For Owners

Insulation isn't everything - smaller measures with a big impact


May 2024

Insulating the façade is one of the most important measures when renovating a building to make it more energy efficient. And this is urgently needed: according to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, almost 35 percent of all final energy in Germany is used for buildings, primarily for heating and hot water. However, in addition to facade insulation, there are many other refurbishment measures that can significantly improve a building's carbon footprint - and too little attention is often paid to the smaller ones in particular. Wrongly so, because sometimes even small changes to the house or apartment can have a big effect. In this blog post, we present some modernization measures that you can use to reduce the energy consumption of your property.

All-round energy check: first the overview, then the measures

Before apartment or house owners plan renovation measures to increase energy efficiency, it is important to carry out a comprehensive check. This should involve looking at the property as a whole and gaining an overview of its energy status and where there is potential for improvement. It then makes sense to take a closer look at the individual possible refurbishment measures and check what savings potential they each offer. After all, it is not always necessary to start with the biggest - and possibly most expensive - steps straight away. A renovation roadmap should then be drawn up. As a rule, every property also comes with an energy performance certificate - a glance at this provides information about the current condition and it may be possible to upgrade the property to a better energy efficiency class through suitable refurbishment measures, thereby increasing its value.

This is also shown by an analysis by the real estate platform Immobilienscout 24: houses and apartments with a low energy standard will have lost value in 2023. As Immobilienscout summarizes, properties with a good energy standard B have already lost 16% of their value in rural areas and as much as 19% in small and medium-sized towns. The asking prices for buildings in energy efficiency class C fell by 25 percent in rural areas and by 30 percent in cities, while the price discount for properties in energy efficiency class D was around a third compared to properties in energy efficiency class A. The price discount had a particularly strong impact on properties in energy efficiency class H, where asking prices fell by an average of 45 percent in small and medium-sized towns and by over 51 percent in rural areas.

Installation of a modern heating system

In addition to insulation, this measure is currently increasingly coming to the fore: the installation of a modern heating system. Although the new Building Energy Act (GEG) has also been widely criticized due to the not inconsiderable costs involved, the installation of a new heating system is by no means mandatory for all property owners; instead, there are generous transitional periods and special regulations. Since 2024, every new heating system installed in new-build areas must be powered by 65% renewable energy. However, longer transitional periods apply to existing buildings and new buildings outside of new development areas: owners who live in their property themselves can already apply to KfW for funding for a heating system. The deadlines for all other owner groups can also be viewed there. The use of fossil fuels in buildings is to be phased out by 2045.

From an ecological point of view, investing in an energy-saving heating system always makes sense. If you want to save as much energy as possible, there are a few things you should bear in mind when choosing a heat pump heating system. If you would like to take advantage of an energy consultation with an expert, this can also be funded by the Federal Energy Advice for Residential Buildings (EBW) program. Here are some examples of what you should look out for when choosing a new heating system: The first thing to check is whether the property is suitable for the installation of a heat pump. The Federal Environment Agency advises choosing a particularly energy-efficient heat pump. Attention should also be paid to a heat source that matches the building, an optimal size, low noise emissions and an environmentally friendly refrigerant. Hybrid heat pumps may also be suitable for unrenovated houses on a temporary basis. Heat pumps should also be serviced and checked regularly to ensure that they remain functional for a long time.

Generate your own energy: sun, wind and geothermal energy

It can also be worthwhile for building owners to examine the possibilities of generating their own electricity. Not every residential building is suitable for the installation of a solar system - but if a house has a flat roof or a large garage, for example, the situation may be different. Geothermal energy, i.e. the use of geothermal energy, is an energy source that has been little used to date - it is worth checking whether this technology makes sense at the respective location and for the respective property, especially for major renovations or even new builds. The possibility of generating their own electricity not only gives building owners and users a good feeling that they are making a contribution to environmental protection, but also makes them a little more independent of the public supply grid.

Monitor and communicate energy consumption precisely

Even the best refurbishment measures cannot have their full effect if building users do not pay attention to energy-efficient behavior. Many people are still unaware of how much their own behavior affects their energy consumption and therefore their energy costs. One way to make this connection clear is to integrate multi-metering into the building - a technical upgrade that gives building users digital access to their energy consumption data. The digital meters record consumption precisely in real time and the data can be accessed online. For example, residents can see whether an unusually high amount of heating energy has been consumed in a particular room or period and draw conclusions about their own consumption behavior. It is therefore worth equipping the property technically so that the consumption data can be called up, as this indirectly contributes to the energy savings account.


If a property is to be renovated to improve its energy efficiency, external insulation is the best known, but only one of many possible measures. In order to find out which measures will best improve the energy efficiency of the property, it is necessary to get an overview and draw up a renovation plan, whereby the sequence of the individual renovation measures should also be sensibly coordinated. In most cases, a combination of different, even smaller refurbishment measures is the most suitable way to save energy, whereby ideally adapted user behavior should also be taken into account.

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