German buildings energy law launched

Government unveils draft rules to cut energy use in new buildings by up to 30%

The German government has unveiled a long-awaited draft buildings energy efficiency ordinance designed to cut energy consumption in new buildings by up to 30%. The ordinance was presented last week by economics minister Werner Müller and newly appointed buildings minister Kurt Bodewig. It will replace existing rules on buildings insulation and heating systems and is expected to enter into force towards the end of next year.

Under the ordinance, energy efficient houses will become the rule, Dr Müller and Mr Bodewig said in a statement. All new buildings will be required to have an energy consumption certificate, creating transparency in the housing market, they continued.

Certificates will be based on a complex energy balance for each building, taking into account its planning and design, the buildings materials and the efficiency of its space and water heating appliances.

In addition, the amount of energy each building is allowed to consume for space and water heating will depend on its primary energy source. Allowing for production and distribution losses for electricity, typically about two-thirds, it will become virtually impossible to heat a house with electricity under the ordinance. Renewables will be favoured in the energy use calculation.

The draft also includes new obligations on modernising existing properties, in particular through replacement of inefficient old boilers installed before 1978, fitting of additional insulation and replacing windows.

The ordinance will be a mainstay of Germany's recently approved climate protection strategy (ENDS Daily 18 October). Of total projected carbon dioxide savings of between 45-70m tonnes by 2010, the domestic and buildings sector is expected to contribute 10-25m tonnes (ENDS Daily 27 July).

Follow Up:
German economics ministry, tel: +49 30 and press release and draft law.

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