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Reforming the EPB certification and the property tax incentive to encourage additional investments in energy efficiency
Book Contribution - Book Chapter Conference Contribution
The EU member states have implemented energy performance of buildings (EPB) minimum requirements for new constructions, while in Flanders an additional property tax incentive is offered if higher standards of energy performance are achieved. The current paper aims to investigate whether the property tax incentive played a role in encouraging additional investments in energy efficiency in new constructions. It also aims to understand the mechanisms of the EPB certification process, including the decision-making between the client, the architect, and the EPC certifier, and the interplay between the implementation of the EPB regulations and the property tax incentive. For this purpose, in-depth, semi-structured interviews with EPC certifiers operating in Flanders were undertaken. Findings show that the property tax incentive plays an important role in additional investments, principally when the levels required by the property tax are close to the minimum standards as in recent years. The most commonly used methods to achieve lower E-levels1 than the minimum requirements are PV systems, followed by efficient ventilation systems, heat pumps and airtightness test to a lesser extent. Investments in systems are motivated by a common practice of making the EPB certification after the building permit was released; therefore, changes in the design are problematic. At this stage sufficiency or efficiency design strategies are difficult to be implemented and thus additional investments in systems are preferred. Only EPC certifiers who are the architects of the project have a more holistic approach and make EPB simulations at an earlier design stage. Requiring the EPB certificate before the building permit would encourage the engagement of the energy expert from an earlier design stage and a closer collaboration between the architect and the EPC certifier. Breaking the silos between the energy experts and the architects, as well as a holistic design are in line with the New European Bauhaus principles.
Book: eceee Summer Study proceedings
Number of pages: 10
Keywords:investment decision-making, interviews, energy performance certificates, New European Bauhaus, property taxation