Identifying and improving the energetic weaknesses of a property - this is where the GEAK comes in. In collaboration with expert Stéphane Frèsse, we answer the most important questions about the cantonal building energy certificate. In the following article, you can find out what information a GEAK contains, when it is worthwhile to have one, and how you can apply for one for your property.
The abbreviation GEAK stands for Cantonal Building Energy Certificate. As an energy label standardised throughout Switzerland, the GEAK document assesses the energy efficiency of buildings. Since 2009, the efficiency of the building envelope as well as the overall efficiency (building services plus building envelope) has been shown in classifications between A and G. The GEAK is a standardised energy label for the whole of Switzerland. In addition to the GEAK basic document, you can also have the GEAK Plus issued.
Only certified GEAK experts are authorized to issue a building energy certificate for your building. These are accredited specialists who are audited at regular intervals to ensure the quality of the certificates they issue. Currently, approximately 1,500 GEAK experts are registered throughout Switzerland.
Similar to the energy label on household appliances and light bulbs, the GEAK divides buildings into energy classes ranging from A to G. Class A represents the best possible energy efficiency, while class G indicates very low energy efficiency. The classification B/B corresponds to a new building built according to today's legal requirements.
If this sounds a bit abstract, a few examples will make it easier to understand:
Energy class A: The building has excellent thermal insulation and has windows with triple glazing.
Energy class D: An old building that has been extensively insulated retroactively. Thermal bridges are still present, as the old building has not been structurally altered to any great extent.
Energy class G: An old building with old windows. In addition, it has been insulated only slightly or not at all.
All typical features of the GEAK classes can be found on the GEAK website illustration.
The GEAK classification gives you an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of your property. The four-page certificate summarises the key figures for energy consumption and the insulation properties of the individual building components and indicates where there is potential for improvement. In addition, the GEAK expert can give you further useful tips during the inspection of your property. This will tell you exactly which energy renovation measures make sense in order to improve the energy efficiency of your property.
In addition, the energy classes of the GEAK, which are standardised throughout Switzerland, make it easier to compare properties. Especially when buying a property, comparing rental offers or planning energy-efficient modernisation, the GEAK classification quickly provides you with a valuable overview.
With the GEAK Plus, you receive a fully comprehensive advisory report from a GEAK expert. In contrast to the four-page GEAK, the GEAK Plus not only shows the current situation and tips for improvements, but also shows concrete renovation options. It also shows which efficiency class a property would be in after the renovation measures.
In the GEAK Plus, two to three individual variants for energy modernisation are usually run through. The renovation plan included divides the proposed modernisation into stages and calculates the investment costs incurred. In addition, GEAK experts clarify the application for subsidies for the recommended measures. The GEAK Plus therefore makes particular sense for more extensive renovations, e.g. if the heating system or the building envelope are to be modernised.
The following seven steps will provide you with a GEAK with a final renovation concept for your building:
Get an initial assessment. Survey your home free of charge on liiva and receive an initial energy assessment of the energy efficiency of your home.
If there is a need for optimisation, find a suitable GEAK expert. To do this, you can use the free liiva expert referral service or visit the GEAK website directory with all the experts in your area.
Get a quote. The costs for a GEAK and a GEAK Plus vary depending on the building, region and expert. Obtain several offers with a detailed description of the services.
Clarify the possibilities for subsidies. The preparation of the GEAK and GEAK Plus is financially supported by most cantons and individual municipalities. Apply for subsidies before you start construction. Your GEAK expert, the energy office of your canton and the energy officers of your municipality are well informed about this.
Record the current condition of the building. Take your GEAK expert on a tour of your building. He or she will then draw up an appropriate GEAK or GEAK Plus document. Thanks to the inspection, you can avoid inefficient modernisation measures and concentrate on the weak points of your property.
Receive your GEAK or GEAK Plus. Your GEAK expert will create your building energy certificate in the GEAK-Online tool. Your GEAK is recorded in a central database and stored there for a maximum of 10 years. The GEAK and GEAK-Plus documents are sent to you in paper and electronic form.
Decide how to proceed. Discuss the current status and the energy modernisation options with your GEAK expert.
For a single-family house, a GEAK usually costs 750 to 900 Swiss francs. For a corresponding GEAK Plus, the costs usually amount to 2,000 to 2,500 Swiss francs.
The GEAK is basically voluntary. However, in certain cantons, the GEAK is compulsory in the case of property changes or heating system replacements. In the canton of Fribourg, for example, the GEAK is mandatory for changes of ownership, while in the cantons of Berne and Vaud a GEAK is mandatory for every heating system replacement that is subsidised by the canton.
A GEAK Plus makes sense in any case for a complete energy renovation. In this way, the owner can check whether the financial means available for the planned project are being used correctly. In addition, the energy certificate can be used to identify further potential for improvement of the building envelope. If you would also like to apply for a subsidy for your overall renovation, you must have the GEAK Plus. The report is also obligatory for a component subsidy of CHF 10,000 +.
The GEAK is linked to the property, not to the owner. If there is a change of owner, the GEAK is automatically transferred to the new owner.
If you would like to revise or update your GEAK, you can send the document to the new GEAK expert using the transfer form.
Both the GEAK and GEAK plus are valid for 10 years. They are only valid beyond this period if no significant changes are made to the building services or the building envelope in the meantime.
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What would you like to know about your building and its energy efficiency? Send us your questions. Our experts are waiting to answer all your questions about the GEAK, GEAK Plus and energy efficient improvements.