10 Sep 2019, 13:43
Freja Eriksen

German building energy draft law unfit for emissions reduction, critics say

Clean Energy Wire

The draft law aimed at setting new energy efficiency standards for Germany's buildings, known as the GEG, is facing criticism from industry, environmental organisations and politicians. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings sector is essential for Germany to reach its climate targets, and what is written in the GEG bill will "definitely not meet the targets”, Barbara Metz, acting head of Environmental Action Germany (DUH), commented at a debate on the bill's effectiveness for climate protection. The draft law merges two existing acts and a regulation on energy efficiency and heating without significant changes to energy requirements for new and existing buildings. Axel Gedaschko, president of housing industry association GdW, complained about the fact that different target groups, such as landlords and tenants who must be reached with "completely different incentives”, are jumbled together in the discussions on energy efficiency in buildings. Gedaschko also called on the federal government to offer clarity on its climate targets and climate action measures at its decisive climate cabinet meeting on 20 September. FDP Bundestag member Daniel Föst argued that if the climate cabinet really wanted to deliver something with regard to CO2 reduction, "it cannot be satisfied with this GEG draft."

In March 2017, the German government coalition of the conservative CDU/CSU and Social Democrats (SPD) first failed to agree on a building energy law, which would have set new standards for buildings from 2019. Germany aims to have a "close to climate-neutral building stock by 2050." The commission charged with monitoring Germany’s energy transition, however, gave the country low marks on energy efficiency in its June 2019 report, saying that it was "unlikely" that Germany would reach its 2020 target for final energy use in buildings.

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