Costs, information and procedures
There are various ways to lower the heating costs and the emissions of a building. In addition to selecting a cheap fuel supplier (e.g. gas provider), structural renovation measures are particularly effective at lowering your actual consumption.
Modernising the heating is often an important step. But even the best heating system cannot be used at maximum efficiency if the building loses energy to its surroundings due to inadequate insulation and other factors.
It is advisable to arrange a professional energy consultation to help you choose sensible and useful investments. The following explains what you need to consider and how much an energy consultation will cost you.
It is worth investing in energy consultation?
Apart from highly energy-efficient new buildings (such as a passive house, etc.), the energy efficiency of just about any building can be optimised. However, not many building owners could afford to implement all the recommended measures at once.
This is not always necessary or even beneficial as some measures can have a much higher saving potential than others, depending on the condition of the house. And the measures can be as unique as the houses themselves. For this reason, it is not advisable to apply the watering-can principle, in which a relatively large amount of money is invested evenly but not necessarily effectively in energetic renovation.
To find out which specific measures would be constructive for your house, you should therefore confer with an experienced energy consultant. Generally speaking, the cost of energy consultation will pay itself off just due to the fact that it will significantly reduce your heating costs.
In this light, energy consultation is almost always worthwhile despite the cost, and certainly for older buildings. Mistakes can also be made when thermally insulating new buildings and these can go unnoticed for many years without expert analysis.
How to find a good energy consultant
Many consumers are annoyed by the fact that energy consultation has cost them money but the results do not come up to their expectations. This is often because the energy consultant was not a certified professional.
Unfortunately, the professional title is not protected, so the market is full of unreliable suppliers. The consumer advice centres therefore advise you to look out for certain quality features.
These include qualifications required for BAFA and KfW subsidies. Many builders and home owners are aiming to apply for KfW or BAFA subsidies anyway. If the consultant is licensed by the German association for specialist and expert analyses (Bundesverband für das Sachverständigen- und Gutachterwesen), the German association of qualified experts (Deutschen Sachverständigen-Gesellschaft) or the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE), you can certainly take them into consideration.
How can an energy consultation lower costs?
Cutting costs may be the most important aspect for home-owners, in addition to the fact that preventing energy waste (e.g. wasted by old oil heating systems or gas heating systems) is good for the environment. But just how can an energy consultation reduce your costs?
The consultant needs to make a comprehensive inspection and appraisal of your existing system to enable them to present a sound diagnosis. Only a thorough analysis guarantees that all faults (which, incidentally, often occur even in new buildings) and problems related to energy efficiency are taken into consideration.
Subsequently, the energy consultant will determine the potential savings that can be made by employing various optimisation measures and compile a recommendation in the form of a renovation plan.
In addition to this professional analysis, you can also discuss the cost of the measures and available financing options during the energy consultation as energy consultants are also qualified on this front.
The following aspects are considered during consultation, amongst others:
- Current condition of the building fabric
- Condition of the heating technology
- Windows and doors
- Insulation (from the roof down to the piping)
Various measures can be advisable depending on the initial condition of these elements. If the energy efficiency of your home is relatively good, just one or two smaller measures are often sufficient to optimise your system. More rarely, your consultant may recommend complete energy-related refurbishment.
In any case, this is not a topic that you should approach by applying general, one-size-fits-all measures. Rather, you should focus on the specific building’s emissions and power consumption before you make any decisions.
What happens during an energy consultation?
The energy consultant will almost always focus first on the condition of a building’s insulation. To do so, the expert will inspect the cellar, attic and walls to check any existing thermal insulation.
Windows and doors are also important points at which thermal bridges between the inside and outside can form. Gaps are a common cause of higher expenses. Thermography (analysis with a thermographic camera) can help to identify weak points in the building’s insulation.
The heating system will be inspected next. The piping is the most important aspect of the system along with the overall technical condition. In many buildings, simply improving the lagging around piping can do much to improve your energy efficiency.
The energy consultant will also check the condition of heat pumps, photovoltaic systems or solar thermal technology systems, if they are present.
Using the results of their inspections, the consultant will then compile a detailed report and make recommendations for upgrading your energy efficiency. This usually also includes a schedule and analysis of costs.
Many energy consultants will be glad to provide you with support while the structural measures are being performed to check that recommended measures are implemented properly. The cost of your specific energy consultation depends on the extent and scope of the consulting services provided.
The following values can be used as a rough guide:
- Detached house (approx. 150 m²) – approx. €600
- Multi-unit building (from 3 units upwards) – approx. €750 upwards
- Multi-unit building (from 10 units upwards) – approx. €1400
Energy consultation can save you money in most cases
The exact cost depends on the respective property and the invoicing procedures of the energy consultant. Some offer flat-rate prices and some charge hourly or daily rates. Additional services, such as thermography or blower door tests are usually charged separately.
Subsidies are often available from the BAFA or the KfW for the energy consultation and ensuing renovation measures.
Important: as a rule, subsidy applications must be submitted before beginning an energy-efficiency renovation project. Consumer advice centres are also qualified contact partners for energy consultation.
If your consultant recommends replacing or refurbishing your heating system, the WOLF Service Hotline is here to help. We can advise you on options for equipping your house with a modern WOLF heating system, solar thermal technology, heat pumps and other modern heating technology.