SUSI Partners’ Alexander Hunzinger on the surging interest in energy efficiency

As part of an in-depth article by portfolio institutionell’s Daniela Englert on the potential for decarbonisation in the real estate sector, SUSI Partners’ Head Credit Investments, Alexander Hunzinger, discussed the impacts of the energy crisis on the demand for energy saving solutions, and explained why improving energy efficiency in the residential housing sector is often difficult as compared to the industry sector.

In the following, his statements from the interview and paragraphs concerning SUSI Partners have been translated from the original German and are presented with minimal context added. The resulting article titled “Der Weg zur Wärmewende führt in die Tiefe und in die Ferne” can be read in German in full length HERE.

Asked whether the current energy crisis could accelerate the implementation of energy efficiency measures, he said: “Absolutely. We work with 28 partner companies from 12 different countries. Some of them are highly specialised enterprises, which usually offer their clients a package of on average ten energy efficiency measures based on long-term, 10 to 12-year financing contracts. Since the beginning of the energy crisis, these energy service companies have seen demand for energy efficiency retrofits triple. They are all booked out for 2023.

The article continues: “For approximately half of SUSI Partners’ financed projects in the real estate sector, the end customers are municipalities, which means the funding enables the refurbishment of public buildings such as schools and government buildings. The other half consists of projects for industrial and commercial clients, including the hospitality sector. Target markets are the Benelux countries, Germany and Italy as well as Spain and Eastern European countries like Slovenia. To give an example, the infrastructure manager funded energy retrofits on 72 public buildings in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. The project included a wide array of measures, including the refurbishing of roofs and windows as well as the installation of new heating systems based on solar thermal energy and co- and trigeneration plants.”

Asked about the current state of the German building stock in terms of energy efficiency, he comments: “Quite precarious. Especially in the area of room heating for apartment buildings and multi-family houses, there has not been much progress over the last few years.” He further explains that he offered SUSI’s financing solution to owners of larger residential properties back when the firm launched its first energy efficiency fund eight years ago – to no avail. “Property owners can unload heating-related costs onto the tenants, hence investing large sums into energy efficiency improvements is hardly profitable for them. Additionally, these measures are often difficult to implement at full occupancy of the apartments. This is completely different for industrial clients, for whom energy costs have a significant impact on their EBIT.