The Flemish government already pays premiums to the owners of energy-conscious homes, in the form of a rebate on the real estate tax known as the onroerende voorheffing, which is collected in Flanders by the regional government. At present, rebates amount to 20% or 40% depending on the level of energy-saving achieved. The rebate runs for a period of 10 years.
Under the new system, announced this week by energy minister Freya Van den Bossche and budget minister Philippe Muyters, the rebate would increase to 50% and could even go as high as 100%, but only for a period of five years. In return, the conditions for qualifying for the premium would become stricter, taking account of the evolution in building materials that has taken place since the current system came into operation in 2009.
“An energy-saving house may cost a bit more, but it does deliver a lifelong discount on energy bills,” Van den Bossch (pictured) said. “With this premium, we hope to encourage families to build even more energy-conscious houses.”
“With this higher contribution,” added Muyters, “we’ll be motivating the front-runners and helping bridge those difficult early years” before the investment begins to pay off.