Hungarians believe they need EU subsidies to modernise their homes

94% of the Hungarian public finds it reasonable that there should be tenders for EU funds for the energy performance retrofitting of homes — found the national, large sample survey of the Hungarian Energy Efficiency Institute and Energiaklub. The large majority of households would not modernise their homes if they could only rely on their own savings and bank loans.

In its decree[1] issued in late November 2015, the Hungarian government declared it would encourage residential energy efficiency development projects solely on the basis of bank loans instead of EU funds. The government plans to make ender subsidies available only to state and religious institutions. However, recently published data from the Hungarian Energy Efficiency Institute (MEHI) and Energiaklub reveal that 95% of Hungarians believe that the state should primarily support energy performance renovations of Hungarian homes.   94% of Hungarian residents think that it would be reasonable to support the modernisation of Hungarian homes to decrease utility costs.  The most important finding of this survey is that almost two-third of households will not start modernising their homes within the next three years if they can only rely on their own savings and bank loans, without tender funds.  János Lázár minister of the prime minister’s office announced last fall that in contrast with the original government plans, household energy efficiency retrofitting projects will not be funded by EU resources. But the opportunity is available: in the new EU funding period up to a hundred billion forints could be allocated to the renovation of Hungarian homes. The Environment and Energy Operational Programme approved by the Hungarian government and Brussels includes and specifically allocates investment subsidies for residential energy efficiency renovations. “Hungarian families do not usually have savings. They are waiting for the opportunity to make their utility-devouring homes more efficient and liveable in the framework of a predictable state program based on non-reimbursable subsidies. This new survey conducted by the Hungarian Energy Efficiency Institute and the Energiaklub makes it evident that a renovation trend will not begin solely on the basis of bank loans”, said Gabriella Szalai, MEHI programme director. It is understandable that the state expects households to contribute to the renovation of their homes. On the other hand, it is also a justified expectation on the part of the public that the state should support the modernisation of the huge pool of obsolescent, energy-wasting buildings as this would decrease Hungary’s dependence on energy and energy imports, improve the import-export balance, and create tens of thousands of jobs in rural areas as well”, said dr. István Bart, Board Member of the Energiaklub. The survey was conducted in December 2015, through telephone interviews with 1000 people. The survey is representative in terms of gender, age, education, regions and types of municipalities.  Further information: dr. István Bart (Energiaklub): 30/948-2246                 bart@energiaklub.hu[1] Government decree 1831/2015. (XI. 24.) (in Hungarian)