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Greek Homeowners Can’t Afford Energy-Friendly Renovation Plans

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Sotiris Dimitropoulos)

ATHENS - With the COVID-19 pandemic coming as Greece was beginning to speed recovery from a year decade-long economic and austerity crisis, homeowners who want to make their residences energy efficient now can’t.

Without state aid - the government has already poured more than 17.5 billion euros ($20.41 billion) into subsidies for workers laid off during lockdowns and to prop up their businesses - there’s little chance of so-called “green” fixes.

A survey by the Hellenic Property Federation (POMIDA) found that 65 percent of property owners want to renovate their houses to be more environmentally friendly but don’t have the money, reported the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The survey was part of wider research carried out during the first quarter of 2021 by the International Union of Property Owners (UIPI) in Brussels that included 31 organizations from 28 countries and represents the owners of up to 25 million dwellings across Europe.

UIPI’s aim was to assess European property owners’ capacity and willingness to renovate and how the pandemic affected their plans. Around 10,000 property owners participated in the survey, including 728 in Greece, the report said.

Most respondents want a greener economy although no government has moved to greatly expand the use of solar or wind power, still relying on the 19th Century idea of coal to generate electricity.

Those who want to make the renovations said they need incentives such as tax cuts, subsidies, loans and grants - which the government is doing in some areas to promote people switching to electric vehicles.

The financial crisis dealt a serious financial blow to many property owners, Nikos Tsatsis, chief development officer at Plasis Real Estate and Development, a real estate agency in Athens, told Xinhua.

“They do not have the same income as they had in the past and they find it difficult to finance a renovation project. There is a lack of liquidity and it is also difficult to get a loan,” he said.