Vienna to improve quality of housing and comply with directive.
Austria has embarked upon an ambitious programme for improving the energy performance of buildings, which covers both rehabilitation and new construction projects.
Comprehensive promotional programmes at national and regional level are now being co-financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) under 150 million euros framework loan. The contract for an initial 50 million euros tranche has already been signed between the EIB and Bausparkasse der Oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG ("Erste BAU"), which will make the funds available to borrowers.
Through these promotional programmes launched by its national and regional governments, Austria is aiming to improve the quality of its housing. The EIB loan will be used to co-finance refurbishment schemes that will enhance the energy efficiency of residential and public buildings and also new housing with an energy efficiency performance substantially above the required minimum level in Austria. In this way, the country is seeking to increase the proportion of buildings that consume almost no energy and are supplied from renewable energy sources. These buildings are also referred to as "nearly zero energy buildings" (NZEB). Austria will thus comply with the EU directive requiring that all new buildings in the EU meet NZEB standards by 2021.
For public buildings, this requirement already comes into effect in 2019. The EIB loan will be available for projects leading to documented energy savings and or increased use of renewable energies. These may include, for example, improvements to building shells or heating systems. Projects that use renewable energies for heating and electricity are also eligible. Both private and public sector projects may benefit from the funds.
Acoording to EIB, an investment of 1 billion euros in thermal building measures creates around 12,000 additional jobs. In comparison, an equivalent investment in private consumption generates around 4,000 jobs and in exports around 6,000 jobs.