Comparing the financial impact of housing retrofit policies on Dutch homeowners

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The Renovation Wave is the latest addition to a series of European measures designed to incentivise investment in a low-carbon built environment. In terms of residential retrofits, research has focused on how structural measures can reduce costs through energy savings and improve affordability in the long term. However, it is less clear how retrofit policies can positively impact households with different income levels, energy costs and savings' opportunities across time. EU Member States have provided substantial funding for retrofitting in the form of grants, subsidised loans and tax deductions. This paper addresses with the Netherlands as case study the question: how do different retrofit measures affect the finances and affordability of homeowners in the short and longer term? Our numerical analysis is mainly based on the WoON 2018 dataset, a household-level survey. By focusing on household finances under different financing schemes, this paper aims to place renovation measures in the context of the housing affordability literature. User costs are one of the most important capital-based indicators of long-term affordability. In contrast, cash flows deal with the exchange of money and indicate financial access to housing at a given point in time. In the Dutch context of rising house prices, it is crucial to measure the short and long-term economic impact of energy efficiency measures, as they are likely to have a lasting impact on affordability. Our results show that depending on policy, a majority of homes could be retrofitted with a cost-neutral margin, depending on energy prices and post-retrofit savings. The main barrier to retrofitting is the upfront cost, which threatens short-term affordability. Loans, either subsidised or private, offer an alternative to upfront costs but reduce cost-neutrality. On the other hand, from a user cost perspective, retrofitting lowers costs in the long run. Finally, a cluster analysis shows that middle and higher income groups would be most likely to benefit from retrofitting. This raises the question of the regressive nature and targeting of flat-rate subsidies and tax deductions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012044
Pages (from-to)46DUMMY
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventSBE 2022 Delft Conference on Innovations for the Urban Energy Transition: Preparing for the European Renovation Wave - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 11 Nov 202213 Nov 2022


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