Expensive electricity in Cyprus is a well-known problem. The thing is that a big part of electricity on the island is made from imported fuel oil and gas.
It costs extra money to buy it on the mainland and ship it across the sea. Therefore, people in Cyprus are accustomed to saving electricity.
Of course, 'progress does not stand still'. There are other ways to generate electricity today such as solar panels. Fortunately, the island has about 300 sunny days a year. The installation of solar panels is an expensive deal. But you do not need to pay monthly bills... Or you need to?
Let's see if it is profitable to increase the energy efficiency of your property in Cyprus.
What is electricity used for
As a rule, modern household appliances do not require too much electricity. According to the statistics of the European company ENERGY STAR, about 6% of electricity is used for lighting, 20% is for household appliances (from refrigerators and washing machines to small gadgets), about 18% is for water heating. But where is the remaining 56% spent on?
More than half of the electricity on the island is spent on a comfortable indoor temperature. In winter (about 3 months a year) it is all kinds of electric heaters, in summer (almost 6 months a year) it is about cooling options.
Reference: in winter the temperature in Cyprus drops to +7⁰C. This means that it is not bad to heat the room at least some hours per day. And in summer the temperature can continuously stay above +30⁰C. People who are not accustomed to such a climate simply cannot live normally without air conditioning.
If you look at the ratio of the above percentages, it becomes clear that it is most profitable to save on space heating / cooling and on the use of household appliances.
Energy efficiency classes
The European Union has a Directive on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD), which has been supplemented and amended several times. The directive defines the energy efficiency classes of buildings. Simply put, how little this very building can consume electricity.
Reference: today in the EU (and in Cyprus in particular) there are new buildings that are able to 100% provide themselves with an energy resource without connecting to a common power grid. Recently, there are also buildings that not only fully cover their consumption, but also produce additional electricity.
If we talk about Cyprus, then the energy efficiency class here directly depends on the age of the property. If it was built 15-20 years ago, then most likely its class is not above the level C. Buildings 10 years old can have a higher class: B and even A. New buildings in Cyprus (mainly elite and business class) must have level A + and above. Property of class A in Cyprus costs approximately 10-15% more than class B.
As a rule, local developers are required to indicate the energy efficiency class, so that when buying a new property, the buyer will know it. In other cases, things are a little more complicated.
The fact is that the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for secondary housing is not needed.
How much a standard family spends on electricity in Cyprus
It is known that electricity costs are the highest than other utility bills in Cyprus. If you do not use air conditioning and heaters, a 1-2 bedroom apartment will cost approximately 100 euros per month for a family of 3 people. With an increase in the number of family members and with a larger living space, the figure will increase.
Reference: In Cyprus, electricity bills are issued and paid once every 2 months.
With the constant use of an air conditioner or any electric heating device, energy consumption increases significantly. Our small apartment with 3 tenants will need about 200 euros per month to maintain a comfortable temperature in the rooms.
Reference: the cost of 1 kW is on average 0.22 euros and can be more or less depending on the tariff and some government benefits.
In total, we can roughly calculate that the owners of a large house will spend about 400 euros per month for heating its property and water. The amount will be less if it is possible to heat the house with gas.
Heating will cost more than 1,200 euros per winter, and there is also a hot season... with the same costs. Plus the off-season, where 100 euros are spent per month. In total, it is quite possible to spend 3,000 euros or more per year on electricity!
Ways to improve the energy efficiency of housing
Of course, when you see such impressive amounts, you want to start saving electricity. This does not mean at all that you need to almost stop using light and sockets. There are many ways to help cut your energy costs by 10% to 50%. And it's not a joke.
Thick and insulated walls
It would seem that this is the most obvious point and it has long been completed. But in reality... in southern countries, they are used to building thin-walled houses, and sometimes without the use of a good kind of insulation. Why is a rhetorical question, because the construction of the building is much cheaper.
Hint: the "old generation" insulation needs to be replaced every 15-25 years. Insulation of the "new generation" is designed for 100 years.
On average, the insulation of a standard 3-bedroom house will cost 15-20 thousand euros. The amount is impressive, but it will save a lot of money on electricity costs. We will talk more about this in the summary.
Also, when building a house, it is recommended to use materials that keep the temperature well - these are bricks and gas blocks. Brick in Cyprus is very expensive, and it is not suitable for some types of terrain (where it is impossible to build a foundation). Therefore, the gas-block is the leader as a building material on the island.
Reducing home heat loss
A small gap in a window can increase usage of heating by 10%, which is about 100 euros per season. And this is just one of the examples!
What can be fixed in the house to reduce heat loss:
- Seal up all cracks. These are cracks in the corners, at the joints of windows, in doorways. The cracks also provoke drafts, which cool the room faster than just a slightly ajar window without air draft.
- Install double glazed windows. This simple action will not only keep you warm, but also save you from excessive moisture and condensation. What is extremely important for housing in the Cyprus climate.
- Ensure proper ventilation and air circulation. Of course, this must be done at the stage of building a house.
- Arrange at least a small hallway. Even a cheap solution like a drywall partition with a thin door will help raise the temperature in the living room by 2-3 degrees.
- Install tight-fitting entrance and balcony doors.
