EPCs increased, (b) the performance certificate provides
EPCs can be used as an objective evidence of the quality of energy?related renovation of the final construction in order to engage stakeholders in achieving the policy targets for European energy and climate protection. In the residential sector, the EPC is already being used in many countries as a document necessary to obtain financial support and subsidies for increased energy efficiency. In 2015, EPCs are required in 10 countries as eligibility for such schemes, most often both before and after the renovation, but there are also 11 countries with subsidy systems that do not require an EPC. In this context, EPC quality assurance plays a key role in a growing number of MSs.Proponents stress that informations programs such as the EPC have the potential to overcome imperfect information and in turn influence the purchasing decisions of consumers. In line with the rational actor theory, the EPC is expected to influence purchasing and renting decisions by revealing reliable information on the energy efficiency of a building. More precisely, homeowners should conceptually be more inclined to invest in low-carbon measures because their awareness (a) of the energy efficiency is increased, (b) the performance certificate provides information on cost-efficient renovation methods, and c) investments in energy efficiency potentially translate into higher property value. Policy instrumentsFrom analyses on policy instruments (Vringer et al., 2014), it can be concluded that among 18% of the homeowners who have invested in low-carbon measures, the availability of subsidies played a big role. Homeowners who receive subsidies more often tend to adopt low-carbon measures more frequent than those who do not receive subsidies. Motives for adopting low-carbon measuresA survey conducted by Murphy (2014) among 1954 homeowners revealed that energy bill reduction, comfort and ‘end of life’ of installations were the motivations for adopting low-carbon measures. The main reason for not adopting low-carbon measures included lack of finances or satisfaction with their current energy efficiency. However, ‘comfort’ seems to be the decisive factor in the decision process of adoption (beleid in the praktijk). The same findings are confirmed by the report of Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving (Vringer et al., 2014). Although financial motives are not distinctive for taking energy-saving measures, the reduction of the energy bill is the most important motive for homeowners to adopt measures. Many homeowners are not aware of the fact that they pay for the energy tax, however, higher energy price might be a reason for homeowners to lower their energy nota with low-carbon measures. Data collection (Vringer et al., 2014) based on a broad view of the main policy instruments shows that 60% of homeowners are aware of the energy tax, and 36% thinks to be involved. From the same data collection it can be concluded that the information on an energy label doesn’t lead automatically to interest and knowledge. An important precondition for homeowners is more certainty about being able to earn back the investment as well as financeability. Barriers in adopting low-carbon measuresRegularly changing subsidy schemes is perceived as a barrier in adopting low-carbon measures among homeowners. Homeowners refrain from participation because they do not want to risk investing and miss out the on subsidies due to a depleted budget.