HOAs-Network-Meeting: Learning from others

In March, administrators of homeowners’ associations from the regions of Berlin-Brandenburg, Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia had the opportunity to learn about energy-efficient building refurbishments and funding opportunities for implementing energy-efficiency measures in existing buildings, and also to share their experiences with refurbishing buildings. For this purpose, the GREEN Home project had initiated network meetings for administrations and experts in this field.

High demand for information and exchange

Background: Events hosted by GREEN Home in the fall of 2022 revealed that administrations have a great need for information on the technical details of energy efficiency measures and regional funding opportunities. The desire to exchange experiences and knowledge was also expressed in many cases. Real estate and renovation projects are so individual in detail that the implementation of suitable measures often requires creative approaches. Talking to each other, learning from each other and using practical examples that have already been implemented help to break down barriers. The focus of the project is primarily on developing financing models for energy efficiency measures in owners’ associations.

At the first network meetings for WEG administrations, speakers, e.g. from energy consulting, real estate administrations as well as municipal administrations, reported on their experiences and the range of services and funding programs. The attendees made intensive use of the opportunity to exchange ideas and directed many questions to the speakers in order to approach their own projects with sound knowledge.

What are the benefits of mandatory solar?

At the first WEG network meeting in Berlin, the Berlin Solar Law and the solar obligation, which has been in effect since January 1, 2023, were discussed, as well as the possibilities for implementing photovoltaic (PV) projects in apartment buildings. Ulrich Seifert, Renewable Energy Officer of the Berlin Senate Department for Economy, Energy and Business, explained what exactly the solar obligation for new buildings and in existing buildings in the case of significant roof conversions with the start of construction since January 1, 2023 provides. Marcus Schluzy, SolarZentrum Berlin, then explained how PV can be implemented in multi-family buildings and explained the different models, e.g. full feed-in, individual systems and general power supply. Myths such as the supposedly harmful effect of PV systems were dispelled in the exchange after the event. In addition, Felix Miehler, BauInfo Zentrum Berlin, provided information about its consulting services specifically geared to the needs of owners’ associations and described the installation of a water heat pump in an old building in Berlin-Schöneberg by the owners’ association.

Ambitious climate targets in Stuttgart

The solar obligation was also one of the most important topics at the WEG network meeting in Baden-Württemberg. Together with Berlin, the state is a pioneer in the field, and the findings to date are therefore groundbreaking for the Germany-wide solar obligation, for which it is now clear: it is coming.

Raymund Schäffler, Office for Environmental Protection of the City of Stuttgart, explained the ambitious climate goals of the state capital: buildings there are to be climate-neutral as early as 2030. Since the CO2 price in Stuttgart is above average, the implementation of energy efficiency measures proves to be all the more economical – which motivates people to act. The state of Baden-Württemberg and the city of Stuttgart support this with numerous subsidy measures, some of which, however, are not fully utilized. According to those present from the property management companies, this is due to the high level of bureaucracy involved in the application process, which they asked to be simplified in dialog with those responsible.

Dr. Christian Faden, Roto Frank Professional Service, spoke about the renovation of windows, presenting a cost-effective alternative to window replacement. Karolin Borchert, KUNZE Beteiligungen und Verwaltung, and Marcel Haag, VEWA Hausverwaltung, reported on the practical experience of their property management companies and used exemplary renovation projects in owners’ associations to show that these were worthwhile in many respects: financially, but also in terms of living comfort. Pointing out that energy-efficient refurbishments in owners’ associations were not exactly easy to implement, they expressed their gratitude for the support provided by the GREEN Home project in this regard.

Karolin Borchert, KUNZE Beteiligungen und Verwaltung, reports on experiences from the everyday life of property managers in Baden-Württemberg      

Unlocking potential via existing data

The last WEG network meeting for the time being took place in Bochum at the end of March. At the European Education Center for the Housing and Real Estate Industry (EBZ), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Viktor Grinewitschus was available to answer questions about his field of expertise, technical building equipment and measurement and automation technology, and appealed to those present to use existing data to reduce the operating costs of managed properties and cut CO2 emissions. In addition, he explained the different possibilities of energy refurbishments and gave convincing arguments in favor of implementation: Saving energy costs, reducing the CO2 levy (from 2026), maintaining the value of the property, maintaining marketability in terms of leasing (Worst Performing Buildings), increasing living comfort and, of course, climate protection.

In Bochum, as at the other two WEG network meetings, it became clear how great the need is for information on legal obligations and the implementation of energy-related renovation measures, as well as for an exchange of experience among colleagues and with experts.

The constructive discussions and the overwhelmingly positive response encourage the project consortium to organize further network meetings. Interested parties who want to support the project as partners in maintaining the stakeholder dialogue and increasing the renovation rate in owner associations are still very welcome. Contact: Franziska Reute, reute@iwoev.org