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New package of support measures for energy-efficient interventions

At the start of the construction fair Batibouw, the government of Flanders announced a new package of support measures for energy-efficient interventions. Depending on income, the renovation bonus for the replacement of old windows will be increased to 30-40% of the cost. Similarly the bonus for solar water heaters will also be increased, whereas interest-free loans will be introduced for investments in energy-saving measures by the lower income groups. These support measures are set to cost the budget an average of 12 million euros, but according to Flemish Minister for Energy Freya Van den Bossche SP.A, it’s hard to give an exact estimate. Following the federal ruling to scrap almost all energy-saving deductions in the wake of power transfers to the regional level, many such investments have grinded to a halt. The government of Flanders hopes that with these new  measures things will change for the better and that building activities can get off the ground once more. The subsidy for the replacement of old windows constitutes a maximum cost of 15,000 for all investments made since 1 January 2012. People with an income of less than 28,000 euros stand to receive 40% of their investment and those earning less than 56,000 euros can expect a refund of 30%. As from next year, the increased renovation bonus will only be granted to windows with a high insulation value. The bonus will also increase for the installation of a solar water heater, which heats water with solar energy. This will increase from 200 to 550 euros per square metre, with the period of cost recovery on the investment reduced to ten years. Nothing will change in respect of solar panels after last year’s serious cutbacks of the  support, which will remain in the form of green current certificates. The government of Flanders finally expects to introduce interest-free loans for the lower income groups, to which about  80% of all Flemings are entitled, Van den Bossche announced yesterday. Last year about 5,000 loans were awarded.