Energy-efficient retrofit of Hungary's biggest residential building completed


How can the energy efficiency of big panel buildings be improved and what are the economic, financial and social implications of such major retrofits? - These questions are at the core of the EU-funded Staccato research project, to which CEU's Center for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Policy (3CSEP) is contributing alongside several partner institutions from different European countries.

Hungary's largest residential building in the Óbuda district of Budapest, nicknamed "Faluház" (Village House) is the Hungarian demonstration site of Staccato. It was solemnly inaugurated on December 15, 2009, after half a year of comprehensive renovation. Speakers including Zoltán Varga, Hungary's Minister of Local Government, Péter Puskás, the Vice Mayor of Óbuda-Békásmegyer, and Lajos Kovács, CEO of district heating provider FŐTÁV, celebrated the retrofits that are supposed to reduce the dweller's energy demand by 50%, leading to significantly reduced CO2 emissions and at the same time alleviating the dwellers' financial burden of high energy costs.

The main components of the retrofit include thermal insulation of the whole building to a better level than currently required for new buildings; the exchange of 1,800 old windows for modern, energy-efficient 5-chamber windows; and the installation of 1,500 sqm of solar panels for water heating on the roof of the building.

The 3CSEP Staccato team, led by Prof. Alan Watt, is mainly responsible for socio-economic and policy research within the project. In the summer of 2009 a social survey among Faluház residents was conducted by 3CSEP to find out their attitudes towards the Staccato project and related energy and environmental issues. A summary of the survey results is available for download below.