Swap German Building Energy Act for tougher efficiency measures, says environment group
Clean Energy Wire
The German government’s proposed Building Energy Act is lightweight and should be scrapped in favour of laws that enshrine climate neutrality in all new construction and renovation projects, an environmental group has warned. Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) says the new legislation, which Germany’s parliament (Bundestag) is due to vote on on Thursday, will not help meet climate targets in the sector. Instead, the government must draw up more ambitious goals that set tougher building efficiency standards. “This is the only way to avoid high CO2 emissions and the impending costs of €30-60 billion by 2030, as the climate protection gap will have to be covered by purchasing certificates from other EU countries,” said Barbara Metz, Deputy Federal Director of DUH. The organisation argues that ambitious standards for energy-efficient buildings can drive economic development by creating up to 280,000 new jobs in construction and renovation.
DUH’s comments came as the German Energy Agency (DENA) published a report calling on the government to support the construction industry by strengthening both demand and climate protection targets after the corona crisis. Following the decision to allocate funds to the sector under the Climate Action Programme and the recently announced economic stimulus package, DENA’s MARKTMONITOR study calls for faster building licence processing, energy-efficient renovation of public buildings and better government advice.
About 35 percent of final energy consumption and about 30 percent of German greenhouse gas emissions are generated in the building sector. The German government aims to reduce the industry’s CO2 emissions from 119 million tonnes (as of 2014) to 70 to 72 million tonnes by 2030. Critics, including the DUH, say the Building Energy Act is not sufficient to close this gap, but others argue that new non-fossil fuel technologies such as heat pumps can help achieve reductions.