In housing companies, decisions concerning energy renovations are made by the housing company’s general meeting. Every homeowner, i.e. shareholder in the housing company, has the right to propose matters for discussion at the general meeting. Take the most effective climate action of the year and propose to your housing company that you start taking steps to improve energy efficiency in a financially viable manner.
The price of an energy efficiency survey is very small in relation to the budget of a residential block of flats, typically only a few thousand euros. There is potential for cost-effective improvement in nearly all blocks of flats. An energy efficiency survey helps establish what the different improvement options, their prices and their payback periods are. Commissioning an energy efficiency survey does not impose any binding obligations the housing company.
- 1Now is the time to act – ask for the matter to be included in the agenda!
Housing companies typically hold their general meetings in the spring. You have the right to request that matters be included in the general meeting’s agenda if you own a flat in the housing company.
The general meeting can only make decisions on matters that shareholders have been notified about in advance via the general meeting’s agenda. Be sure to notify your housing company’s board of directors and/or property manager about the matter to be discussed in good time before the general meeting.
- 2The first step is authorising the board of directors
Since renovations require careful planning and various surveys, you should not jump directly to proposing an energy renovation project to the general meeting.
What you should propose instead is for you housing company’s board of directors to be authorised to commission an energy efficiency survey, which will comprehensively review all the ways in which the building’s energy consumption could be cost-effectively improved.
Once the survey has been carried out, it will be much easier to assess what kind of energy renovations you want to undertake and to get the other shareholders of your housing company to support the more detailed planning of such renovations.
- 3Prepare a clear proposal
Here is an example of how to formulate a proposal for the general meeting’s agenda:
As a shareholder, I hereby request that the general meeting discuss and decide on the execution of an energy efficiency survey for the housing company. I therefore request that this proposal concerning an energy efficiency survey be added to the agenda for the general meeting.
The survey should be sufficiently comprehensive in scope to determine at least the viability of different energy efficiency measures, the possibilities and viability of increasing renewable energy and the potential benefits of changing the primary heating system.
If financially viable measures for improving energy efficiency are identified in the survey, the housing company could start promoting their realisation based on a separate decision. Determining the financial viability of the measures does not impose any binding obligations on the housing company and is a risk-free undertaking.
The commissioning of an energy efficiency survey is also supported by the fact that in 2020–2022, ARA is granting energy subsidies for renovations for improving energy efficiency. What this means in practice is that if viable measures are identified in the survey, there is financial support available for their realisation in the next few years.
I hereby propose that a decision be made at the general meeting about the commissioning of the energy efficiency survey, with the actual commissioning to be handled collaboratively by the housing company’s board of directors and property manager.
- 4Participate in the general meeting
You do not need to know how the energy efficiency of the housing company could be improved or be familiar with technical details. That is exactly why an energy efficiency survey is commissioned: so that the viability of available options can be evaluated and calculated by professionals. After the survey, the results can be discussed and potential renovations can be planned in greater detail.
- 5Utilise free-of-charge expert help
Would you like advice or for an impartial expert to participate in your housing company’s general meeting? The City of Helsinki provides housing companies with free-of-charge help at the different stages of energy renovations. Read more »