In a time where working from home has become the rule, homes have become workplaces to many. This requires additional heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting... People are seeking more comfort, while at the same time the amount of greenhouse gas emissions needs to be reduced. How do we reconcile this when more than ninety-five percent of the homes have to be renovated or rebuilt to meet the 'climate-neutral standard'?

That question is the starting point of a study that Johan Albrecht, professor and doctor in economics at the University of Ghent, made at the request of technology federation Agoria. Professor Albrecht studied the financial barriers to climate and comfort innovations. The study was presented today in the presence of the Flemish Minister of Justice and Enforcement, Environment, Energy and Tourism Zuhal Demir.

Flanders is facing the important challenge of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings by almost thirty percent. Houses are, as representatives of almost 80% of the building stock, by far the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The study results show that climate renovation is not yet evident. About forty to fifty percent of the current owners do not have the financial means to make their homes climate-compatible. Agoria is greatly concerned about this. As an umbrella organization for technology it sees a target-group-oriented policy approach, working towards solutions that enhance both comfort and climate neutrality and ensuring that the choice for climate-neutral housing is rewarded as the three key factors for the successful realisation of a climate-neutral housing stock.

Peter Demuynck, Managing Director of Agoria Flanders: "The Flemish renovation strategy already anticipates this in a good way by making climate renovation as attractive as possible upon the purchase of a house. The strategy was therefore acknowledged as part of the top 3 of Europe according to the BPIE, an independent European study centre for buildings. Agoria sees further opportunities to convince the current owners. For example, by providing each homeowner with a free climate performance certificate and a good explanation of the different possibilities for climate renovation. Homeowners who do not have sufficient budget for climate-neutral technologies should be able to obtain additional funding by providing the guarantee as a public authority to cover the risk’.

According to Agoria, it remains important to emphasise that making a house climate neutral not only reduces the utility bill, but also significantly increases comfort. Building technologies such as heating, cooling, ventilation, home automation, lighting and shading offer such solutions. For example, to provide your home office with the right temperature all year round. Or to ensure healthy air quality in the house. The use of these technologies becomes climate-neutral through the use of renewable energy.

"It is important to realise timely that climate neutral houses will have a higher sale value in the long term. It is therefore worth to check how climate neutral your home is today and to inform yourself on the possible building technology solutions to improve this. As a first step you can go to the Woningpas to see the information that is available on your property. Not only for a more comfortable life today, but also to ensure that your home retains its value in the long term," concludes Peter Demuynck.

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