Most houses in the Czech Republic are in need of renovation. The Union has determined when it wants them to be emission-free

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By 2050, almost no building in the Czech Republic or in the European Union should produce emissions. Only historical buildings will be exempted. This is required by the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which was approved by the European Parliament in March as part of the Fit for 55 package.

However, the term zero-emission building can be confusing. It does not refer so much to the production of emissions, but above all to the consumption of energy. “Having a well-insulated building that minimizes energy needs for heating and cooling is key to achieving this. Reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions go hand in hand,” explains architect and director of the Association of Mineral Insulation Manufacturers (AVMI) Marcela Kubů.

According to the European Union, the motivation for creating these measures was the fact that buildings account for 40% of energy consumption and have a 36% share in the consumption of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

In the Czech Republic, the directive is dealt with by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Seznam Zprava approached him with questions, but the department did not answer them even after a week.

The Czech Republic must speed up threefold

The directive sets partial targets that will gradually lead to a complete reduction of emissions produced by buildings. Starting in 2027, all newly constructed state buildings will have to be emission-free. Family houses and all other new buildings must meet the criteria from 2030.

By then, all residential buildings are to be renovated so that their average energy consumption is reduced by 16 percent. In 2035, the requirement will become stricter and the decrease in energy consumption will have to reach 20 to 22 percent. Up to 55 percent of this goal is to ensure the modification of the least economical buildings, which make up 43 percent of all buildings.

By the middle of the century, all buildings must be renovated so that their production of emissions is zero.

The Czech Republic is thus awaiting a revolution in the area of ​​renovation buildings in the coming years. The buildings that use the least energy are built so that their energy consumption is as low as possible.

“First of all, it must have a very well-insulated building envelope, i.e. the facade, roof and floors, so that the need for energy for heating is as low as possible. It is then not problematic to cover it with an environmentally friendly resource. It does not only concern energy consumption for heating, but also cooling during the hot months,” explains Kubů.

However, the majority of residential buildings in the Czech Republic do not currently meet the requirements of the directive, which is also related to the age of the local housing stock. According to the AVMI, in the category of properties built before 1980, only 40 percent of apartment buildings out of a total number of 156,000 are comprehensively insulated. 46 percent have undergone only partial insulation, most often in the form of replacement windows. The remaining 14 percent are not insulated at all.

For the Czech Republic, this means accelerating the renovation pace threefold and also focusing on the complexity and quality of renovations.

Marcela Kubů, director of the Association of Mineral Insulation Manufacturers

Domestic family houses that were built before 1980 are even more energy-demanding. Among them, according to the analysis by Zateplojeme Česko, only a quarter are comprehensively insulated. In half of the apartment buildings, only minor investments were made, e.g. in new windows. Thus, 700,000 more family houses await complex renovation.

“For the Czech Republic, this means speeding up the renovation pace threefold and also focusing on the complexity and quality of renovations. The first thing is to reduce the energy demand of the building by means of insulation, and then supplement or replace the energy source with a so-called emission-free one,” says Kubů.

It won’t be cheap

According to the director of AVMI, the ambitious goal will only be possible to achieve with the support of the public. “A substantial part of the public would prefer to do nothing and demand that the government reduce energy prices. This is a completely unrealistic demand, essentially unfulfillable in practice, which is all the more attractive to some populist politicians. They may tend to promise various energy subsidies and benefits for people who don’t want to do anything,” he thinks.

An emission-free building is also determined by the type of energy it consumes. The need should be covered from renewable sources, if possible, as well as from own production, e.g. thanks to a solar power plant, heat pump or biomass.

“Or it will be energy from renewable sources provided by energy communities or central heating and cooling based on renewable sources or waste heat,” says Martin Bursík, chief advisor of the Chamber of Renewable Energy Sources.

Around 2050, photovoltaics will be on almost all buildings that technically allow it.

Aleš Hradecky, chairman of the Accumulation and Photovoltaics Guild

In the previous two years, the Czech Republic experienced a solar revolution, when power plants with a capacity of 1.2 GW were installed. “As the purchasing power of households increases and the state continues to optimize subsidy programs, I estimate that the photovoltaic market will continue to grow. Around 2050, photovoltaics will be on almost all buildings that technically make it possible,” says Aleš Hradecky, chairman of the Accumulation and Photovoltaics Guild.

Although the insulation of buildings and their low energy consumption due to their own resources are the main way to meet European requirements, the document also emphasizes the reduction of emissions from other activities.

“Construction will also be decarbonised. The directive targets the entire life cycle of the building, i.e. also building materials and their recycling. And also on the equipment of buildings, for example, so that they are ready to enable two-way recharging of electric cars for electromobility and provide parking for bikes,” explains Bursík.

The directive also considers emissions from heating with fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas. Europe has set the end of these sources for 2040. They should be replaced by renewable sources, heat pumps or biomass.

“Over a million households use wood for heating, hot water preparation or cooking, and storage tile stoves are at the imaginary peak of these resources,” says Libor Soukup, president of the Guild of Stove Burners of the Czech Republic.

Renovations that the housing stock has to go through, but they don’t come cheap. The price of insulating the house envelope varies, depending on the type of material, from approximately 500 to 1,500 CZK/m2. In the case of a single-family house, the costs of comprehensive insulation thus reach an average of half a million crowns without subsidy. The price of a domestic photovoltaic power plant is then around 400,000. The Czech Republic would regularly spend billions on renovations in the coming years.

You can get a subsidy from the New Green Savings program, which can cover up to half of the costs, both for the insulation of the house and for the acquisition of PV plants or replacement of windows. Households can also finance similar measures from the New Green Savings Light or Repair the house after grandma subsidy tools.

For the most part, these programs cover revenues from emission allowances, which, however, are unknown for the coming years, as they change depending on the allowance price. It is also not clear how many funds will be allocated to individual programs in the coming years. However, the Union is clear that revenues from allowances are to help finance decarbonisation projects.

The directive would have a positive impact on the quality of housing in the Czech Republic. “It motivates the renovation of existing uneconomical buildings, which would be difficult to heat and operate in the future, and also advances the standards for the construction of new buildings,” explains the director of AVMI Kubů.

Renovation and modernization will increase living comfort and quality of life for residents of both family and apartment buildings. “This is most evident in rental housing, where people pay high rents even for a completely inadequate housing standard,” explains Pavel Zemene from the EPS CR Association.

However, Kubů does not expect that the renovation would have an impact in the form of a sharp increase in rents. “Financing can be spread over time, and mainly any increase will be compensated by a reduction in energy payments,” he assumes.

According to the AVMI, higher pressure on building insulation will not affect the price of building materials, especially insulating ones. Their prices have stabilized at the moment and there are plenty of them on the market. The market for photovoltaics and heat pumps also calmed down, when demand stabilized after fluctuations in previous years, and with it, prices. According to Hradecký, there is no shortage of assembly capacities or components for solar power plants.

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The article is in Czech

Tags: houses Czech Republic renovation Union determined emissionfree

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