There are at least three methods to support energy-saving building, information, negative and positive approach.
The information support system mainly consists in creating a commercial value of the energy performance of the building, taken into consideration by potential buyers of the house or flat.
The negative method bases on imposing requirements in scope of energy efficiency of buildings and sanctioning the creation of buildings that fail to meet the standards.
The positive support is based, on the other hand, on systems of co-financing energy-saving building.
In information and negative support, the economic burden is on investors, with the difference that the first one assumes their will to bear such burden, while the other imposes such obligation. In the positive support, the final cost is spread out on all taxpayers.
The information support, which is already used based on building energy performance certificates, will be significantly strengthened by the implementation of Directive 2010/31/EU into the act on energy performance of buildings that is being created.
However the question is how quickly the social awareness can evolve concerning economic returns of the investment, if not concerning the impact of energy-saving building on environmental protection.
A strong negative approach, seeming as the most effective, is difficult to implement due to political and social reasons, and additionally, as a paradox, it may limit the number of buildings constructed using energy-saving technologies because more funds are needed to complete such a project. For the reasons referred to above, it is hard to assume that the definition of the near-zero energy building being developed at ministry level will contain the determination of primary energy consumption at a level that will translate to a drastic increase in demand for energy-saving technologies.
The positive support is the most efficient solution, as it takes into consideration social psychology aspects — we treat as a loss something we could have for free but for which we did not reach. Despite its high costliness related to the creation of earmarked funds, tax exemptions, etc., it is the best way to achieve the assumed goals — reduction of greenhouse gases emission and reduction of dependency on imported energy.
The role of public institutions and developers in development of the abovementioned three aspects of support is varied.
Firstly, when analysing the information support, one has to note that the creation of the certification system is a very good mechanism to shape social awareness concerning the benefits of development of energy-saving building. The only thing that has to be added to the existing model is the appropriate PR support. Here, the main part may be played both by public and private bodies. The following may be given as an example: creation of awareness-raising promotional actions, sums that may be saved using the construction technique which contains energy-saving building elements or creation of internet platforms which allow to calculate the investment return period.
Secondly, when referring to the negative method, one has to point out that one has to be very prudent in the lobbying process concerning the shape of the definition of the near zero-energy building. A too strict definition of conditions could lead to a drop in number of investment projects due to the need to collect greater funds. But nothing stands in the way of reaching the strict standards in longer perspective.
Thirdly, public authority institutions and developers have the greatest opportunities in the scope of positive support. The role of public institutions should consist in developing a system of financial incentives on other terms than the ones already in place. The support system should cover not only persons who take up loans, but also persons who finance the investment from their own funds. Currently, the National Fund for Environment Protection and Water Management through selected banks only supports lenders who buy flats or establishments which meet the parameters specified in the program.
The role of developers consists in assisting the development of documents necessary to obtain co-financing and offering a range of possible technical solutions allowing to achieve the required standards.
Paweł Pucher — Partner, Kaczor Klimczyk Pucher Wypiór – Adwokaci
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