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An energy audit is an assessment of your home, which highlights all the points to be improved in order to reduce your energy consumption.

An energy expert will come and check your heating system, insulation, hot water system and electricity consumption.
After the audit, you will receive a report containing an assessment of the situation in your home and recommendations for areas to improve.

Since their creation, demand for energy audits has been high and waiting lists can be long. Still, there is nothing stopping you from checking your energy consumption yourself.

The organisations offering energy audits are:

  • Brussels-Capital
  • Agence Bruxelloise de l'Energie (ABEA) performs energy audits in the Brussels-Capital region. One of its services is an energy information desk (Guichet Info-Énergie), where you will find facts and advice about your consumption.
    More particularly, you will find documents to help you check your energy consumption yourself:

  • Flanders
  • Flanders offers tax benefits for households that perform an energy audit or take steps (in accordance with the applicable regional legislation) to reduce their energy consumption. More information about this assistance is provided in the "Financial aid - grants" section.

    In Flanders, it is the Afdeling Natuurlijke Rijkdommen en Energie (ANRE) that performs energy audits.

  • Wallonia
  • In Wallonia, there is an Energy Desk for each province. Call 078 15 15 40, where an answering service will tell you the address and telephone number of your nearest desk. For more information about help related to the rational use of energy, visit the Energy Portal of the Walloon Region.

Tax relief for energy-saving investments

Whoever invests in energy-saving measures can benefit from tax relief in respect of this. Not only property owners can obtain it, but also lessees that invest in their rented accommodation.

You can obtain tax relief up to 40% on the costs that you have incurred up to a maximum of € 2,000 this year (2009: € 2,650). This amount is increased by € 600 (2009: € 790) for fitting solar panels.

Discount for the lessee

Lessees are also entitled if they can demonstrate that they have financed the energy-saving measures. If both the lessee and the lessor have both incurred costs, they can both apply for the rebate based upon their expenditure. This is also the case if there are different lessees that have each paid for energy-saving applications.

Double benefit

If you opt to fit solar panels on an existing residence or new build, then you can take advantage of a double benefit. On the one hand you take advantage of tax relief for energy-saving measures, and on the other hand you are also entitled to a deduction for your own, single residence that amounts to € 1,920 in 2008 (2009: € 1,990). For the first 10 years a further € 620 is added (2009: € 660) for and if you have 3 children then a further € 60 (2009: € 70) is added on top of that each year.

Solar panels must be fitted by a registered contractor. You are not required to fit the panels on the roof.

What investments still apply?

  • Costs for the maintenance of a boiler
  • Expenses for fitting all other items of equipment for geothermal energy provided the geothermal water pumps have the EC mark and the overall efficiency rating may not be less than 3.
  • Costs for a home energy audit provided that it is carried out in accordance with regional legislation.

Energy audits too expensive

From figures from Hilde Crevits, Minister for Energy, it is evident that only 614 energy audits have been carried out over the past two years. According to the minister the low uptake is attributable to their high cost price. An audit costs between 400 and 1,500 euros and the applicant is refunded 40 per cent, but many still find that to be too expensive.

Since the end of 2005 families with the Energy Advice Procedure (EAP) software can arrange to have an audit completed. An expert then checks on possible weak spots in your home: the heating system, insulation, the system for producing hot water, electricity consumption and the use of solar power. After the audit you are sent a report containing an evaluation of your home and recommendations for the points that need to be improved.

From the information from Minister Crevits it is evident that it is private individuals, in particular, that belong ‘to higher social classes’, who have an audit completed.  For this reason, the minister proposes simplifying the energy audit procedure, which should result in the cost price falling. Consideration is being given to the link with the software for drawing up an energy efficiency certificate for the sale and rental of property. The purpose should be to integrate the energy recommendations into the procedure for producing an energy efficiency certificate. “In this way it should be possible to still issue a well substantiated report including recommendations”, states Crevits.

(Source: De Morgen)

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