Reform pulls the plug on energy guzzlers

Out with old windows, doors and gas heating: the main aim of the reformed Federal Funding for Efficient Buildings is to boost energy-efficient renovation. This is a good move for the energy transition: the funding is in greater demand than ever.

Umweltfreundliche Häuser© Adobe Stock/Angelov

The Federal Government has reconfigured the funding of energy-efficient buildings. It is now even more focused on energy conservation and climate action. To this end, it has reorganised the Federal Funding for Efficient Buildings scheme and adopted further energy conservation measures. In the future, the scheme will place a clear emphasis on improvements in the energy performance of buildings. The demand for modernisation has significantly increased in the wake of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.

By focusing on retrofitting and offering slightly adjusted funding rates, the impact of the programme is to be further increased. Available public money is to be used where the impact on climate action, and thus funding efficiency, are the greatest. This is the case with retrofitting. Moreover, renovations will help citizens save money in the long term. Old windows, outside doors and heating systems in particular, are energy guzzlers and thus drive up energy bills.

Energy independence and climate action go hand in hand

The quicker more buildings become energy-efficient and fossil fuels are replaced with renewable energy, the more independent Germany will become of energy imports from abroad, in particular from Russia. To this end, the Federal Funding for Efficient Buildings scheme is to discontinue all funding of fossil fuel heating systems. In turn, bonuses for heating system replacements and heat pumps are intended to encourage the shift to renewables.

The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, emphasised, „Using less energy is the cheapest and most efficient way to contribute to more independence and climate action, and this helps to reduce energy costs.”

More than half of Germany’s building stock is considered outdated with regards to its energy balance. This includes the effect of energy-efficient retrofitting on energy conservation and climate action. It is four and half times higher for existing than new constructions.

Federal cabinet adopts two energy conservation ordinances

The cabinet has adopted further energy conservation measures based on the Energy Security of Supply Act (EnSiG) that should help to save energy. This includes, for example, reducing the minimum temperature in workspaces to 19 degrees – both in public administration and in the private sector. In addition, from this autumn, gas suppliers and lessors are obliged to inform their customers and tenants in advance about what their gas consumption is expected to be, the associated costs and where there is potential to make savings.

On 24 August, the cabinet adopted two energy conservation ordinances. Tenants are thus being given more scope to save energy. Certain types of heating systems for swimming pools will also cease be used. Among the measures are energy conservation standards for public, non-residential buildings, workplaces and shops, and lighting regulations for buildings and historic monuments. A detailed overview of the measures can be found here and in a statement by Federal Minister Habeck here. The new regulations will also help Germany implement the European Union’s energy conservation standards.