23 Oct 2019, 13:24
Freja Eriksen

Germany slashes key efficiency target in new building energy draft law

Clean Energy Wire / Spiegel Online / Tagesspiegel Background

The German government has slashed an essential efficiency target that aimed for a "close to climate neutral building stock by 2050” from a new building energy draft law (GEG) adopted by the federal cabinet, reports Tagesspiegel Background. In the draft law it is clear that the government does not currently plan to enforce any stricter energy standards for buildings, writes Spiegel Online. Instead, a review of the energy requirements for new and existing buildings has been postponed until 2023. The German government in 2017 failed to agree on a building energy law which would have set new standards for efficiency in buildings from 2019. The new draft law will, however, ban the installation of oil-fired heating systems from 2026 unless a building can neither be connected to a gas distribution system nor district heating and supplying heat with renewable energy sources is either technically impossible or economically unreasonable. This would close some loopholes in previous drafts, writes Tagesspiegel Background.
The German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) criticised the draft law for "giving up" on a 10-year-old target and warned that it would provoke "further fines from Brussels" instead of promoting innovative solutions for energy-saving buildings. Environmental Action Germany (DUH) called the draft law a "climate policy flop", calling for the ban on oil-fired heating systems to begin in 2020 without exceptions. DUH had criticised a previous draft of the law, which has now been further weakened, as being unfit for targeted emission reductions. The draft law will now be debated in parliament.

Around 14 percent of Germany's greenhouse gas emissions come from the building sector. When counting in greenhouse gas emissions arising from the heating of buildings in the energy industry, this figure rises to almost 30 percent. Germany has aimed for the building sector's final energy use to fall by 20 percent by 2020 compared to 2008, but in 2017 it had only decreased by 6.9 percent.

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