About 40% of the total energy use in Hungary is related to buildings, this is the amount we use to heat our homes, boil water, lighting, cooking, watching TV, etc.
Hungarian buildings in general are very old and outdated: nearly three-quarters of the 4 million homes need to be refurbished. Energy efficiency improvements – door and window replacement, external thermal insulation, modernisation of heating systems – could save more than 40% (152 PJ) of the total energy used in households. The highest energy saving potential in Hungary is offered by residential buildings. The calculation of the National Building Energy Performance Strategy supports this statement, planning a 40PJ savings (out of the total 49 PJ by 2020) through the modernisation of residential buildings. Energy efficiency improvements of our homes are among the best investment opportunities: they offer a higher yield than bank deposits. Building energy requirements are increasingly tight. Public buildings since 2015, private buildings from 2018 on have to meet the stricter requirements of the law: better insulated walls, doors and windows and efficient boilers have to be installed. From 2021 onwards the so-called nearly zero energy requirements have to be applied, which means that the construction of new buildings has to meet even higher energy efficiency requirements and also renewable energy has to be used. This is favourable for the households, as the energy savings during the life span of the building and products make up for the slightly higher initial costs. Our surveys show that each year one-fifth of the Hungarian population plan to refurbish their homes in the near future. Four out of ten households planning refurbishment are doing so because of the high utilities costs. More than three-quarters of the households with past refurbishments have achieved the expected savings or even more with the modernisation. Our surveys show that the Hungarian population is expecting state funding for the refurbishment of their homes: two-thirds of the households are not able to start modernising on their own. State funding of such projects supports the economy and the society as well: a 5-year funding program with an annual budget of 50 billion Forints (ca. 156 million euros) would create about 50,000 jobs a year. Taxes on products and labour would create several billions of Forints’ income for the country already in the first year of the program. Residential building modernisation is the most efficient and economical way of reducing energy dependence and achieving climate protection targets. Energy efficiency improvement of residential buildings is of national interest – this is the real utility cost reduction.