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Swiss stage model

Switzerland's building stock has accumulated a large need for refurbishment. The refurbishment rate is clearly too low in the context of the energy transition and energy crisis. Every second flat built before 1980 is in need of renovation from an energy point of view. Landlords in Switzerland have too few incentives to carry out refurbishment work on rented buildings in order to achieve a more efficient use of fossil fuels. There is a lack of effective instruments for achieving the Swiss Energy Targets 2050 and incentives for investing in energy efficiency must be categorised as insufficient or at least improvable. In the area of building energy efficiency, the potential for improvement in Switzerland is particularly high.

In Germany, such an incentive system will be introduced from 2023 via a so-called tiered model. The tiered model regulates the distribution of the costs of the CO2 levy between tenants and landlords. The more energy-inefficient the rented property is, the higher the proportion to be borne by the landlord.


The specific political and legal feasibility of a tiered model in the Swiss context is currently being analysed.

The German stage model

In Germany, an additional CO2 levy has been charged for heating with oil or natural gas since 2021. For the first time, this was borne entirely by tenants. Recently, however, the costs have been split according to a graduated model that divides the CO2 levy in the residential sector fairly between landlords and tenants. For residential buildings, this means that the landlord's share of the costs increases the worse the energy balance of the respective building is. 


If a building's façade is poorly insulated or the windows or heating system are outdated, more energy is required for heating. The more energy used, the higher the CO2 tax. Compared to homeowners, tenants have no influence on these framework conditions. For this reason, the graduated model attempts to share the costs of the CO2 levy fairly between tenants and landlords.

According to the idea of the graduated model, the poorer the energy efficiency of the rented building, the more a landlord contributes to the costs. If a rented residential property is particularly climate-friendly, the landlord incurs lower costs. This creates a "bonus-malus system" to incentivise landlords to carry out energy-related refurbishment work.

The basic idea is to create a structure in which the costs of targeted energy-related refurbishment work are shared fairly between the landlord and tenant so that landlords carry out the necessary improvements to their buildings. This would create the necessary incentives, for example, the landlord could benefit from the lower ancillary costs incurred by the tenant after a refurbishment until the investment has been amortised.

Smooth integration of a tiered model in Switzerland

An adapted step model similar to the German CO2 step model could be introduced in Switzerland. For apartments with a poor energy balance, landlords would bear 90% of the energy costs and tenants 10%. For buildings with an efficient Minergie standard, the landlord would not have to bear any costs as long as defined energy standards are achieved. Tenants could also save energy and additional costs through their behavior.

The precise effectiveness of the incentives and the detailed design of such a tiered model are currently being investigated. Further information will follow shortly.

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