Upgrade Your House to Save Energy

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energy-auditYou want to do something about the energy efficiency of your house? But where to start? Solar panels are very popular, but are maybe not the most efficient first step in your personal energy investment program.

First of all, you need to get the picture of the current status: an energy audit would be a good start. Optimizing your insulation and in door ventilation would be wise areas to investigate first.

An efficient heating system and looking at your potential electricity savings would be advisable as your next steps. Only then, solar panels should come into the picture. As from 2010, the Brussels Region has shifted its priorities in subsidizing these investments reflecting the right order of your investments. Here is their overview:

  1. Energy audit
  2. Insulate your roof (including green roof tops)
  3. Insulate windows (and doors)
  4. Insulate walls (and floors)
  5. Install a ventilation system (e.g. mechanical with heat recuperation)
  6. Replace your old heating system with a high efficient one.
  7. Optimize your system to heat up water (with gas or solar energy)
  8. Choose energy efficient electrical household appliances
  9. Choose energy efficient lighting (with fluorescent (TL), saving light bulbs, IRC halogen bulbs or LED)
  10. Go for renewable energy systems (like solar panels or a heating pomp)

The Brussels Region has energy subsidies for most of these and renovation subsidies for 2, 3, 4 and 6 (French info, Flemish info). In all of Belgium, you can get tax rebates from the federal government for 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 and local subsidies from several communes on top. Using renewable and ecological material also gives right to higher levels of subsidies. For Flanders and Wallonia, we refer you to our other articles.

As from 2010, the value of the green electricity certificates has gone down, both in Flanders and in Brussels. On the other hand, the price of solar panels has gone down as well, which makes up for the loss in income. Both renters and owners are eligible to most of these subsidies. In this regard, we refer you to our previous article on this topic and suggest you learn about energy performance certificates. Officially recognised experts to make energy audits and others who can make the energy performing certificates are listed on the official websites of the regional authorities.

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