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Why you save and your home is valued with energy efficiency

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Why you save and your home is valued with energy efficiency

Silvina López Plante*

Most homes and buildings in Argentina are not energy efficient, making housing one of the three causes of CO2 emissions, behind sectors such as transportation and industry. The age of the Argentine real estate stock explains why Argentina is in the group of countries with the worst energy efficiency indices due to the non-thermal retrofitting of existing constructions and the non-application of standards in new constructions.

In Argentina, buildings are responsible for between 30 and 40% of energy consumption, over consumption related to air conditioning. Thus, the energy rehabilitation of homes and buildings is key to achieving the decarbonization of the economy in 2050, one of the objectives of the Paris Agreement. For the success of this common objective, it is essential that citizens become aware and take action by investing in updating their homes.

The energy rehabilitation of homes is an urgent task, both for the savings it represents for the consumer’s pocket, taking into account the removal of subsidies and the increase in rates, and for the benefits in social and environmental terms. In addition to fighting climate change, having energy efficient homes helps fight energy poverty and health problems, especially for older people, derived from the lack of comfort in homes. And this lack of comfort and well-being is determined by the lack of thermal adequacy of the homes and the construction quality with a lack of thermal insulation in the envelopes.

While it is true that many citizens have been carrying out small actions to improve the efficiency of their homes, either by changing appliances for more efficient ones, replacing high-consumption light bulbs with LED technology or improving the enclosures, Now it would be about going further, achieving a reduction in consumption and significantly reducing the use of non-renewable primary energy, mainly in air conditioning.

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Energy efficiency is a factor to take into account when living, buying or renting a home. High energy consumption associated with inefficient construction has an economic impact on your pocket, but it also affects the value of the property.

There are several factors that determine the price of a home; However, everything related to energy efficiency has, or should have, an impact on competitiveness when buying and selling. And this is where the energy label says a lot about energy efficiency. If we study the information provided by the label, we can see at a glance what improvements are needed and what energy consumption we can expect if we are going to live in it. The concern then is whether an investment in improving energy efficiency will be reflected in the value of a property. There are several reasons to be interested in this. To the extent that A building with better energy performance costs more to build, it is interesting to know that this additional investment can be recovered and even lead to additional performance for the investor.

To obtain the energy label, the envelope and facilities are evaluated. For example, a G classification, the last on the label, may indicate that the property has inefficient enclosures (without thermal insulation, for example) or windows with inefficient glass, or old thermal installations with low energy performance. This should directly lead us to the conclusion that in a few years we will face a change of windows and an improvement in thermal insulation in the envelope.

Improve a home to increase its energy efficiency It could imply an investment of 1% that today the owners are not very clear about being able to transfer to the sale price of the property. Likewise, properties that are being built to high energy efficiency standards are likely to have higher startup costs, but with a return on that investment given by the reduction in the home’s energy consumption. The purchase or rental of properties with a better energy rating translates into an increase in future profitability. If the energy consumption of an appliance is controlled, why not do it with the energy savings of a property?

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* Architect, member of the Group of Institutions for the Energy Labeling of Housing that is made up of the Argentina Green Building Council (AGBC), the National Association of Insulating Materials Industries (Andima)

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