Thanks to the EU funded project ProRetro, Energieagentur Landkreis Böblingen, the energy agency in Böblingen district, now acts as a One-Stop-Shop for homeowner associations. In the case of an energy renovation of a residential building, it serves as a first point of contact and supports the renovation from the initial decision-making process to implementation. For this, it does not matter if a deep renovation or only replacing the heating system is planned.
During the project’s design phase between June 2020 and September 2021, the energy agency developed a business model. This business model encompasses advising homeowner associations about current regulatory conditions, informing about grants, and helping the homeowner association in a neutral and impartial way to come to a decision. In addition to this initial advice, the energy agency also offers to give an informational presentation at a homeowner association meeting and accompany the homeowner association during the construction phase of the renovation measure(s). During the implementation phase of ProRetro, which began in September 2021, the energy agency is available as impartial adviser and supports measures that the homeowner association has decided to implement. This blogpost hilghlights experiences from the implementation phase thus far and show how a future-proof concept for a One-Stop-Shop was established in Böblingen district.
Experiences made during the implementation phase
Within the implementation phase of ProRetro, the Energy Agency Böblingen district has already been able to support 136 homeowner associations from the district. Most of those were supported with an initial advice session or by giving a presentation at a homeowner association meeting to inform about energy renovations. Experience shows that especially initial advice and informing about feasibility, possibilities for implementation, funding and legal regulations at a homeowner association meeting are important for helping the homeowner association to decide about an energy renovation. This is where the foundation for acceptance is laid by ensuring that all owners have the same level of knowledge. On this basis, the owners can make a well-founded decision about which measures are sensible and should be implemented. Due to rising energy prices and difficulties in procuring energy and raw materials, it is increasingly evident that more homeowners are thinking about using renewable energies. This is reflected by a growing interest in heat pumps and heating with wood pellets among owners and shows that many are concerned about the future-proofing the heating system and energy efficiency of their building. In general, demand among homeowner associations for the Energy Agency’s services is at a consistently high level.
Best-practice-example: Heating a multi-family home with a heat pump
In addition to individual interests, financing issues and lengthy processes within the homeowner associations that slow down the process, there are also positive examples in which the community is moving forward purposefully and quickly. Within ProRetro, the energy agency is currently supporting a homeowner association owning a small apartment building with 12 units.
The Energy Agency Böblingen’s future services for homeowner associations
The counselling and support of a total of almost 100 homeowner associations has shown what the need is and how the Energy Agency Böblingen district can adapt to it with its free service. Experience has shown that the focus on initial advice and the initial provision of information is the right approach.
In many homeowner associations, there is often uncertainty about the current legal framework, but also reservations about new technologies or how they work. To further ease energy renovations, the Energy Agency will initiate an online database of contractors this year, which has been created in cooperation with the district’s association of contractors. On the energy agency’s website, owners of residential buildings or apartments can look up contractors from all construction trades in the region.
The aim is to quickly find suitable companies for the corresponding requirements without recommending certain companies. Furthermore, the Energy Agency Böblingen district is currently working on acquiring new funding that will enable it to continue its support of homeowner associations for free in the future. The energy agency would like to act as the first point of contact and refer further needs to the appropriate market actors such as energy advisers, architects and contractors. The focus should then increasingly be on initial advice and encourage homeowner associations to tackle energy renovations measures in order to benefit from their advantages and make the building future-proof. Here, the concept of the One-Stop-Shop of the Energy Agency Böblingen district has stood the test of time and proved successful.