How to insulate your facade to make it energy-efficient

Are you planning to renovate your facade? In conjunction with the Buildigo trade platform, we’ve answered the most important questions about facade insulation for you, providing you with an overview of energy-efficient facade renovation – plus all the advantages and disadvantages.


How to insulate your facade for energy efficiency

Why should you insulate your facade?

Adding thermal insulation when renovating your facade reduces heat loss by up to 75%. If you also replace or renovate old windows and insulate the roof when insulating the facade, you can save up to 40% on heating.

When should you renovate your facade?

When the outer shell of your building needs to be renewed at the very latest, you should consider renovating the facade to make it more energy-efficient. In addition, a modern facade renovation is worthwhile if the GEAK classifies your building as energy class E or lower according.

How do I renovate my facade for energy efficiency?

When renovating your facade for energy efficiency, an insulation layer of 15 to 25cm is applied to the stonework. The new facade is then installed on top of this. You can retain the architecture of your property or visibly change it – modern architectural techniques allow for a wealth of energy-efficient facade renovation design options.

What renovation options do I have?

You can choose between the following two energy insulation facade types:

Option 1: Ventilated facade

A ventilated facade changes the exterior architecture of your house. Insulating panels are used to mount the supporting structure on the insulation. This curtain construction holds the facade cladding and ensures sufficient distance from the insulation material. Air circulates in this rear ventilation space. This allows moisture to continuously escape from the building’s stonework. You can choose between the following materials for the cladding – wood, stone, metal, ceramic, plastic and fibre cement.

Advantages of a ventilated facade:

  • Exterior architecture can be changed in many ways

  • Wide choice of cladding materials

  • No mould on the stonework thanks to rear ventilation

  • Large areas are covered quickly and robustly

  • Damage to the facade can be easily repaired

  • Longer service life than compact facade

Disadvantages of a ventilated facade:

  • Higher investment price than compact facade

  • Complicated installation

  • Facade widening

Option 2: Compact facades

In Switzerland, the compact facade – also known as rendered external thermal insulation – is extremely popular. It preserves your house’s original exterior architecture. The insulation mats are mounted directly onto the stonework, before the facade plaster is then applied. This protects the insulation from the weather and mechanical strain. The plaster shapes the appearance of your house. You can choose between smooth or fine and textured or non-textured plaster. The plaster is also available in different colours – find the right colour for you by talking to your favourite building painter.

Advantages of a compact facade

  • Preserves the exterior architecture

  • Wide choice of plaster materials

  • Damage to the plaster can be repaired easily

  • Simple installation

  • No significant facade widening

  • Lower investment price than with ventilated facades

Disadvantages of a compact facade:

  • Shorter life span than ventilated facade

  • Usually require more maintenance

  • Less resistant to mechanical strain

  • Limited influence on mould growth on stonework

What is the insulation made of?

Facade insulation is made from an insulating material with poor thermal conductivity. Air is enclosed within the insulation material so that heat is not conducted well. Fleece-like or foamed materials with countless small air pockets are, therefore, ideal for insulation purposes. Expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam or EPS) or mineral wool (rock or glass wool) are often used to insulate house facades. The advantages and disadvantages of expanded polystyrene and mineral wool at a glance:

Advantages of expanded polystyrene:

  • Uncomplicated installation (it is glued on).

  • Very light

  • Cheaper energy renovation than with mineral wool

Disadvantages of expanded polystyrene:

  • Sensitive to heat

  • Can shrink over time

Advantages of mineral wool:

  • Flame-retardant

  • Dimensionally stable

  • Durable

Disadvantages of mineral wool:

  • More expensive energy refurbishment than with expanded polystyrene

Can I receive financial incentives for renovating my house’s facade to make it more energy-efficient?

The Swiss federal government and the cantons promote energy-efficient facade renovation with the Building Programme. Regional subsidy programmes also take facade renovation into account. A fixed amount is usually set per square metre of thermal insulation. Be sure to apply for subsidies before renovation work starts. GEAK experts are available to provide you with expert advice.