The ProRetro-One-Stop-Shop in Berlin is implemented in cooperation with BAUInfo Berlin. Owners of condominiums and their associations can get free and impartial advice regarding their ideas for an energy renovation. In this, it does not matter if the renovation project is at its very beginning or if first steps have been taken already. Owners do not only get information, but also an assessment of their project and support in finding qualified experts.
The team of advisers can also be contacted during further steps in the renovation process for additional advice and support. BAUInfo Berlin has an office in the centre of Berlin, where advice sessions usually take place. If the owner wishes so, he or she can also be advised through the phone or online. An advice session typically lasts about 50 minutes. Yet, the duration of an advice session can also be longer or shorter depending on the topics the owner wants to discuss. As a matter of principale, the advice is free of charge and does not recommend certain suppliers or contractors.
Support for homeowner associations in Berlin
Within ProRetro, the team from the Berliner Energieagentur (BEA) supports homeowner associations in implementing their energy renovation project. Therein, general information, the explanation of regulations and pointing out how to proceed effectively are of foremost importance. Renovating a multi-family home is a process that is technically and organisationally complex. A large number of stakeholders have to be involved. Establishing clear responsibilities and agreeing upon a sensible schedule with well-defined milestones is key to success. Furthermore, frequent mistakes in applying for subsidies can be avoided with targeted advice. The support for homeowners also encompasses help in finding qualified experts that plan the project in detail and supervise the implementation. BAUInfo Berlin can build on a cooperation agreement with an association of energy advisers in Berlin, which promises to broker contact to an expert within one week. If the homeowner association wants to discuss and vote on a concrete project and needs help in making a substantiated decision, the One-Stop-Shop also supports this step. Its team offers to review advice reports, planning documents and quotations and assess them. Moreowner, the service includes attending the homeowner association meeting and explaining the assessment in a language that is understandable to laypersons.
Information events with talks by experienced experts allow condominium owners to learn more about topics of relevance to them. Online events have proven to be especially convenient and low-threshold for participants. Attending online events is free of charge.
On 30 March 2023, BAUInfo Berlin organised an online event on replacing single-storey heating fired with natural gas together with Hauskunft from Vienna.
The speaker Dipl.-Ing. Gerhard Gössinger presented a large number of renovation projects in Vienna that successfully replaced single-storey heating with central heating. Attendees learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, but that climate-friendly solutions are possible even under difficult circumstances like having to meet strict noise insulation requirements or heritage protection. It can be especially difficult to convince every owner of a condominium of the advantages of a central heating system. Therefore, planning should allow for connecting additional apartments to central heating later on.
Visiting best-practice examples
Visiting best-practice examples enables homeowners to see successful projects first hand. This makes projects and individual measures more tangible and makes it easier for homeowners to imagine what an energy renovation may entail in their case. On-site, participants hear detailed reports and background information about the project, particular challenges and how it is to live in the renovated building. Attending an on-site visit is free of charge as well.
On 1 December 2022 an on-site visit of a multi-family home situated in Kyffhäuser Straße in Berlin-Schöneber and built in 1890 took place. In this building, a ground source heat pump was installed. The heat pumps supplies 25 apartments with climate-friendly heat. The building’s final energy consumption has been reduced by 50% even without adding more insulation to the building. Like with many geothermal projects, drilling geothermal wells of a depth of about 100 meters proved to be the hardest logistical and technical challenge.
The visit began in the newly designed courtyard with the six invisible geothermal probes. In the boiler room it was demonstrated that, even when in operation, the heat pump is hardly noisey. This surprised many participants. Afterwards, the planner and supervisor of the system, who himself lives in the house, was available to answer the questions of the participants. Many participants were stunned that using a ground sourced heat pump is possible in an old building in an inner-city area, even if it is of no exceptional energy performance standard. It was always emphasized that careful analysis and planning were necessary for the project to succeed. In addition, measures such as optimization of the heating network, hydraulic balancing or replacement of individual radiators are often required in advance to enable the most economical use of a heat pump.
The building that was visited can function as a role model to demonstrate consominium owners how installing a modern heating system can work in a multi-family home and reduce reservations with respect to this seemingly complex technology. You can learn more about this project on BAUInfo Berlin’s website.
With group consultations we are currently preparing another service for owners and property managers. Besides general information on energy renovations, we will present and discuss topics of high relevance to homeowner associations, like renovation roadmaps, specific grant programmes and regulations, e.g., for replacing single-storey heating systems fired with natural gas.