The Energy Efficiency Directive is an opportunity for real estate – not a threat

The EU’s future energy efficiency directive addresses property owners, from single-family residents to shopping center entrepreneurs. How to respond as cost-effectively as possible?


The CEO of nolla_E, Nikolas Salomaa, compares the directive to the Road Traffic Act and the mandatory use of seat belts. He sees the regulation as a good thing for the building, for the environment and for the people – who pay the bills.

– If the property’s energy rating is F or G, there is a definite need to take action. Especially in those energy categories, energy renovations have a very short payback period. We are talking about a few years, Salomaa says.


The Journey towards energy efficiency starts with a calculation

According to Salomaa, what is done to the building is individual, but every building can be transformed, not just becoming less energy consuming but really energy efficient.

– The building is modeled, all possible energy efficiency measures and their combinations are calculated, and the most profitable combination for the property is found.

The same principle applies, whether it is a granny´s cottage or a shopping mall. In more complex buildings there are about thousand different energy efficiency measures from which, typically about 40 measures taken together form the most profitable combination of energy efficiency measures.


Copying a neighbor does not pay off

The typical way of starting a renovation is that we are forced to face high costs, or as required here, official regulations. Someone knows someone who installed geothermal heating and got a 10-year payback period.

– Way more important than the form of heating are saving measures. The fact that consumption is cut is always more profitable.

There are thousands of variables. According to Salomaa, it is not worth copying your neighbor, but you need your own, individual calculation for the building.

– We have made calculations for more than a thousand buildings, and no two have come across the same.

Savings is the sum of many factors

In a conventional energy renovation, the payback period is 10–14 years. Salomaa promises that the for a renovation project, that includes nolla_E payback period is 3–6 years. This cannot be achieved simply by switching to geothermal heating system.

– The most profitable energy efficiency measures are often small, unsexy measures that nobody benefits from selling, and which do not have a marketing machine behind them.

According to Salomaa, instead of one large-scale operation, it is usually more profitable to do ten smaller ones. But how can ten measures be a more affordable overall solution than, say, geothermal heat?

– Because three of these are free, three are inexpensive, and four cost some money, but still only a fraction compared to an over-sized geothermal system.