region (Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia) will network and cooperate in this project.
Contents and objectives
Aim of this project was the renovation of settlement houses as described in the "Haus der Zukunft"guideline "Neue Standards für alte Häuser". This guideline gives precise instructions of how Houses from before and the decades after war can be reconstructed. There are also numerous buildings in our neighbor countries which weren't reconstructed yet.
This networking raised awareness and affected knowledge transfer regarding thermal and energy efficient refurbishment of similar construction styles into a low energy and passive house standard. In doing so, the refurbishment potential was identified in the target countries, experiences were exchanged and information transferred. Contacts to the relevant target groups were established. The project aims were to prepare the market for energy efficient refurbishment of detached houses and to adapt the refurbishment guide "Neue Standards für alte Häuser" for the relevant building stock.
As an instrument the Renovation Guideline was revised an adopted to the local conditions. Finally it was made available in the national language and lays a basis for renovations.
Extensive renovations are not common in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic. How unfortunately still practiced in Austria, individual initiatives are set over a long period. This is caused by financial reasons on the one hand. Especially in the Czech Republic this was also caused by the subsidy system. Window replacements have been very popular, because this measure was granted up to 100%. Other more efficient measurements as an insulation of the top floor aren't as popular. This maybe has to do with prestige. Just like in Austria: photovoltaic is very popular and is simply a "must-have". Other "unspectacular" measures such as insulation cannot come close. Of particular note is that these partial refurbishments prevent a further improvement of the building. So a high quality facade is difficult to implement when just recently the windows were replaced.
This can mainly be influenced by the subsidy system. However, training and continuing education on the subject of renovation and refurbishment, like the publication of our guide that was created in the project, will contribute their part.
Know how of the acting people
Again, there are parallels to Austria. Despite years of enforced activity in our country, there are still companies that do not recommend comprehensive renovation as a goal, and partially offer insufficient insulation thicknesses. This factor is even more pronounced in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Especially the do it yourself approach is much more present. For cost reasons this is vital for some renovations.
Prospects / Suggestions for future research
Improving the energy efficiency is pressing, due to rising commodity prices and more. Even in Austria (much higher purchasing power) the renovation rate lags far behind the aim. Especially for our eastern neighbors the economic component will play an essential role. This is expected to lead to 2 effects:
- Comprehensive renovation of high quality in order to reduce long-term costs
But most of all:
- Cost-efficient building and renovation (calculated over the lifetime)
Daniel Reiterer M.A.