How to take advantage of the Support Program for More Sustainable Buildings

2020/10/31

By Raúl Ferrão

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Programa de Apoio a Edifícios Mais Sustentáveis logo | Image by Fundo Ambiental 

Do you own an apartment or house built before the year 2006? Is your electricity bill higher than it should be and do you think the comfort inside your home could be improved? Well, we have some good news for you.


Applications are open for Fundo Ambiental, non-refundable, which contribute to refurbishment works, up to a maximum of € 15000.00, provided that these works improve the energy efficiency of your property. These improvement measures must be reflected in the property's energy performance certificate. It is also necessary that the applied systems (windows and others) are from Classe + suppliers.

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Classe + registered trademark logo | Image by ADENE


Works of various types are eligible, with maximum amounts of support that vary, depending on the type of work. Number 6.3 of the Regulamento de Atribuição de Incentivos - Programa de Apoio a Edifícios Mais Sustentáveis (Despacho nº 8745/202) is very explicit:

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For example, if you replace the windows in your apartment and the value of that work is € 5000.00, including VAT, the State will transfer € 1500.00 to your account, which you will not have to refund. If the value of the work is more modest, let's say €2000.00, as the participation is 70%, the savings are even more expressive, since in this case, the State will reimburse a total of € 1400.00. Think about it: for just € 600.00, you will have replaced windows in your home, resulting in better immediate comfort and energy (and monetary) savings that will extend over time while you live there.

The value of the co-payment really starts to increase when we start talking about housing. If, in your case, you are the owner of a house built before 2006 and intend to remodel, have a look at this example: replacement of windows, thermal insulation on roof, floors and walls (for example, hood), installation of solar thermal panels for heating sanitary water, replacement of taps and flushing cisterns. In this case, depending on the total value of the intervention, the State may contribute up to a value of € 7500.00, the maximum limit per independent unit or single-family building.

The people that can take maximum advantage of these funds are those that own multifamily buildings or owners of more than one residential property, because the support is cumulative and up to a maximum of € 15,000.00.

To compete for these funds, you will need to register on the Fundo Ambiental website and follow the steps indicated by them. Do not take too long, because the amount of support is limited to a total of one million, seven hundred and fifty thousand euros in 2020 and two million, seven hundred and fifty thousand euros in 2021. As of today, the Fundo Ambiental reports a total of 1638 applications received. Among other requirements, you will need the energy performance certificate containing the improvement measures that are intended to be carried out, declarations of non-debt to the Social Security, the Tax Authority, the Urban Building Book of the property and the Conservatory's Certificate. You will also need to indicate the NIB of the account to which the State will transfer the amount of the contribution and a company with a construction permit.

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Neves & Ferrão's stand at the Real Estate Exhibition of Portugal in 2019 | Image by Neves & Ferrão

Who is eligible to benefit from these funds? They are the owners of existing and occupied dwelling buildings, single-family, autonomous units in multifamily housing buildings or multifamily buildings, built until the end of 2006.

What are the eligible expenses? Those that comply with the requirements of the tax and contributory situation, have a date after September 7, 2020 and have the sole purpose of achieving the objectives of the Support Program. This also means that there are a number of expenses that are not eligible, such as: acquisition of real estate, construction expenses that are not specifically the work prescribed in the energy certificate, regardless of whether or not they are necessary to implement the improvement measures - what does this mean?

For example, suppose that the supply and application of the new windows costs €2000.00 - this amount is eligible. Now imagine that to apply these windows, it will be necessary to remove the old ones and add to the sill, because the new windows are thicker than the old ones and that this operation has a cost of € 500.00 - this value is no longer eligible .

Among others, maintenance costs for installed systems are also not eligible, for example, the maintenance of solar thermal or photovoltaic panels. 
For the list of ineligible expenses, see No. 9 of Despacho nº 8745/2020.

The stated intention of these measures is to stimulate the economy in an atypical year in which we were particularly affected by the pandemic and, at the same time, to reduce the country's energy dependence, taking another step towards circular economy and carbon neutrality. In any case, it is not every day that the State is willing to contribute to the remodeling of your home. So, in my opinion, it is worth taking advantage of this fund before it depletes.
 


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