The RenoBooster project, led by the City of Vienna (Department of Technical Urban Renewal, MA 25), aims to increase the overall renovation rate of private housing in Vienna in order to contribute to the achievement of climate targets. It is funded by the EU under the Horizon 2020 programme.
Numerous partners from complementary fields are involved. The project started in May 2019 and is scheduled to be completed by October 2022. The EU funding amounts to 1.9 million euros.
The main objective of the RenoBooster project is to create a central contact point for private property and flat owners as well as property managers in order to promote climate-friendly renovation of the private housing sector in Vienna.
With its Smart Climate City strategy, Vienna has set itself the ambitious goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2040.
Further project goals were to achieve, within the framework conditions of 2018, at least 110 million euros in investments in housing refurbishment (leverage effect > 55), to generate energy savings of 5.5 GWh/year as well as reduce CO2 emissions by 1000 t/year within the first 5 years of the contact point’s activity.
Vienna’s Building Stock
According to Statistik Austria, the building stock in Vienna comprises 164,746 buildings. Of these buildings 111,328 (67 %) are privately owned. The Austrian average is 89 %. 149,000 buildings are considered residential buildings or are mainly used for residential purposes. Of the approximately 1 million flats in Vienna, 113,000 flats are privately owned, there are 74,000 single-family houses and 275,000 rented flats.
In addition, there is a consistent sector of flats that can be attributed to non-profit housing or cooperatives (45 % of the flats are socially secured in the long term).
Hauskunft & Quality Platform
Following the European model, the main aim in Vienna was to bundle information and advisory services on legal aspects as well as on funding and financing options for the renovation of residential buildings.
Owners of single-family houses to large apartment buildings are to be accompanied and supported in all phases of housing refurbishment: from the initial consideration and advice to the structural implementation and quality assurance after completion of the refurbishment.
In October 2020, the central free advisory service “Hauskunft” was set up as part of RenoBooster for an initial test phase until March 2021 and commissioned to develop a concrete range of services. Since April 2021, the “Hauskunft” has been integrated into the wohnfonds_wien, the central institution for the promotion of social housing, property management and urban renewal. In addition, a “quality platform” with the name “Qualitätsplattform Sanierungspartner Wien” was launched at the beginning of 2022. The quality platform supports house and flat owners free of charge in their search for qualified contractors and planners, for example for the replacement of gas and oil heating systems and thermal renovations. For this purpose, the quality platform lists competent companies from various sectors that can realise high-quality projects.
Analysis, Awareness, Activities
RenoBooster coordinated a comprehensive multidimensional analysis and assessment of the housing renovation sector. This included the existing legal framework and its challenges, existing financing models and subsidies, an overview of proven European good practices as well as the analysis of the specific target group segments and their approach to the topic of housing renovation. As a result, numerous networking and educational activities were carried out.
For example, in addition to flat owners and managers, planners are also part of the target group.
Special attention was paid to the challenges of the existing legal framework with regard to achieving the climate goals. The goal of the stability of the entire housing sector and thus of society on the one hand has to be balanced with the motivation of the private sector to increase the quality of renovation and climate protection on the other hand.
The analysis of existing funding opportunities resulted in the development of a new funding scheme for the preparation of holistic renovation concepts, which was adopted by the municipal council in May 2021.
Careful market analysis and target group-specific communication support the development and testing of a range of new services. Communication activties take issues such as energy-efficient technologies, renewable energies and energy poverty into account. The two websites Hauskunft and Qualitätsplattform Sanierungspartner provide essential information in this regard. In addition, the newsletter of “Hauskunft” informs the target groups about current developments and offers.
The campaign work was and is integrated into the overall strategy of the City of Vienna and uses its local resources. As a result, the Hauskunft was not only established as a permanent institution, but also already had to gradually increase its staff.
The City of Vienna, Urban Innovation Vienna, wohnfonds_wien, Österreichischer Verband der Immobilienwirtschaft, DIE UMWELTBERATUNG, e7 energy innovation & engineering, 17&4 Organisationsberatung GmbH and SORA Institute for Social Research and Consulting form the consortium of the RenoBooster project.