Condominium retrofits are a matter of a long breath

Take-aways from the digital conference


For a long time, and until now, they have been considered the black sheep: multi-flat buildings. As working with condominiums is very complicated for a number of reasons, it is not high priority in a lot of Member States. The transnational exchange of experiences through the ACE-Retrofitting project has allowed cities to be inspired and to jointly design innovative renovation coaching services. Yesterday’s online conference and European Users Club shed light on the learnings from this EU-funded (Interreg NWE) project. The over 100 participants who stayed connected during this almost 3-hours event are a strong witness of the increasing interest by public authorities and research institutes for this subject.

One of the major lessons learnt by the six local authorities from five different countries, Maastricht University and the environmental charity Changeworks, all involved in the ACE-Retrofitting project: They underestimated the slowness of the decision-making process in condominiums and how long it takes for retrofits to take place (3-5 years). Partners also learned from the Paris example and shifted from stimulating individual energy efficiency measures to the masterplan approach. It increases the ambition level for the condominium and involves wide aspects going beyond pure energy efficiency. This comprises health and safety, maintenance programmes, adaptation etc. Such a comprehensive approach, too, slows down the process of getting quick CO2 savings and improved household energy rating. However, it is better and more strategic in the long run.

The condominium experts who shared their insights during the conference described the tools and processes they have jointly developed to better support renovation in this very specific building type. Co-owners and condominium boards struggle in communicating the gains of an energy retrofit, developing a feasible and acceptable plan and moving from the idea phase via an action plan to implementation. The speakers from cities as diverse as Paris, Frankfurt, Liège, Aberdeen or Maastricht explained what homeowners need to get the whole building on board. By developing a full range of tools and activities that help connect co-owners and building professionals in an easy and trustful way, they provided a key to increase the renovation rate in Europe.

The important role of one-stop-shops for retrofit support has been highlighted by speakers from the INNOVATE project, co-funded by Horizon 2020. Their key feature is to connect supply and demand in the most efficient and accessible way. In the framework of the project, 11 partners have designed renovation service packages for homeowners. This was a challenging, but very insightful task. The lessons learnt should guide other local authorities in finding the right one-stop-shop business model for their situation.

Both projects, ACE and INNOVATE, are now coming to an end after 3 years of fruitful cooperation, but the need for a stronger recognition of condominiums in building policies is more important than ever. The Renovation Wave initiative which is under preparation by the European Commission as part of the EU Green Deal should take example from the ACE-Retrofitting experiences.

🎥 View the conference recording: https://energy-cities.eu/webinar/accelerating-the-energy-retrofitting-in-condominiums/ 

📚 Use the ACE-Retrofitting resources for your daily work with condominiums: https://www.nweurope.eu/projects/project-search/accelerating-condominium-energy-retrofitting-ace-retrofitting/#tab-5

📧 Should you wish to sign the charter or to further explore the topic with us, please get in touch with the ACE-Retrofitting team:

Christiane Maurer

Ian Turner

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Publication date

March 27, 2020