Personal business: Most of us would like to live in an energy-efficient, planet-friendly home, but initiating the necessary renovations is a different kettle of fish. With good advice and smart planning--plus government subsidies--it is however perfectly doable.
Keen on reducing their energy bills and tackling draught problems, Ruth and André recently put up an extra door in their hallway and had triple windows installed on the ground floor of their house. A costly venture for the two pensioners, but they counted on government subsidies to sweeten the pill.
Imagine their dismay when they learned that the financial aid should have been applied for prior to doing the home improvements and that the new windows caused humidity problems in their living room.
“To benefit from financial assistance when making your home more energy efficient, you have to apply before doing the work,” explains Christel de Freitas, energy counsellor at myenergy, a government-supported outfit that offers free technical, practical and financial assistance-related counselling. “And even if you chose to carry out the work yourself, getting advice beforehand is really important. In that way, you can for example find out if it’s necessary to insulate the walls in your house too when installing triple windows or if you’re better off opting for another solution.”
Homeowners can reduce their energy costs from 10% to 70% through renovations and it doesn’t necessarily have to be as costly as say installing new windows or putting solar panels on the roof. “Something like insulating the ceiling or walls of your cellar, or the floor of your attic, can make a big difference, and it’s something that’s fairly easy,” says de Freitas. An energy counsellor will be able to tell you what is necessary, what will work best in your home and which financial aid you can ask for.
Several subsidies are available in Luxembourg, both nationally and locally. However, to apply you will need an onsite inspection and a follow-up report and an “energy passport” (cost: at least €1,500), all of which will of course come in handy when deciding upon works and asking different craftsmen and/or architects for estimates.