What does our expert say?

The main points in a nutshell

  • Climate-friendly renovation offers you an opportunity to contribute to slowing down climate change and preserve the value of a property.
  • Through a combination of subsidies, tax deductions, and discounted mortgages, energy renovations can be worthwhile and lower your costs in the long run.
  • An energy-efficient renovation can be complex. It pays to take a structured approach and consult with experts.

Why is it important to carry out private renovations in a climate-friendly way? Will it really make a difference?

Buildings in Switzerland are responsible for over 40 percent of national energy consumption and around a quarter of total CO₂ emissions. Energy experts see enormous potential for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in older buildings that have not been retrofitted to be more energy efficient. The biggest levers are the improved insulation of facades, roofs and windows as well as the replacement of oil, gas and electric heating with climate-friendly heating systems such as heat pumps or pellet heating systems. This combination results in buildings needing less heating, and the energy required is produced in an environmentally friendly way.

An energy-efficient renovation can be complex. What tips do you have for developers?

At UBS, we have worked with experts from the federal government and the private sector to develop a guideline with checklists, instructions and advice to help with this. I personally am someone who likes to do as much as possible myself. However, in the course of putting together our guide I realized: you should not take on a project like this without the right expertise. And by that I mean not only financing experts from the bank, which offers a renovation mortgage, but above all energy planners or architects who will accompany you through the various processes of an energy-efficient renovation. In principle, practically every house can be adapted for sustainability and environmental friendliness, and there are subsidies that are not difficult to obtain – if you know how.

Is a climate-friendly renovation also worth it financially?

If a home is getting on in years or you still are running a fossil-fuel heating system, a renovation is probably worthwhile not only from an ecological point of view, but also a financial one. Savings on heating costs thanks to better insulation are just one example. In addition, since 2010, the federal government and cantons have offered financial incentives to promote energy-efficient renovations, but banks can also lend a hand. And it should not be forgotten that the resale value of renovated properties increases, which can benefit heirs, for example. Increased value, climate-friendliness and the interests of subsequent generations are not mutually exclusive, but complement each other.

The most important aspects of a climate-friendly renovation

How exactly do I carry out a climate-friendly renovation?

An energy-efficient renovation should be well planned. That is why we have put together a six-step guide. If you plan according to these points, you can get a good overview in advance and define the expected framework:

  1. Determine your needs and preferences
  2. Understand your options
  3. Involve experts
  4. Draw up a renovation plan
  5. Get a mortgage, permits and subsidies
  6. Carry out building work

Where can I find more information?

You can find useful information and concrete tips in our publication “Climate-friendly renovation.” I can strongly recommend this as a guide on how to proceed with climate-friendly, energy-efficient renovations. The focus is on single-family homes. We have integrated the knowledge of energy experts, architects, builders, and specialists from the relevant federal authorities.

Find out even more about the topic in our expert interview with Olivier Brenner, Deputy Secretary General of the Conference of Cantonal Energy Directors at https://www.ubs.com/interview-brenner. You can find interesting information about sustainability on the NZZ “Sustainable Switzerland” platform.

“Climate-friendly renovation” guide

Do you want to optimize the energy efficiency of your home, but don’t know how to proceed or where best to start? You can find all the information you need on energy-efficient renovation of properties, costs and subsidies in “Climate-friendly renovation – a guide in six steps”.

About our expert: Dr. Veronica Weisser is an economist and fellow at the UBS Sustainability and Impact Institute, and lives with her family in an apartment that is being renovated to make it more energy efficient.

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