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Energy efficient houses with GEFF home mortgages or green consumer loans

24 October 2017

If you’ve been wondering how to turn your home into a low-energy house, here are some simple and effective ways to get your dream real by using the GEFF – the Green Economy Financing Facility of BERD. We discussed with Ana-Maria Ivan, Project Manager of the Green Economy Financing Facility in Romania – GEFF, about the simplest solutions for having a “green house”, but also about more complex approaches, throughout which each of us can get exactly what it is needed and what each of us finds is missing in their home, whether we are talking about energy-efficient equipment or energy-producing technologies.

Dear Mrs. Ana-Maria Ivan, which is the simplest way to have a “green house”?

The simplest way to have a green house is to buy a house that is already green! And now you can take this step using the GEFF program if the house has a “Class A” Energy Performance Certificate and if the funding is performed through one of the GEFF Financial Institutions (IFP). In Romania, Transilvania Bank is the first IFP to provide a GEFF mortgage dedicated to purchasing energy-efficient new homes or upgrading an existing one to increase energy efficiency by at least 20%. A lot of useful information about this type of funding can be found on the facility’s website or by contacting the Tractebel Engineering consultant by sending an e-mail to or by using the help-line 031 22 48 104.

Also, in order to have an energy efficient energy house with low consumption, GEFF also finances investments in energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting, air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers, windows and doors, thermal insulation for buildings, photovoltaic solar panels, solar panels for hot water, heat pumps, gas condensing gas boilers, biomass boilers that can be identified directly from the Technology Selector available on the facility’s website.

These are simple, handy solutions, many of which are easy to identify through the “energy labeling” system at EU level as being low-energy consumption products.

What are the benefits of using GEFF program for residential customers?

GEFF comes to Romania’s residential sector with a program of 70 million Euro for the next three years with:

  • 70 million euros financing through local partner banks
  • free technical consultancy
  • a fast and bureaucratic free system for bank customers eager to invest in reducing energy consumption or purchasing a new energy-efficient home.

How can you turn your home into a low-energy consumption house?

Increasing the energy performance of our homes is easy! We only have to make wise choices when buying home appliances, heating, cooling and lighting equipment, and rehabilitating our homes. I will give just a few examples of what we can take to increase the efficiency of our homes.

Improved lighting

Energy-saving measures can start by replacing old lamps with LED lamps available in a wide range of “hot” and “cold” colors, which can save up to 80% energy consumption. You can add installation elements such as “presence sensors” that stop lighting when you leave the room, simple daylight controls, and even lighting control through specialized applications installed on your smartphone.

A cool house

We can make the house cool in a number of ways, from low-cost simple ones, such as the shading of the South-facing windows, to more sophisticated methods like the installation of heat pumps. But sometimes the most practical solution is to install an air conditioner that generates lower energy costs, so it is worth considering.

  • selecting an energy-efficient model
  • correct dimensioning of the space to be cooled
  • shading of the South facing windows
  • house insulation, as insulation keeps cool the air-conditioned rooms during the summer, and warm the heated rooms in winter.

Replacing a new, efficient and properly sized old air conditioner can reduce your cooling invoices by 45% – or even more if you also apply the shading and thermal insulation measures.

How do home appliances contribute to the energy consumption of the home?

Did you know that your fridge consumes more electricity than the washing machine? It’s surprising, but it’s true for most homes. This is because the refrigerator consumes electricity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, being one of the largest energy consumers in our homes. Even if you already have a fairly modern model, replacing an A+ class fridge or freezer with an A+++ model can reduce your electricity consumption by half. Replacing a 10-15 year old refrigerator with a new A+++ class can bring electricity savings of up to 70%.

In most cases, people – and institutions also – are thinking about the outer isolation of buildings. How effective is such an investment?

The first step can be to replace the old windows, and this is an investment that saves money for heating, but also for cooling the house, because we keep it warm in winter and cool in the summer.

Ideally, the replacement of windows and doors should be done together with the thermal insulation of walls, basement and roof to maximize energy savings and comfort. The combined effect of door and window replacement and thermal rehabilitation reduces winter heating costs and summer cooling costs by more than 30%. In addition, you improve the look and the feel of the house.

Through the GEFF program you can also obtain funding for energy producing systems at household level. Are these systems energy efficiency tools?

A photovoltaic system installed on the roof of the house turns the sunlight into free electricity. A photovoltaic system compensates the electricity consumption by 1:1, that is, each 1 kWh generated on the roof is 1 kWh that we do not buy from the electricity grid.

Also, domestic hot water should not be so expensive! Hot water costs for individual consumption, laundry and dishwashing, as well as home cleaning are a substantial percentage of the household spending. A solar system that produces hot water system, pre-heats the water and introduces it into the existing hot water system, thus reducing the associated gas, electricity or other fuels consumption. This usually brings substantial cost savings during the summer, good spring and autumn savings and reasonable winter savings.

Vacuum tube solar panels represent the best technology in present. Flat-panel solar panels are cheaper, but far less efficient. A well-insulated water tank and an energy-efficient boiler are other solutions for days when only the solar system is not enough, as it usually reduces the cost of domestic hot water by 65%.

In addition to photovoltaic panels, do we have other types of energy generation systems at the household level?

Heat pumps are a heating and cooling solution for houses with gardens. The land under our homes and gardens always remains at an approximately constant temperature. A well-designed heat pump system can be used both in the warm season to cool the air in the home and in the winter to warm it up. Although heat pump systems use electricity, a well-designed system can provide heating, hot water and cooling at much lower costs than heating, hot water and conventional cooling systems.

At the same time, the heat pump systems are not suitable for any consumer. These are better justified for homes where electricity is used for heating and cooling. Replacing the old heating and cooling systems using electricity with an electrical system with a ground-water heat pump can reduce energy consumption by up to 80%.

Which type of power plant is optimal for maximum energy efficiency?

Gas condensing heat exchangers have a great performance! First, because a conventional heat exchanger evacuates hot combustion gases directly through the exhaust stack, while a condensing heat recovery plant recovers the heat from the exhaust fumes and reuses it for preheating the water in the boiler. The result is more heat with less money. Replacing an old thermal plant with a condensing heat plant can reduce natural gas consumption by up to 20%.

Regarding the biomass thermal plants, they use the oldest fuel that mankind knows – wood. Modern technologies are clean, cheap, simple and environmentally friendly heating solutions for our homes. Biomass thermal plants often use inexpensive fuel such as wood and wood briquettes. Pellet plants are a more expensive but more convenient solution because a pellet plant can “fuel” itself with fuel. With regard to energy savings, replacing an old, simple biomass plant with a modern and more efficient thermal plant can reduce fuel consumption by 20%.

The BERD’s Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) provides funding from the participating financial institutions for the types of investment described in this article. The Romanian Facility is a product of BERD, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in cooperation with GEF, the Global Environment Facility and TaiwanICDF, the International Cooperation and Development Fund of Taiwan.

The Transilvania Bank is the first Romanian bank to participate in GEFF. On the GEFF Romania website you have access not only to financial information, but also to a technology selector by choosing the right route to make your home energy efficient in a simple and inexpensive way.

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