- Panoramic windows are recommended to be pasted over with a special heat-saving film.
- You can use heat-insulating plaster when finishing walls and ceilings.
- In a private house with water heating and batteries, it is better not to block the latter. So they give off heat better.
When designing a house, you can choose a sunny side for the location of windows on it. But for Cyprus, this advice does not work at all unambiguously: in summer the sun will heat the room very much, then air conditioning costs will increase. So it's worth thinking twice here.
The glazing of the loggia is also not the most suitable advice for Cyprus. An outdoor terrace is a space for outdoor recreation, so many people prefer to leave it free. In this case, it is enough to install good balcony doors.
It is difficult to say how much money will be spent on the above. Much depends on the condition of the housing. For someone, spending 1,000 euros is enough, and others will spend 5,000 euros.
Use of modern electrical appliances and electronics
The newer your appliance, the less electricity it consumes. Maybe it's better to upgrade the washing machine, refrigerator, water heater and other large household appliances.
It is also worth abandoning classic oil heaters or heating with an air conditioner. These devices "eat" oxygen (which is not very healthy). A good alternative is an infrared heater.
Hint: infrared heaters are sold both in the form of devices and in the form of interior items. For example, there are heated carpets and even heated paintings. They are completely safe and suitable even for heating a child's room.
If the house has underfloor heating, it is recommended to install a thermostat that keeps the temperature at the same level. If it becomes warmer, the thermostat will turn off the heating and save a lot of kilowatts.
You should also pay attention to the VRV-conditioning system. It allows you to cool large spaces with minimal energy consumption. In Cypriot high-rise new buildings, it is quite common, but you can install it in a private house as well.
Tip: energy-saving lamps are more expensive than incandescent lamps, but they work much longer, and consume 60-70% less electricity.
Installation of solar panels
Of course, this is the first thing that should have come to mind when mentioning efficient energy consumption. And in Cyprus, this is really a great way out. Perhaps the best possible. Cyprus has 300 sunny days a year, which allows you to regularly receive electricity. But there is little wind, so wind systems are not effective.
The installation of solar panels has become in great demand: in 2020 there were only 200 home panels, and 1000 in 2022!
In addition, the authorities subsidize the installation of certified solar panels: in 2022, residents of the coastline could receive 450 euros, and residents of mountainous areas - 900 euros. This suggests that Cyprus has begun to carefully and caringly treat the preservation of the environment, and also competently set priorities in favor of the interests of its citizens.
How much does it cost to install solar panels? It will cost about 5-7 thousand euros. It all depends on how many people live in the house and what the family needs.
In summary: is it profitable to invest in energy efficiency or not?
We have come to the main secret that even the locals may not know: if a private house (villa, cottage) is properly built in Cyprus, then it can not be heated at all. Or heated quite a bit. The same applies to cooling. In a properly designed home, air conditioning will be used to a minimum. That is, savings can be up to 50% of the total electricity consumption!
Correction: it snows in the mountainous regions of the island, so heating is a must in the houses there, and you won’t be able to save a lot on it. Often, fireplaces and stoves are built in right away, but today this is not the most environmentally friendly solution.
Above, we have already shown how much money is spent on electricity per year in an average house. Approximately 3000 euros. If you save half, it will be 1.5 thousand euros per year, or 15 thousand euros over 10 years.
It is easy to calculate that:
- Installation of solar panels will pay off in about 5 years.
- Capital insulation of a house (finished or under construction) will require investments of up to 25 thousand euros on average, which is about 15 years of payback.
- Minor repairs with a small replacement of windows or doors can cost up to 3000 euros, it will pay off in a couple of years.
In total, with all the above activities, the payback will be approximately 20 years. But keep in mind that all calculations are made without taking into account the increase in prices (and it will definitely be - there is a high inflation in Cyprus in EU). In addition, a one-time investment and a comfortable life in a warm, cozy home is much more pleasant and useful.
If you buy real estate in order to sell it in 5-6 years, then, of course, it may not make sense to invest. And anyway, this is a controversial issue, since housing with a high energy efficiency class can be sold at a higher price.
So... investing in upgrading your home's energy efficiency class is profitable, smart, and also very ethical.
- As a postscript: there are a few more non-obvious points that will allow the family to save money. For example:
- In a well-insulated house, people get sick less. And this is savings in several areas at once: you don’t need to take sick leave, spend money on medicines, and so on. And, of course, health is the most precious thing we have!
- New household appliances make life much easier and save TIME. And time is a resource that can be much more valuable than money.
- Good ecology means better local food, higher life expectancy and better infrastructure. The latter means that the authorities are spending more resources on raising the lives of citizens to a higher level. Isn't it wonderful?
You can avoid taxes in the future. Of course, this is only speculation, but after some time the EU may well introduce a tax on housing of a low energy efficiency class - or something like that. So you can take care of it in advance and avoid unnecessary expenses.
Interested in housing in Cyprus? Look at DOM! The agency's website has the largest real estate database in the country - more than 30 thousand residential and commercial properties throughout the island! Here you will find information about the latest development projects. Choose and contact professional boxers who will help you make the right choice!
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Photos: DOM, pxhere.com