The Greek government is preparing to launch another round of subsidies through the program called “Save 2024” in the second half of 2024 that will also help reduce emissions of buildings.

About “Save 2024”

According to reports at To BHMA, the Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy is designing a new financial aid program that will release 870 million euros in a very different way than last year.

The Ministry will mobilize around 700 million euros in funding from the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) and 170 million euros in REPowerEU and is considering changing the way this new round of funding is administered, eligibility criteria, and its overall focus, according to sources at To BHMA.

Building on its experience from the “Save 2023” funding, the Ministry observed that poor and even middle income houses often abandon their efforts to implement energy upgrades to their houses on account of the high material costs.

Additionally, the Ministry has identified a need to further centralize the process with the assistance of companies, which will effectively “represent” the consumer, as opposed to citizens who undertake upgrades on their own with the help of their own personal engineers and contractors.

Importantly, however, the new tranche of aid will incorporate the need to reduce emissions and focus on decarbonization, as opposed to just reducing energy costs. For this reason the new round will support installation of technologies such as heat pumps.

New Rules on Building Emissions from the European Parliament

The repositioning of the program occurs against backdrop of new regulations constantly pouring in from the European Parliament (EP), with the Parliament ruling just last week that all new buildings must be zero-emissions from 2030.

Of course, the rules will have to passed through the Council of Ministers to come into force, but the decision highlights the commitment of Europe to push ahead with its ambitious Green Deal program.

In its press release on the rule, the European Parliament highlights that “The proposed revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive aims to progressively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption in the EU building sector, and make it climate neutral by 2050. It also aims to have more worst-performing buildings renovated and improve information-sharing on energy performance.”

The Targets of the EP’s Directive

  • The new targets of the Directive are:
  • All new buildings should be zero-emission as of 2030
  • New buildings occupied or owned by public authorities should be zero-emission as of 2028 and consider the production and disposal of construction products used to build it
  • Residential buildings must reduce the average primary energy used by at least 16% by 2030 and at least 20 to 22% by 2035
  • Member states must renovate the 16% worst-performing non-residential buildings by 2030 and the worst-performing 26% through minimum energy performance requirements by 2033

Public and non-residential buildings should have solar panel installations, if possible, and on all new residential buildings by 2030.

Member states must stop subsidizing stand-alone fossil fuel boilers by 2025, and develop plans to decarbonize heating systems and phase out fossil fuels in heating and cooling by 2040. Aid can still be given for hybrid heating systems that use a considerable share of renewable energy, such as those combining a boiler with a solar thermal installation or a heat pump.

Important Exceptions for Greece

As of now the EP has announced two key exceptions to the above rules, one of which is particularly important for countries like Greece which are filled with old historical buildings. These buildings, which are officially deemed to be “heritage buildings”, may be excluded from the rules.

In addition to this, so are agricultural buildings, those with a particular architectural or historical value, and even churches and places of worship, says the EP.

The Challenge of Implementation in Greece

To BHMA noted that the average energy upgrade cost of 2 to 3 classes is around 25,000 euros, resulting in a bill of over 32 billion euros for buildings alone. And this may not be the end of it, because gas and oil burners will have to be changed to heat pumps from 2040.  This means that the networks and subsidies the country is currently building will all be obsolete.

The source told To BHMA that 70 billion euros is needed for residential buildings alone, with maybe another 30 billion necessary to cover industrial, business and public buildings. But there simply isn’t enough public funding available to fund the transition, which means that private capital will have to be mobilized.