Achieving energy efficient housing while maximising economic profit is the objective of RentalCal, an online tool designed by the University of Alicante together with experts from eight European countries. This is the first tool, open to anyone, designed for calculating the incentives and costs involved in energy efficiency renovation works in housing.
Most housing blocks in Europe are rental properties in need of major renovation works to meet the sustainability criteria laid down in EU regulations. This online tool, based on data such as the characteristics of dwellings, energy consumption, type of work and funding prospects, allows companies or individuals to assess the profitability of renovation works, no matter how much they know about energy efficiency.
RentalCal is an EU H2020 project, where the University of Alicante takes part alongside economists, architectural technologists, sociologists, urban planners and experts in new technologies from eleven institutions from Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, France, Poland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Their primary aim is to develop models and tools to assess the commercial viability of energy efficiency modernisation in rental housing.
"After three years of work, we have managed to design a comprehensive and complex online tool to support decision-making and encourage investment in energy efficient housing models," UA lecturer and principal investigator of the project in Spain Paloma Taltavull explains.
The profitability calculation tool RentalCal provides an open and objective comparison of investment opportunities available in the rental market. It adopts established methodologies and parameters to assess a variety of energy modernisation solutions and the costs of investment opportunities. The tool has a complete database on energy renovation costs, including energy use systems (electrical equipment, boilers, etc. ) as well as the works and labour costs incurred for housing insulation.
Moreover, a comprehensive analysis of real estate, financial and energy consumption models has been conducted by climate areas (continental, Atlantic and Mediterranean) across all the European countries involved in the project to automatically calculate tax deductions and benefits.
The tool, however, goes beyond economic efficiency calculations. "RentalCal calculates the Green Premium of one's dwelling, that is, its potential price increase after the renovation works have been completed. In the rental market, the price of energy efficient housing is higher," Taltavull explains.
The UA lecturer highlights that energy consumption efficiency not only gives added value to real estate property but is also a key factor considering that energy costs are expected to increase. In her view, there is no reason why housing renovation according to energy efficiency criteria should involve major costs.
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