An energy-stingy or energy-hungry home?

When you find a residential property that interests you, make sure to review the property's energy certificate. The energy certificate describes the building's characteristics and energy consumption. It helps you compare the energy efficiency of different residential properties and anticipate their living costs.

Energy efficiency is a particular point of focus in the planning and design of new residential developments. An energy efficient home gives its occupant the greatest possible benefit while having the lowest possible impact on the environment. In daily life, this is reflected in reasonable maintenance costs and comfortable living.

What does the energy class indicate?

Sellers and lessors must present an energy certificate for all newly constructed homes, apartments and relatively new detached or semi-detached houses that are offered for sale or rent. For apartment blocks, the energy certificate is prepared for the building as a whole. Apartment-specific certificates are not required.

Each building's energy class is displayed on the housing companies' information pages, and the energy certificate can be obtained from the housing sales office.

The energy certificate specifies the building's energy class on a scale of A to G. In order to be in energy class A, the building must have energy production of its own. Newly constructed homes are typically in class C.

Examples to illustrate the energy classification of buildings:

  • A: the building has energy production of its own
  • B: very low energy requirements, or a passive-energy building
  • C: new construction in 2012
  • D: a 1990s building that uses district heating, pellet or geothermal heat
  • E: a 1980s building that uses district heating
  • F: a 1970s building that uses oil heating.

How is the energy class determined?

For the purpose of the energy certificate, the building's E-number is determined based on its attributes. It does not depend on the occupant's consumption habits. The factors that affect the E-number include:

  • Land use planning and the building's location on the plot of land
  • Lighting and home appliances, ventilation, heating and cooling
  • Structural thermal insulation capacity, windows

The purpose of the energy classification is to promote more energy efficient construction. It benefits both individual home buyers and the environment by reducing heating costs while conserving natural resources and mitigating climate change.

Old vs. new energy certificates

The revised E-classification for energy efficiency has been valid since 2013, when the calculation method was changed slightly from the regulations that had been in force since 2007. For this reason, old and new energy certificates are not comparable.

The environmental impacts of the energy used by the buildings are now taken into account more precisely. The revised classification raised the bar for class A: In Helsinki, only one residential building was certified class A in 2013.

Read more about energy certificates on the Motiva website at www.energiatehokaskoti.fi  (in Finnish) and the Ministry of the Environment website.

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