Energy efficiency subsidy programs: How to qualify

Save energy and money. The government is offering incentives.

People who build their homes to be energy efficient are thinking about the future. This kind of foresight is being rewarded. The federal government, cantons, and municipalities have various energy efficiency subsidy programs in place. Learn what subsidies are available as well as the right way to apply for funding.

Twofold benefits of energy efficiency

It pays off to incorporate energy efficiency when building or renovating. First, it is worthwhile for homeowners to consume less energy and leave a smaller ecological footprint. Second, energy efficiency can also have financial benefits. Those who use less energy have lower bills. Good thermal insulation, an efficient heating system, and using sunlight to heat water helps to save money over the long run.

Furthermore, the federal government and the cantons have set a goal of reducing energy consumption in Switzerland. That is why they are offering subsidies to support numerous measures aimed at boosting energy efficiency. As part of the building and renovation program sponsored by the federal government and cantons, funding is offered for up to 18 individual projects. This includes, among other things, earning a cantonal energy certificate for buildings (CECB), fitting out a building in accordance with Minergie standards, selectively installing thermal insulation, or installing a heat pump. However, the specific projects that are funded and under what conditions depends on the canton and municipality. You can find an initial overview for your city or town on the Energiefranken website or at your municipality's building authority.

Subsidies: Kinds of projects funded by the building and renovation program

Kinds of projects subsidized under the building and renovation program

The building and renovation program created by the federal government and cantons covers a variety of individual projects that, among other things, assure quality by means of Minergie certification or improve the CECB classification of the building envelope.

Qualifying for funding for renovations to improve energy efficiency

We explain what funding initiatives besides the building and renovation program are offering financial assistance with renovations aimed at boosting energy efficiency.

Improving energy efficiency
  • myclimate

The myclimate foundation promotes measures that increase energy efficiency. The myclimate heat pump subsidy program offers homeowners funding to replace fossil-fuel heating systems as long as the replacement heat pump has an output of 15 to 400 kilowatts (kW).

More details can be found here.

  • Energy Zukunft Schweiz

The association known as Energie Zukunft Schweiz pays subsidies in the form of a "climate bonus." In particular, the funding is given out for the replacement of heating systems that use fossil fuels with heat pumps and wood-burning heating units.

You can find out more here.

Reducing electricity consumption
  • ProKilowatt

ProKilowatt is a funding program created by the Federal Office of Energy. It supports measures that reduce electric power consumption. To receive the subsidies, individuals either need to submit an application for a project or register with a program run by ProKilowatt. Project grants are awarded on a competitive basis.

Additional details can be found here.

Using solar energy
  • One-time compensation (EIV, by its name in German)

One-time payments promote the installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems for generating electricity in Switzerland. The amount of funding granted depends on the size of the PV system. One-time compensation is offered for small photovoltaic systems (KLEIV) with an output of up to 100 kW peak (kWp) and for larger systems (GREIV) with a power output of more than 100 kWp. The task of awarding the funding has been assigned to Pronovo AG.

All cantons in Switzerland except St. Gallen and Zug offer subsidies for solar thermal energy and solar heating systems. You can find a subsidy calculator here.

Apply for funding ahead of time

With all these funding programs, it is important to find out as early as possible what financial support is offered in your city or town. That is because it can take quite a while for an application to be approved and for the funding to be secured. Furthermore, the application usually needs to be submitted before construction begins. That way, corrective action can still be taken during the planning stages if the construction project does not meet the funding requirements. Otherwise, you may be forced to cover the costs all by yourself.

To read what subsidies are available in a particular canton, visit this website.

Energy efficiency increases a property's value

Even if you have managed to secure government subsidies, they will, of course, cover only part of the cost of renovation for the purpose of energy efficiency. Homeowners are expected to pay the remainder. There are several financing options available besides freely disposable capital. Under certain conditions, homeowners can increase their existing mortgage or apply for a construction loan. Pillar 3a assets can also be withdrawn to carry out a renovation project.

Despite the financial expense, investing in energy efficiency pays off. It will not only lower your heating and electric bills, but it will also increase the value of your property. Even you sell your home later, the investments will not be in vain. What's more, renovations are rewarded with tax breaks. Some of the expenses can be deducted from your income taxes. To be on the safe side, you should first ask the federal government and your canton because the rules for doing so may differ depending on the situation.

Are you interested in renovating or building a new home, and do you have questions?

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