© Kees van de Veen

95% of Flemish houses in need of renovation by 2050

If Flanders is to meet its energy goals 95% of all houses will need renovating by 2050.  This is the conclusion that can be drawn from research undertaken by Steunpunt Wonen, a research group that includes scientists from the universities of Leuven, Brussels (VUB) and Antwerp (UA). The renovations will require annual investments worth 5 billion euros.

The Flemish government wants all houses to meet the highest requirements and elementary safety and health norms by 2050.  The researchers have calculated that at the present rate of renovation this goal will not be met. It’s above all among people with fewer opportunities that renovation efforts are lagging behind. There’s a lack of financial means and adequate information.  Many owners aren’t convinced the refurbishments are needed.  Moreover, there is a shortage of skilled staff to undertake the work.

The research group argues in favour of offering grants and subsidies for the renovation work with the highest priority and for grants to be targeted on the groups that need them most.  Groups with fewer opportunities need guidance, while everybody can benefit from public awareness campaigns.

Flemish housing minister Matthias Diependaele (Flemish nationalist) insists that the Flemish government has already included most of the group’s recommendations in its policies.  Mr Diependaele is heartened by the fact that many Flemings are convinced of the need for renovations aimed at saving energy.