New EU energy rules require 20,000 euro upgrade to older homes

The average cost of upgrading the energy performance of an older apartment will set homeowners back between 15,000 to 20,000 euros, experts estimate, as the European Commission puts the final touches to directives targeting the green renovation of homes.

In a bid to meet tougher energy rules, Greek home owners will be hit with between 15 to 20 euros per square meter for a 100 square meter apartment, according to figures cited by daily Kathimerini.

The upgrade work includes insulating homes from hot and cold weather, placing energy efficient window and door frames and installing solar power hot water systems.

Nearly one third of the stock of Greek homes, amounting to 1 million properties, are estimated to be in need of an energy upgrade, having been constructed before 1980, when heating insulation regulations were introduced.

The changes are in line with the European Commission's proposal to align the rules for the energy performance of buildings with the European Green Deal and decarbonise the region's building stock by 2050.

This will facilitate the renovation of homes, schools, hospitals, offices and other buildings across Europe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy bills.

Buildings are the single largest energy consumer in Europe, using 40% of our energy, and creating 36% of our greenhouse gas emissions. That is because most buildings in the EU are not energy efficient and are still mostly powered by fossil fuels,” according to Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson.

“We need to do something about this urgently, as over 85% of today's buildings will still be standing in 2050, when Europe must be climate neutral. Improving our homes is also an effective response to high energy prices – the worst-performing buildings in the EU consume many times more energy as new or properly renovated ones. And it's often the most vulnerable who live in the least efficient houses and therefore struggle to pay the bills. Renovation reduces both the energy footprint of buildings and the energy costs for households, while also boosting economic activity and job creation," the commissioner added.