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Renovating your property

Improve your home’s comfort and value 

Why should you invest in energy-saving renovations?

You’ll save money over the long run

  • You’ll spend less on electricity and heating – renovations can reduce your energy bill by over 50%
  • Renovations help maintain your property’s value
  • You’ll get tax deductions
  • You can knock up to 30% off your own outlay thanks to subsidies

 

It’s good for the environment

  • You’ll help reduce CO₂ emissions. Buildings account for some 45% of energy consumption in Switzerland – and three-quarters of that figure comes from heating (primarily oil heating and gas heating).
  • A new building with a CECB eco-rating of B consumes around four times less energy than a standard building built before the year 2000.

 

What type of heating system is best for your home?

Calculate how much you’ll spend – and save – with a new heating system in
just a few clicks thanks to our partner Romande Energie.

Could solar panels be a smart move for you?

Calculate how much you’ll spend – and save – with a new heating system in
just a few clicks thanks to our partner Romande Energie.

The renovation process

1. Plan the project

Assess the energy efficiency of your property 

If you own real estate, you can commission a CECB® energy audit of your building to find out its eco-rating.

These audits have been mandatory in Vaud Canton since 2017 for all property transfers and installations of gas, oil, or coal heating systems.

CECB®Plus audits provide a more comprehensive report that includes a list of recommended energy-saving measures, different renovation options, and a costs and subsidies estimate.

To commission an audit, you’ll first need to choose an accredited home energy assessor:
 

Take advantage of BCV’s partnership with Romande Energie and pay up to 25% less on your CECB®Plus audit after the first CHF 950. Click below to schedule an appointment with Romande Energie:

In Vaud, CECB®Plus audits are subsidized for properties built before 2000.

Other steps

Asbestos testing

Because properties built before 1 January 1991 are more likely to contain asbestos (especially in insulation materials), asbestos testing is required for any demolition or renovation of pre-1991 buildings. Asbestos removal can represent a large additional expense for your project.

Building permits

If you’re planning any renovation work that will alter a property, either above or below ground, you’ll need a building permit. Apply for one with the village, town or city government where the site is located.

Choose your contractors

You can directly contact specialist builders, an architecture firm, or a general contractor to obtain offers.

It’s important to consider what guarantees are furnished in the event of default. Several kinds of guarantees can be obtained based on the complexity, duration and amount of the work to be done.

Click below to find a contractor:

2. Apply for subsidies


The Buildings Program

The Swiss federal and cantonal buildings program promotes energy-efficient renovations and the use of renewable energy in buildings.

To receive a subsidy through this program, the renovation must reduce your property’s energy consumption or CO₂ emissions.

Subsidies are granted for measures such as thermal insulation, replacing fossil-fuel-based heating or electricity systems either with renewable energy sources (e.g., heat pumps or solar cells) or a connection to a heating network, and full renovations with a Minergie or CECB® certificate.

Find out more:

Click below for more details and an overview of the process (in French only):

Click below to fill out the form to request a subsidy (in French only): 

Helpful tip 

To make sure the subsidy is paid when the project is done, your request must be approved by the Vaud Environmental Board (Direction générale de l’environnement or DGE) before you begin the renovations. You’ll also need to notify the Board via a separate form when the work is completed.

3. Set up financing

Our advisors will work with you to find the best solution for financing your renovations. You can get a head start by looking at the different loan options here:


Prepare your documents

You’ll need to assemble several documents on your financial situation, renovation costs, and subsidy requests for your loan application file. 

Checklist: residential property loan

Checklist: commercial property loan


Tax advantages

Switzerland offers tax breaks at the federal and cantonal level for energy-efficient renovations.

Generally speaking, you can deduct expenses necessary for the upkeep and management of properties you own, as long as they don’t increase the properties’ value. You can take either a flat or itemized deduction.

Investments that go toward reducing a building’s energy consumption or installing renewable energy sources are considered upkeep expenses. This includes replacing old construction materials or installations and adding construction materials or installations to existing buildings, for example:

  • adding thermal insulation and replacing windows with more energy-efficient models
  • installing heat pumps, combined heat and power systems, or equipment powered by renewable energy
  • installing meters that record energy consumption and optimize system functioning
  • replacing household appliances that consume large amounts of energy, such as stoves, ovens, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, lighting installations, etc., which add to the building’s value
  • energy audits

You can deduct the full cost of these measures after subsidies. However, you can’t deduct investments made a new building or costs associated with the construction, enlargement, full renovation, or reclassification of a building.

You can find more information in the Vaud cantonal regulations for the deduction of residential property expenses.
 

4. Start the renovation work

Once you’ve obtained a renovation permit and been approved for a subsidy, you can hire a contractor and begin the renovation work. As the work progresses, make sure it’s carried out according to your specifications and the conditions associated with the subsidy.

Before you start, you’ll need to decide whether you want to oversee the work yourself or commission someone to help you, such as an architect, construction-industry professional, or project-owner assistant.

You can also take out a supplemental insurance policy for any major damage that might occur during the renovation work. The insurance will cover all the costs associated with faulty workmanship on structural elements. This insurance isn’t the same as the 10-year guarantee that contractors provide.

5. Notify the Canton once the renovation is complete

Congratulations – the renovation work is finished!

Now you need to inform the Vaud Environmental Board (Direction générale de l’environnement or DGE). This is the last step in the process of obtaining a subsidy. Once you’ve submitted the necessary form, the subsidy funds can be disbursed.

Be sure to attach all the requested documentation, such as the contractor’s final invoices and your payment receipts. The DGE may ask for additional documents and conduct checks. You can find the notification form on the Canton of Vaud’s website (link below). The type of form you need will depend on the kind of subsidy you requested and when you filed your application.

NOTIFICATION FORMS FOR THE COMPLETION OF RENOVATION WORK
 

Helpful tip 

There’s a different form to fill out depending on whether the renovation work relates to the building insulation or to new equipment (e.g., wood, a heat pump, a new heating system to replace an electric one, or solar cells).

If you requested a subsidy to replace a wood-fired boiler, you’ll find the notification form attached to the message informing you your application has been approved. The form lists the documents you need to attach when you send it in.

Green Bonus

You pay zero interest for the first 12 months of your BCV fixed-rate mortgage loan or Building Plus loan (minimum term: five years) to finance an energy-efficient property or green renovations.

Our guide on energy-saving renovations outlines the key steps in the process and points you to the resources you need to successfully carry out your project. 

Guide to Energy-Efficient Renovations (in French only 1,1 MB)

Renovations are considered ecological if at least 25% of the totalinvestment (no less than CHF 20,000) is used to make energy-saving improvements that qualify for subsidies. Find out more at www.bcv.ch/bonusvert.

Pay less for your energy audit

We’ve partnered with Romande Energie to make it easier to get your green renovations started.

Romande Energie will support you in carrying out a CECB® Plus audit, which consists of an energy certificate for buildings and a list of recommended measures. Thanks to their partnership with BCV, our customers pay up to 25% less on this audit. BCV and Romande Energie advisors will help you find the right solution no matter what kind of building you own.

Useful documents