with the old, in with the cold
News, 5 June 2009
>A cooler and more energy- efficient summer looms ahead for thousands
of Greek homes under a new government scheme designed to replace thousands
of inefficient air-conditioners across the country.
Announced by Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on June 1, the
measures provide for a subsidy of 35 percent of the cost of a new unit,
up to a maximum of 500 euros, on the trade-in of old air-conditioners
for new appliances.
"The main aim is to save energy in the residential sector," Hatzidakis
said, "especially during the summer season, which will prove beneficial
for households and the country's energy system."
Each citizen will be allowed to purchase up to two new air-conditioners
under the scheme, which enjoys European Commission funding. The subsidy
only applies to the price of the machine and does not cover the cost
The overall budget for the six-month programme, which begins on June
8, is 15 million euros.
Greeks and foreign nationals, regardless of income levels or place
of residence, may avail themselves of the scheme in which, the minister
emphasises, the bureaucracy has been kept to a minimum. The only documents
a citizen requires are a valid ID or passport, as well as a recent
residential electricity bill.
The citizen must present these documents to a participating store,
which will then enter all the relevant data into an online database.
For his part, the retailer must organise the removal of the old appliance,
which must be in working order. These will then be passed on to Appliances
Recycling SA, the company with overall responsibility for electronic
recycling in Greece.
While there are no restrictions on the age and type of air-conditioner
eligible for replacement, the new appliances must be in the top energy-efficient
range and rely on inverter technology.
Thus, for devices of up to 16,000 BTU (British thermal units), they
must be in energy class A/A Devices above 16,000 BTU may be energy
class A/A, A/B, B/A or B/B.
ln order to prevent shops hiking up air-conditioner prices, the website
www.allazoklima.gr will provide consumers with indicative prices for
The development minister expects that 50,000-60,000 new machines will
be bought under the scheme, which he estimates will result in energy
savings of 20 gigawatt hours (GWh) and a 20,000-tonne reduction in
carbon dioxide emissions annually.
It is estimated that there are over four million air-conditioners in
use in Greek homes, the average age of each machine being 10 years.
A staggering half-a-million machines were bought last year, only 30
percent of which were inverters.
According to market research, quoted by the minister, the average retail
price for inverter air-conditioners over the past two years has been
George decides to buy a new air- conditioner under the scheme. The
appliance he selects retails at 900 euros (incl VAT). As the grant
amounts to 35 percent (315 euros), he will end up paying only 585 euros
for the new machine.
His neighbour, Dan, goes for a more expensive model, which retails
at 1,500 euros. Thirty-five percent of this would be 525 euros, but
he would end up paying 1,000 euros for the new machine as the subsidy
is capped at 500 euros.