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Energy evaluation: everything you need to know about the building energy certificate of the Cantons

By Yann Girardet , June 27, 2022

Since 1 January 2017, any sale of a property or replacement of a heating system in the canton of Vaud, Fribourg and others must be accompanied by a Cantonal Energy Certificate for Buildings (fr: CECB or de: GEAK). In various other cantons, it is only optional and informative. What does this certificate consist of and how can it be obtained?

What is this certificate?

The cantonal energy certificate for buildings is a regulatory document with a standardised format and content. It is recognised throughout Switzerland and is valid for ten years from the date of issue. As its name suggests, it provides information on the energy performance of a building.

This performance is represented by two separate labels, each rated on an official scale from A to G. The first label indicates the efficiency of the building envelope; the second label indicates the overall energy efficiency. Based on these ratings, the future owner of a property for sale can get an idea of future heating costs. It can also help to assess whether or not thermal insulation work is necessary.

 

 

 

How can the CECB/GEAK be obtained?

The energy performance of a building is established via the organisation "building energy certificate of the cantons" by an independent and accredited expert, the list of which is available on the website of the association of the same name. The expert then carries out a number of measurements to classify the building according to the two scales mentioned above.

 

Carrying out the measurements and collecting the data

Once the expert has been selected, he or she will visit the building concerned by the application for a certificate. His objective is then to collect all the data required to draw up his report. These include the consumption of heating, hot water and electricity over the last three years, provided they are available. He also makes a number of measurements and observations concerning the heating installation and the building (age, type, surface area, etc.).

 

Issuing the report and energy labels

Using an online calculator, the expert can then draw up his four-page report, including the two energy labels. The first of these, called "efficiency of the building envelope", corresponds to the heat loss of the structure. This criterion is therefore directly linked to the insulation of the walls, roof, floor and windows, and takes into account the presence of thermal bridges.

The second label, "overall energy efficiency", is based on both the heat loss and the type of heating system installed. In short, this rating favours modern heating installations and renewable energy sources.

 

Costs and points to watch out for regarding the CECB/GEAK

Prices vary according to the hourly rate of each expert and the size of the property to be assessed. Subsidies may also be available in some cantons. The price is generally several hundred Swiss francs. It is therefore a good strategy to draw up several estimates beforehand in order to determine which expert will be entrusted with this mission. 

You can find the list of experts on the website: www.CECB.ch or www.GEAK.ch 

When the certificate is compulsory, as is the case in the canton of Vaud, it is important to anticipate its creation in view of a sale. Indeed, if the result shows a building that is expensive in terms of heating, the amount of the transaction will undoubtedly have to be revised downwards to compensate for both a high energy cost for the future buyer and the provision of thermal renovation work.

 

In addition, in the case of a flat that is part of a complex of buildings belonging to several owners, it is important to know that the authorisation of all the owners is required in order to be able to draw up the certificate. It is important that the energy audit is carried out for the entire building and not just for one flat. As a result, the cost of the certificate will be proportional to the size of the building.

 

Although restrictive, the establishment of the CECB/GEAK-certificate is essential in anticipation of a property sale, particularly in the canton of Vaud , Fribourg and others where it is now compulsory. Its summary in the form of an energy label has the advantage of being easy and quick to read, especially as this format is already well established in the minds of consumers, particularly with household appliances and cars.


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