Fifth Learning Event, 16th of March 2023. Summary of presentations

How to Accelerate Energy Efficiency Investments in the Multi Family Building Sector

Focus on unlocking the potential of energy efficiency investments in the multifamily housing stock in Germany and Poland

The German-Polish Duet: Increasing Political Demands on the Building Stock

Ms Kristina Eisfeld, VDIV Deutschland

Key messages and learning

Kirstina pointed out that the currently discussed EPBD (trilogue) with its energy efficiency certificates’ harmonization and the minimum energy performance standards will have a strong impact on homeowners (value). The Energy Efficiency rates in Germany are quite low, with 30% of the German building stock in Class G,E and below, indicating a high demand for refurbishment. The speaker explains the building energy act of 2020, which introduced new buildings standards (to energy efficiency house 55) and an obligation to all newly installed heating systems in Germany to be operated with 65% renewable energy (from 2024). The speaker also mentions the statistical details of the housing stock in Germany: Germany has a housing stock of 19.4 million residential buildings, containing 40.5 million apartments as of 2023. More than 10 million of these apartments are organized as HOAs, and approximately over 15 million people in Germany live in HOA apartments. Kristina highlights that buildings built before 1978 are in need of repairment, and the rate of refurbishment for these buildings is lower than the national average. There is a lack of certified BAFA- energy consultants, massive shortage of materials and skilled workers and the increase in construction prices has made it difficult to provide the required three offers for energy efficiency upgrades to HOAs. During Corona, many HOA meetings have not taken place for over two years, which has aggravated the problem.

The survey conducted in 2022 examines the perspective of property managers and homeowners in Germany on long-term renovation planning and financing of energy-efficient investments. Property managers have doubts about the feasibility of the measurement’s economic value, and there is a lack of information about renovation needs and legal requirements. While HOAs may have a keen interest in necessary renovation options, they often lack information about the need for renovations. Property managers may not prioritize long-term renovation planning in HOA meetings, as they believe that owners are not interested in it. This suggests a potential communication gap between HOAs and property managers regarding the importance of renovation planning.

Since 2007, HOAs in Germany are entitled to borrow HOA loans. The application and contract is uncomplicated, fast and signed by the property manager who serves as a direct contact. Currently, German banks such as Hausbank München, DKB, BfW, and TEN31 provide HOA loans, and the rejection rate is very low. HOA loans offer the following advantages:  no collateral, credit checks and no guarantess or securities are required, personalized support, and fast payout. HOA loans are usually for five to eight years, with a preference for step-by-step renovation due to a lack of long-term planning.

Kristina discusses challenges associated with HOA loans, particularly with joint liability and lack of knowledge among property managers which created a mistrust in this financing instrument. The suggestion is to create attractive conditions and incentives for longer-term financing of deep renovations and implementing state or federal guarantees for housing loans. Additionally, property managers need further training, exchange with other best practices that took out a HOA loan to take out the fear of these loans.

The speaker also mentions Germany as an example of subsidy support for energy efficiency in buildings, with various departments, ministries and state development banks offering their own programs and subsidies. Further on, Kristina presents current developments in energy-efficient renovation and refurbishment in Germany. A reform was implemented in 2022, which shifted funds towards renovation instead of new building subsidies. It abolished subsidies for fossil heating and instead it introduced a worst performing buildings bonus. Although,  several subsidies and financing instrument are in place in Germany, they have not yet reached HOAs as the uptake of funds remains very low (>1%). The speaker suggests criteria to make energy investments more feasible, such as targeted information campaigns, incentivizing property managers to place energy efficiency topic at the board meetings, and default guarantees by federal states. One-stop shops for energy refurbishments and how-to guides are also useful. Preliminary results indicate the need for funding options, long-term financing options, compliance with current legal minimum standards, and informative leaflets for different types of buildings.

The German-Polish Duet - continued

Mr Andrzej Rajkiewicz, SAPE

Key messages and learning

The speaker discusses the importance of energy efficiency measures in multifamily buildings in Europe, focusing on Poland. He emphasize the need for long-term renovation strategies and improvements in legal, financial, and technical frameworks. Andrzej notes that there is a high potential for energy efficiency improvements in older buildings, with reduction potentials of 62% for those built up to 1945 and 40% for those built after 2008. The speaker also highlights the decrease in energy intensity of GDP and energy consumption in households in Poland since 2008. However, they note that property management challenges related to renovation of Home Owners Association buildings remain, and that property managers need better preparation in technical, financial, and legal aspects of implementing energy efficiency measures. The speaker also mentions barriers to implementation, including awareness, financial support, and uncertainty about economic benefits.

The speaker discusses the financing of energy efficiency measures in Poland through subsidies and loans. The process involves the approval of a yearly maintenance plan by a simple majority of the common ownership, which calculates the charges to be collected monthly. The financing principle is that the total maintenance cost before and after modernization is equal, even when using subsidized loans. The program has evolved over the years, with subsidies ranging from 25% to 41% of total costs, depending on the type of building and energy savings achieved. Energy audits and technical modernization concepts are required to qualify for subsidies, and there is no collateral required by banks for the loans. The homeowner association collects charges and repays the loan to the bank, not individual dwelling owners. Finally, the speaker gives an example of a multi-family building that implemented energy efficiency measures and achieved nearly Zero Energy building standard.

