12 Sep 2019, 14:03
Freja Eriksen

German industry and tenants call for support in turning German houses climate friendly

Die Welt / Clean Energy Wire

Four industry associations and the German Energy Agency (dena) propose tax incentives to support energy-efficient refurbishments of buildings ahead of the government's climate cabinet meeting on 20 September, Michael Fabricius and Daniel Wetzel write in Die Welt. Meanwhile, the German housing industry and tenants' representatives called for a "massive expansion of public support" for the same purpose. In order to reach Germany's climate targets, "really attractive tax incentives for energy efficient building refurbishment" are required, said Holger Lösch, deputy chief executive of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The industry appeal came in response to SPD calls to tighten regulatory laws for property owners and constructors in the name of climate protection. Dena head Andreas Kuhlmann said CO2 pricing and tax incentives should "go hand in hand” since government policy should create alternatives if prices rise.

The German housing industry and tenants' representatives have said neither CO2 pricing nor regulatory changes would solve the challenge of making Germany's residential buildings energy efficient. Axel Gedaschko, president of housing industry association GdW, stressed that "in the next 10 years, more than two out of three residential buildings” would have to undergo energy efficiency refurbishments. Therefore, "considerably more money has to be invested" in the area. Lukas Siebenkotten, president of German tenants' association Deutscher Mieterbund warned that energy efficiency modernisation was becoming "more and more synonymous with drastically rising rents and even displacement for tenants."

Germany aims to have a "close to climate-neutral building stock by 2050." The government coalition has however failed to agree on a building energy law, which would have set new standards for buildings from 2019, while the interior ministry has cancelled a buildings commission supposed to identify ways to reduce the sector's carbon footprint. The commission charged with monitoring Germany’s energy transition gave the country low marks on energy efficiency in its June 2019 report.

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