Identifying and improving the energy weaknesses of a property is made easier with the cantonal building energy certificate, known as GEAK. In the following article, you will learn the key facts about GEAK and GEAK Plus, and when it is worthwhile for you to have one or both reports prepared.
The cantonal building energy certificate (GEAK) is a four-page report that assesses the energy efficiency of your building. The GEAK uses a Swiss-wide standardised energy label, which evaluates the following three characteristics on a scale from A (best value) to G (worst value):
Quality of the building envelope
Overall energy balance of the building
Direct CO2 emissions of the property
The GEAK classification provides you, as the owner with an overview of the energy strengths and weaknesses of your property. GEAK experts will give you useful tips on energy renovation and improving the energy efficiency of your building. Financially, the GEAK offers you more opportunities to apply for subsidies and reduced mortgages, as well as simplified Minergie certification. The uniform energy classes of the GEAK also make it possible to calculate the monthly and annual energy costs of properties and to compare the energy efficiency of different properties more easily.
Let's take a closer look at the assessment of each feature:
In terms of building envelope efficiency, the focus is on insulation. GEAK experts measure how much heat escapes through the outer shell of your building. Better insulation of the floor, roof, facade, windows, and doors leads to a more positive evaluation. On the other hand, thermal bridges, which are areas in building components that are more permeable to heat than others, can result in a negative rating.
The overall energy efficiency analyzes the building's technical systems, heating methods, and electricity consumption. In other words, how energy is sourced for your building and how much electricity is consumed. If you utilize services from renewable energy sources, such as wind, hydropower, or solar energy, it has a positive impact on the overall energy efficiency rating.
Finally, the classification of direct CO2 emissions indicates how much CO2 your building releases through space heating and hot water production. This primarily depends on the overall energy efficiency of your property.
In essence, GEAK is a report card for your house, showing how much energy it requires during its normal operation and how much CO2 it emits. Sounds abstract? Find a sample GEAK report here.
As the name suggests, the GEAK Plus builds upon the GEAK baseline report. In addition to identifying weaknesses in the GEAK, the GEAK Plus includes a specific action plan for optimizing your property. It presents three to four specific energy renovation options for your building, including detailed calculations of investment costs and an assessment of potential financial support.
The report prioritizes the modernization measures to find the most effective and financially feasible path for you. The GEAK Plus is particularly suitable for comprehensive renovations that involve, for example, upgrading the heating system and building envelope.
Similar to the energy labels for household appliances and light bulbs, the GEAK assigns your building an energy class ranging from A to G.
The classification B/B indicates the efficiency rating of the building envelope and overall efficiency, equivalent to a new construction meeting today's legal requirements. The typical characteristics of the different classes can be as follows:
Building Envelope Efficiency
Highly efficient building technology, sustainable self-generated power
No direct emissions from the building
Insulation according to new construction standards
Building technology in new construction standards, renewable energy
Very low emissions
Fully renovated building envelope
Comprehensive renovation of building technology, renewable energy
Low emissions (e.g., very good building envelope, but still fossil fuels)
Well-insulated old building
Renovated building technology or renewable energy
Older building with optimized insulation
Partially renovated building technology
High emissions (e.g., due to inadequate building envelope)
Partially insulated older building
Individual renovated components on the building
Too many emissions; significant potential for improvement
Non/insufficiently insulated older building
Outdated building systems
Very high emissions; improvement strongly recommended
The GEAK is generally voluntary. However, in certain cantons, it is mandatory to create a GEAK when there are property transfers, heating system replacements, or for grant applications. To be absolutely sure, check with your cantonal building authority regarding the local GEAK requirements.
ATTENTION: If you wish to apply for grants for a comprehensive renovation, the GEAK Plus is mandatory. Additionally, if you receive component grants of CHF 10,000 or more, you must provide the report.
For a single-family house, the GEAK typically costs between CHF 750 and CHF 900. The corresponding GEAK Plus costs approximately CHF 2,000 to CHF 2,500. The costs can vary depending on the location and the building. Generally, the more comprehensive the consultation, the more expensive the energy certificate. The cost also depends on the hourly rate of the GEAK expert. For an on-site independent energy consultation, GEAK experts charge around CHF 130 per hour.
TIP: Some cantons provide grants for the GEAK in the range of CHF 800 to CHF 1,500. Check in advance if your canton financially supports the GEAK certificate.
Both the GEAK and GEAK Plus are valid for 10 years, provided that no significant changes are made to the building services or building envelope during this period. Additionally, the GEAK is tied to the specific property and automatically transfers to the new owners in the event of a change in ownership.
After extensive renovation work, the GEAK must be updated, or it will become invalid. In this case, you should send the existing GEAK to your new GEAK expert using a transfer form. The expert will then perform an update of the building energy certificate based on the existing document.
Only certified GEAK experts are authorized to issue the building energy certificate for your property. These are accredited professionals who undergo regular assessments to ensure the quality of the certificates issued. Currently, there are approximately 1,500 registered GEAK experts nationwide.
In six simple steps, you can obtain a GEAK for your home:
Receive an initial assessment. Capture the details of your home for free on Liiva and receive an initial assessment of your home's energy efficiency.
Assess optimization needs. If necessary, find a suitable GEAK expert for you. Utilize the free Liiva expert service to assist with this process.
Obtain quotes. The cost of a GEAK and GEAK Plus varies depending on the building, region, and expert. Therefore, obtain multiple quotes with a detailed description of the services.
Clarify funding opportunities. Apply for grants before starting the construction. The expert, the cantonal energy department, and the energy representatives of your municipality are well-informed about this.
Assess building condition. Take your GEAK expert through your building. Based on this assessment, the expert will create the GEAK basic document or the GEAK Plus.
Receive GEAK or GEAK Plus. Your GEAK expert enters the building energy certificate into a central database through the GEAK online tool. Your GEAK is securely stored there for a maximum of 10 years. The GEAK and GEAK Plus will be delivered to you in paper and electronic form.