A guide to foreigners wanting to apply for funding from ENOVAs house body improvement programme

Foreign customers, wanting to apply for financial support from ENOVA on house body improvements, often have a misconception of what it takes.

This is written for them.  Anyone may also contact ENOVA by chat, call or email, info is in the right column and at the bottom of their site.

Calling for an energy consultant to come and have a look, is the initial step of making a deal.  It is an advantage to do this before start-up, but it may also be done after the project is finished.  In those cases it sometimes appears obvious to me that the ENOVA demands are not met, and I recommend cancelling the case from then on.  They then pay only a minor fee for having me show up and involve.  Foreigners as well as native norwegians sometimes are confused by the overwhelming info on the ENOVA web pages and feel lost.

Below I state some basical facts everyone must know about the ENOVA funding:

1)   Merely giving your house a facelift does not qualify for support.

ENOVAs aim is to reduce the consumption of energy.  In this context, it means reducing the loss of heat through basement, walls and roof.  They provide house owners with incentives to do so, by partly financing energy loss reduction projects that have a certain effect.  If energy loss through the outer surfaces of your house is reduced by more than 30 % and also is lower or equal to the absolute limit values (depending partly on house area) you recieve some funding.

This means:
Replacing the windows is never enough to reach the necessary standards.  Replacing the old insulation is also never enough.  You have to increase the amount of insulation and thereby alter building components.  To achieve ENOVAs goal, normally you must combine many actions, such as installing better windows and increasing the insulation thickness in "the winter coat" around the heated area of the building.  If your basement is not heated, this means the floor above it.  If your attic is not heated, this means the attic floor.  Air leakage must be minimized, and normally a balanced ventilation system must be installed to achieve the goal.

2)   ENOVA do not pay the costs, they only help you out a little (if you have an ambitious plan).

They say up to 25 % or 100 000 Nkr on the lowest level (3) of support, where more than 50 % of my cases end up (check out the statistics page).  Such a project more often ends up costing more than 1 million, so then typical support will be about 10 % of the totals or less.  If you go for level 1, you may receive a maximum of 150 000, but this normally costs more to achieve.  Less than 10 % of my cases end up at level 1.

However, it was never an intention from ENOVA to support beautiful houses, but to give people incentives to do that little extra to reduce energy loss. It does not cost much extra to increase insulation thickness fram 5 cm to 20 cm. In that perspective, the ENOVA financial support is generous.

3)   It is best to have a plan for the upgrading process before you start.

If you do, you avoid the mistake mentioned on the top of this page.  Once we have met and I know what data to put into my calculation models, I will make a plan and have it approved in the ENOVA system.  Also I will provide you with alternatives, and then you can choose the plan that fits to your intentions and needs, no matter what plan lies in the ENOVA system.

Data input will normally have to be adjusted in the end anyway, when the final report is made.  If you find none of the suggested plans to be feasible, then so be it.  You will still get half of the bill for energy consultation covered by ENOVA, although you do nothing at all with your house.

4)   If you wait to engage me until after the project is carried through, you run a risk of being turned down

As I mentioned in the beginning of this page, it is also possible to call me up if no plan is made in advance, and you think your upgraded house is good enough to pass the test to qualify for financial support by ENOVA.  But this is more risky.  My bill will have to be paid by you in full no matter if the house is qualified or not.  This is because after all, I have to collect data regarding the state of the house before and now (after project is finished), put them into my calculations and see if the building passes the test.  I'll have to charge you for this work no matter what the outcome is.  Your worst case scenario is not very frightening though, you just spend a little more money on consultancy (ENOVAs 50 % share).

5)    At least 17,5 % of the heating energy has to come from renewable resources.

The easiest and cheapest way to come about this, is to have a wood oven (not an open fireplace, which wastes a lot of energy).

But there are also other, more Hi-Tech solutions that do not require a chimney, such as certain types of residential heat pumps.

6)    "Good enough" is a relative term

The builder may say that what he suggests, is good enough to give you significant reductions in heating costs.  And he is probably right.  But if he is not a certified energy advisor himself, and has not done the mandatory energy calculations to check if the house passes the demands of ENOVA, then you should not expect fundings from ENOVA despite the fact that the house is better than it used to.  If the house upgrading is "good enough",  is it then good enough for you, for me, for your neighbour, for the carpenter, or good enough for ENOVA?  They demand that you use someone they qualified.

7)    For new homes, rules and regulations are different than for older houses to be upgraded.

In our context, to calculate the total energy loss for your house as a whole is the preferred method, not to look at the properties of each single component to see if it complies with the standards.  This method gives us a little freedom, too.  If your basement already is made once and for all and is heated, but leaks a lot of energy, it is possible to compensate for that by overdimensioning insulation elsewhere in the building, or using high quality windows in stead of regular ones.  Also, if you live in an old house and are not allowed by the authorities to change windows or other exterior, but are free to do what you want on the inside, still it may be possible to improve the building so much that it meets the requirements of ENOVA (at least in theory).

With these warnings in mind, do not hesitate to send me an email.