Further on, Andrzej discusses the use of subsidies in Poland for building renovation and energy efficiency measures. He mentions the success of the subsidized loan program, which has been used by over 48,000 owners of multifamily buildings and 35,000 homeowners associations due to its affordability, availability, and standardized procedures. However, the speaker notes that there are challenges in providing creditworthiness in small municipalities. Other subsidies, such as white certificates scheme and EU funds, exist but are directed towards different situations and cannot be combined with the thermal modernization subsidy. The speaker concludes that there is no cannibalization of instruments, and the various subsidies can be used in conjunction with each other to support building renovation and energy efficiency efforts.

Andrzej presents the use of subsidized loans for multifamily buildings and homeowners associations in Poland – its affordability, availability, and standardized procedures as benefits. There is a lack of research on other programs that exist to support buildings in Poland. On the other hand, there are over 20,000 housing managers in Poland who have been certified, but the profession is not licensed. Professional energy auditors are also needed for preparation of energy audits. The speaker stresses out the need for sufficient intensive public support and new forms of investment project management in order to achieve zero energy standards. Andrzej invites participants to take part in a training program for climate managers

EU ELENA project in Latvian municipality Jelgava

Mr Knut Hoeller, IWO e.V.

Key messages and learning

Knut focuses on IWO experiences in Latvia and gives an insight into the EEB Elena project in the city of Jagova. The city has a large number of multi-family buildings that were mainly constructed during the Soviet times, and less than 10 percent of these buildings have been completely refurbished in the 30 years since Latvia gained independence. Green Home has been working on a pilot project to demonstrate deep refurbishment of multi-family buildings since 2010-12, and this led to the idea of applying for Elena funding. The project was approved by the European commission and started at the end of 2020. The main target of the project is to increase the refurbishment rate in the city, which is currently quite low, and there is a high potential for the Elena facility to be repeated in other cities in Latvia. The speech also talks about the difficulties in the refurbishment process and the need to deal with the old housing stock.

Multi-apartment building renovation in Vilnius

Ms Lina Bubulyte, Project Manager at Vilnius City Building Renovation Company

Key messages and learning

Lena, a project manager for International Affairs at Vilnius City Building Renovation Company, gave a speech on the multi-apartment building foundation in Vilnius, Lithuania. She discussed the One-Stop Shop model, which provides homeowners with all the information they need to implement renovation projects from a single source. She talked about the process, which involves meeting with residents, voting, submitting applications to the state agency and credit institutions, selecting contractors, and implementing the renovation project. The process takes a long time and requires effective communication. Lena emphasized the importance of effective communication with homeowners and highlighted the benefits of renovation, including improved quality of life, a sense of community, and increased property value. The main challenge is the lack of knowledge from residents, as they became responsible for their own apartments and the common areas of the building after the 1990s privatization of multi-apartment buildings in Lithuania.


Moderator: Nicholas Stancioff, Funding for Future


  • Andrzej Rajkiewicz, SAPE
  • Kristina Eisfeld, VDiV
  • Knut Höller, IWO e.V.
  • Lina Bubulyte, Vilnius City Building Renovation Company

Deep Renovation in Poland and Germany

The speakers discussed the issues surrounding deep renovations in Germany and Poland. Christina draws parallels between Germany and Poland in terms of the high rate of funding available for deep renovations, and the low percentage of homeowners who agree to renovations. They also discussed the reasons for this, including the complex structure of the subsidy system, heterogeneous demand, and lack of enthusiasm from managers. They also discuss the difference between deep renovations and other types of measures in Poland and the lack of clear definitions. They clarify that loans in Poland are assigned to the whole Homeowner Association, not individually, and everyone is liable for them. The group also discusses cannibalization and the competition between support schemes, which can improve the overall system.

Support to Building Renovation

Further on, the discussion centers around the issue of building renovation, which is a common challenge for many countries in Europe. A One-Stop Shop model has been developed to provide a comprehensive solution for homeowners in need of renovation. The support mechanism in Lithuania is more transparent and more supportive than that of Latvia. However, the lack of capacities in the owner-dominated countries of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and others need to be addressed to increase the refurbishment rate. The Elena facility can be very helpful if it is more transparent and focused on intermediaries caring for homeowners. The issue of the commons, or communal spaces, is a significant challenge throughout Europe, especially in owner-dominated countries. It is the responsibility of the building manager, but building managers are often not concerned. Catalysts are needed to initiate dialogue with homeowners, convince them that they need renovation, and initiate a comprehensive renovation plan. The One-Stop Shop provides services from A to Z, and homeowners take the loan, but the One-Stop Shop deals with all the paperwork and banks on their behalf.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The discussion then moved onto the topic of energy efficiency and renewable energy. In Poland, thermal modernization is a prerequisite for receiving subsidies for renewable energy projects. The group also discussed how to ensure energy efficiency is prioritized before the implementation of renewables. The Green Home team is currently working on a pilot project that combines renovation with renewable energy. Eduardo from Italy shared his experience with the Green Road Project, which aims to promote energy efficiency measures and investments in Italy. Eduardo emphasized the importance of One-Stop Shops, which he believes can enable building owners to engage in energy efficiency interventions. However, he also raised concerns about the need for a high level of skills and expertise to ensure the reliability of One-Stop Shops. The group also discussed the issue of owners’ reluctance to invest in energy efficiency measures and how to address this issue. Finally, the group highlighted the need for a common framework for One-Stop Shops and the development of a network across Europe.