Bundesrat Approves Amendment of Energy Savings Ordinance – On Numerous Conditions

Last Friday the Federal Council (Bundesrat) approved an amendment of the Energy Savings Ordinance (EnEV), but only subject to a large number of conditions. They are supposed to increase the transparency of the energy-related data of buildings and reducing bureaucracy.

The EnEV amendment provides for a reduction of the annual primary energy consumption of new buildings in the years 2014 and 2016 by on average 12.5% and a reduction of the mean heat transfer coefficient of the building’s envelope by on average 10%. The requirements for existing buildings will not be tightened. Besides the energy performance certificate as a means of information for prospective buyers and tenants of buildings is further improved (for more information, please see here). In accordance with the recast Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings, an inspection and control system for energy performance certificates is introduced.

The Federal Council, which represents the interests of the German states (Länder) on the federal level, pointed out that despite its approval (on numerous conditions) it considered essential aspects of the amendment inadequate. Firstly it did not provide adequate answers to the enormous economical, ecological and social challenges associated with the energy consumption of buildings. Due to the fact that various energy savings requirements were stipulated by the  Energy Savings Act (EnEG), EnEV and the Renewable Energies in the Heat Sector Promotion Act (EEWärmeG) transparency and public acceptance suffered greatly. The Federal Council therefore called on the government to simplify regulation and work on a fundamental reform together with the Länder.

Besides the Federal Council demanded federal funds for energy-efficient renovations in the amount of EUR 2 billion annually in order to give private investors and the housing and construction industry planning certainty.

The German government aimed to achieve an almost carbon-neutral building stock by 2050. An Act on Fiscal Measures Promoting Energy-Efficient Renovations of Residential Buildings formed part of the legislative package for the energy policy shift made in 2011. It aimed at promoting the energy-efficient renovation of residential buildings older than 1995 as of 2013 by giving tax incentives totalling EUR 1.5 billion, but was rejected by the Federal Council. A compromise could not be found in the Mediation Committee of the Federal Council and Parliament so that the bill, which expressly required consent by the Federal Council (so-called consent law), could not become law.  In a statement recorded in the minutes of the mediation committee meeting, the government announced to launch a new KfW Development Bank support programme for energy-efficient renovation worth EUR 300 million annually. In January KfW announced the start of the new programme.

In view of the conditions set by the Bundesrat for its approval of the EnEV amendment, the new coalition government (that still has to be formed following the Federal Election on 22 September 2013) will have to decide whether it accepts the changes.

Source: Federal Council

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