Sunday, March 31, 2013

High Noon at the Insulation Panel

The building insulation ROI shoot-out in Germany is so ON.

The return on investment (ROI) for thermal insulation isn't there, says a new study commissioned by the German government bank that provides grants and loans for these building measures.

We have another told you so in a post from last December, A smaller carbon footprint, that supports the findings of the study to some extent.

The Swiss institute that did the study says that the savings until 2050 are roughly half of the cost, but there are doubts about their estimates of price increases for heating over that period.

Our own limited calculation described in the old post appears more realistic, in other words, if you have all the work done by the expensive professionals, you will break even by year 30 (which is five years over the period of 25 used in the study).

If you can do a substantial part of the work yourself, however, you are golden, even if you consider the cost of your own labor.

That aspect, an important one outside of the big cities, is missing from the study.

As is the simple fact that the thermal insulation standards for new construction are so high that an old, not insulated building won't fetch anything if you try to sell it 20 years from now.
No one forces you to insulate an owner occupied home to the new standards. A quarter of the thickness will save you 50% on the oil or gas bill anyway.

Another study, done a while ago, comes closer to our own calculations.

For rented properties, the shoot-out at the insulation panel over the next few weeks will not be so much about where the ROI point is but who pays whom: you can let the renters pay high energy bills to the utilities and the oil and gas countries, or you re-cyle most of that money into the local economy.

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