The year 2022 brought the ProRetro project successes and growing interest in One-Stop-Shops for energy renovation, but also new and unexpected challenges. In this blog post we look back at the previous year.
The most significant success is that our implementing partners entered the implementing phase and began offering their One-Stop-Shop services to interested homeowners in the five ProRetro cities and regions. Therefore, we want to take a closer look at these cities and regions and summarise what happened there in 2022.
The year 2022 in the ProRetro cities and regions
- Berlin: In August 2022, the Berlin Energy Agency opened BAUInfo Berlin, an advice centre for owners of residential buildings. ProRetro is involved as a partner. While the BAUInfo’s advice is addressed to all owners of residential buildings in Berlin, ProRetro makes it possible to offer a more comprehensive support to homeowner associations. In 2022, advisers from the Berlin Energy Agency already took part in a number of homeowner association meetings. Furthermore, energy concepts were developed for some homeowner associations. During an on-site visit in December, interested homeowners learned more about the possibility to heat historical multi-family homes, which are typical for Berlin, with a geothermal heat pump. You will find more information about the One-Stop-Shop for Berlin and its services, including contact details, here.
- Böblingen district: The services offered by the Energy Agency of Böblingen district with ProRetro are also targeted at homeowner associations. In 2022, advice from the Energy Agency was in high demand among homeowner associations. Advice was especially needed regarding options for financing renovation measures and available grants and other subsidies. At the same time, support in finding qualified energy advisers and contractors is needed. Furthermore, the Energy Agency offers to take part in homeowner association meetings. Seventeen homeowner associations made use of this service in 2022. In addition, the Energy Agency performed 36 sessions of inital advice and, by doing this, reached more than 200 stakeholders. Please find more information about the One-Stop-Shop for Böblingen district and contact details at this link.
- Bottrop: The implementing partner Innovation City Management began the implementation phase of their One-Stop-Shop for Bottrop already in August 2021. Since then, more than 450 homeowners have received advice. In accordance with the One-Stop-Shop idea homeowners do not only get initial advice, but the adviser can be reached throughout the renovation process. For 2023 it is planned to contact the advised homeowners regarding the status of the renovation project and accompany the implementation. More about the One-Stop-Shop for Bottrop and contact details are available at this link.
- Hanover region: A close cooperation with Netzwerk Modernisierungspartner, a network of companies active in the field of sustainable energy renovation, constitutes the One-Stop-Shop for Hanover region. An online form that homeowners can use to send an enquiry to Netzwerk Modernisierungspartner was published in April 2022. Netzwerk Modernisierungspartner unites suppliers from various (construction) trades – from energy advisers and architects to contractors. Through its members the network has the know-how to realise ambitious and complex energy renovations. At the same time, it became apparent that more network members are needed to realise a successful One-Stop-Shop in times of high demand. That is why in 2022 the implementing partners from Hanover region also tried to win new members. You can find more information and contact details at this link.
- Wuppertal: Within ProRetro the Raumfabrik was able to extend the services it is offering. From this year on, an energy adviser usually accompanies Raumfabrik’s contact person during the first on-site visit. Thereby, it is ensured that all measures are compatible with the long-term goal of a climate-neutral building. At the same time, the year 2022 was marked by the Solar Decathlon Europe, which took place in Wuppertal. Raumfabrik was present on the exhibition ground and informed about ProRetro and their services. At this link you will learn more about the services Raumfabrik offers and how you can contact them.
All five implementing partners observed great interest in measures to reduce energy consumption and noted that their services needed hardly any marketing. Stark increases in energy prices, especially of the price for natural gas, motivated homeowners to inform themselves about possibilities for switching the fuel they use for heating. Nevertheless, there is still a great need for advice on options for a deep renovation because many homeowners neglect the advantages that come with improving the building envelope. Most times, measures to improve the building’s energy efficiency should be implemented at the same time as installing a new heating system or should even come first.
But not only energy prices have risen substantially in 2022. Prices for materials needed during an energy renovation also increased considerably. The figure above shows the price index for renovation of residential buildings in Germany and documents that prices have surged much faster in 2021 and 2022 than in earlier years. On top of this, interest rates for mortgages have also seen an unusual increase. These developments counteract the incentives that arise from the higher energy prices. They lead to higher uncertainty and can cause a reluctance to invest that our implementing partners observed. At the same time, these developments show how important qualified and impartial advice is for homeowners.
Peer process, presentations and networking
An important building block of the ProRetro project is the peer process. One-Stop-Shops that are already operating successfully or are further ahead in their developement from other European countries support the German implementing partners with advice.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was only possible to organise remote exchanges, mainly via videoconferencing, in the first two years of the project. In 2022, it was finally possible to hold the personal meetings at the peer partners’ offices as we had foreseen when planning the project. In June, a team from Hanover visited the team from Linnaeus University and Klimatfastigheter in Sweden, a team from Böblingen Hauskunft in Vienna and a team from Bottrop IDF Energies in the metropolitan region of Paris. During autumn, teams from Raumfabrik in Wuppertal and ICM in Bottrop met with colleagues from Reimarkt in the Netherlands and a team from Berlin went to Vienna to exchange ideas with their colleagues at Hauskunft. You can learn more about the peer partners and their business models in our blog.
We were also glad about a number of opportunities to present our project publically in 2022. Examples were an online event organised by the IkZB Berlin in March and the Covenant of Mayors Investment Forum in Brussels in October. Furthermore, two workshops in Brussels in September and December provided ample ground for discussions and networking with other European projects and representatives of the European Commission. In November, we also held a project meeting at the Berliner Energieagentur’s office in Berlin that gave us the chance to discuss upcoming tasks and have productive debates on current challenges with all the implementing partners.
With this recap we start our final project year 2023 and are looking forward to more successes to celebrate this year, but also anticipate that we will have to deal with new challenges. We will keep informing you about news from our project in our blog.