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New energy certification confuses sellers

Many people selling single family dwellings will have to provide a certificate detailing the energy consumption of the building as of next month. However, the formula used to calculate energy consumption is bamboozling sellers. Furthermore, the certified level of usage can differ greatly from the dwelling’s actual consumption, according to the Finnish House Owners’ Association.

Energiatodistus miehen käsissä.
Image: Petteri Juuti / Yle

As of next month, the provision of an energy consumption certificate will be mandatory in the sale or rental of a detached dwelling built in or after 1980. The certificate must include the theoretical consumption of the building, weighted by a multiplier that takes into account the form of energy used.

Electrical energy, for example, is seen as the biggest culprit and as such, it is given a multiplier of 1.7. Fossil fuels, such as wood or pellets have a multiplier of 1. Electrical heating is the most dominant factor with regards to energy usage.

Certification may lead to inconsistent house prices

The Finnish House Owners’ Association believes that the method for calculating the figures that appear in an energy certificate will lead to unfair results.

“The calculated consumption amount may be up to three times the actual consumption, and the House Owners’ Association believes that this is too big a difference,” says the organisation’s head, Juha Saarimäki.

As a result, the association has started to compile a citizens’ initiative to amend the relevant legislation. The association would like to see certificates always marked with the actual energy consumption and demands that energy form multipliers would not be used in the energy certificates of family dwellings built before 2008.

To date, some 4 000 people have signed the initiative.

Over half a million – or more than every second Finnish family home – has electrical heating. Those that do fare much worse when it comes to energy consumption.

In many European countries the usual multiplier for electrical energy is 2.5, but in Finland, it was decided to have a lower multiplier, as the heating is in many cases produced centrally, which is a more energy-efficient process.

Consumption a matter of lifestyle

Hannu Partanen, a building health expert from Kuopio’s Finnenergia Ltd., says that for small dwellings theoretical usage and actual usage really depends on the people who are living in the building.

Understanding the implications of energy usage is crucial to drafting a sale price for the house, says Partanen. He also thinks that the calculations behind the energy certificates are confusing sellers.

According to Partanen, the new certification could lead to large discrepancies in price.

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