According to an article in the newspaper GHI, all homeowners in Geneva that still have single glazing in their homes at the end of January 2016 will be fined. Double glazing incorporating non-insulated aluminium frames will also attract fines.
Housing consumes half of Geneva’s energy and generates two thirds of its carbon emission. The canton estimates that a canton-wide window upgrade will deliver energy savings of 15%.
Many have criticised the tight deadline. Christophe Ogi, an architect and member of Pic-Vert Assprop.ge, an organisation that defends the interests of property owners says “there could easily be more than 20,000 properties, showing the scale of the task. I think the main objective though, is to get started”. According to Mr Ogi, most of the work relates to around 15,000 villas (individual houses) with old windows. Many of these are owned by old people who cannot afford the CHF 10,000 to CHF 15,000 required to cover a window upgrade. He thinks some will choose to pay fines instead.
Some have also pointed out that the canton itself has many buildings that must replace their windows.
Serge Hiltpold, president of the Federation of building trades says “the date imposed by the canton is unrealistic. We cannot do all the work required because the capacity to produce new windows cannot be increased infinitely. It would make sense to extend the deadline so that we can spread the work. We are not going to replace windows during the winter.”
The canton is not budging
Despite the complaints, Olivier Epelly, the director general of the cantonal energy office is showing no signs of budging. He says that “if they don’t respect the deadline, in the absence of an extension, they are exposing themselves to fines.”
It is worth noting that the obligation to upgrade windows in Geneva dates back to 1989.