Laszlo Lepp, from Passive House Institute, joined us from Innsbruck, Austria on Wednesday, February 24th. Laszlo gave a fascinating talk about EnerPHits, with a focus on the step-by-step approach, and the SINFONIA program. The SINFONIA program is a European-wide large-scale program for energy solutions via retrofits whose slogan is “low carbon cities for better living”. In his presentation Lepp focused on the need for deep energy retrofits of existing buildings right away, highlighting the “lock-in effect” in which renovations made with components that are not particularly energy-efficient have long-term repercussions for building energy and carbon usage. As Lepp pointed out, deep refurbishments are a “once in a lifetime opportunity” as major renovations make subsequent upgrades uneconomical and unlikely, so only by investing now in large-scale deep energy-saving retrofits can maximum CO2 reductions be achieved in the building sector.
Lepp walked us through several EnerPHits in Innsbruck, explaining why step-by-step retrofits—where the different parts of the work are spread across time—was the only realistic solution. One aspect that generated much discussion was the rules around tenant rights in Austria, especially in public housing. It turns out that 85% of tenants need to agree to major building renovations, except in the case of central ventilation changes, where a unanimous 100% agreement is necessary. Find out about the challenges associated with obtaining such high levels of support and so much more about the step-by-step EnerPHit planning process by listening here.
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