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Energy efficiency renovation of buildings in Croatia

Posted on 24-03-2022

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Around 90% of Croatians are homeowners. Homeownership was catalysed by the “give-away” privatisation in the beginning of 1990s, and it slowly became a part of mainstream investment choices for many Croats. Due to a lack of financialisation and investment incentives, a house or an apartment is seen as a potential investment whose intrinsic value will only increase, and is suitable for passing on to next generations. The potential lack of liquidity of the housing market never hampered the enthusiasm of investment in housing. 

However, with ownership comes responsibilities in terms of asset maintenance. Within the HESC project (Quality of living in the Housing Estates of the socialist and post-socialist era: a comparative analysis between Slovenia and Croatia), a survey was conducted among apartment representatives of 353 buildings in four large Croatian cities.

Many apartment owners who live in socialist built buildings (built between 1945 and 1990) are overall satisfied with the quality of that building. However, these buildings need substantial upkeep and renovation in terms of energy efficiency improvement, which proves to be costly, whilst many of the residents are not united and willing to bear the cost of renovation. 

This was the topic of today's public discussion organised by the HESC project, bringing together the main stakeholders involved in this issue, including the relevant ministry, local administration, funds, academics and agencies from the top and owners representatives from the bottom. 

Issues that prevent a large-scale renovation is the lack of funds that is secured by the ministry and a lack of willingness of households to invest their own funds. Funds secured by the government could cater to only 1 in 12 buildings that apply for the grant by the ministry (60% of the total investment), and households who do not get the funding from the ministry often are not willing or do not have sufficient funds to fund the renovation themselves. Moreover, it seems that the general condition of the buildings is sought to be improved by the ministry’s funding programme, not only targeting energy efficiency in terms of energy consumption and emissions. 

Some of the proposed solutions by the participants were reducing the bureaucracy of the application process for the funds issued by the ministry, introduction of subsidies for supply side, i.e. construction materials etc., establishment of a national buildings registry, other funding opportunities provided by publicly owned banks, and subsidies for funding the documentation needed to apply for the funds, that needs to be repeated every funding cycle. 


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