Economic recovery through buildings renovation

The Czech government considers the construction industry to be the second most important sector after healthcare, which needs to be supported by significant investments to address the economic slowdown caused by the current COVID-19 crisis.

Within the economic recovery process, governments should increase investment and provide an economic framework that stimulates private investment. At the same time, these investments should meet sustainability and competitiveness requirements. Energy efficient buildings renovation is an area that fulfils these conditions.

Investments into buildings renovation provide work for small and medium-sized enterprises as well as craftsmen in the construction sector and related industries. One euro of public investment is able to induce 2-4 euros of private investment.

Energy efficient building renovation usually has an annual return on investment about 4-6%, and thus is interesting for households and institutions; companies can identify measures with even shorter payback period. However, an initial investment is relatively high; therefore, supportive financial mechanisms are necessary.

In the Czech Republic, there have existed mechanisms focusing on all types of buildings – family and residential houses, public buildings, and buildings owned by enterprises. However, the current programmes will end in this programming period, and a smooth transition to the new programmes needs to be ensured.

The association Chance for Buildings proposes to support high-quality buildings renovations to nZEB or passive standard with a use of modern technologies. At the same time, they point out a necessity to focus not only on large-scale projects but also on renovations of smaller houses and buildings. The government should also consider using financial instruments supplementing grants.

As such, energy efficient construction has the potential to make a significant contribution to the economic recovery and implementation of the European Green Deal.