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Back in June we reported that Germany’s new Building Energy Act (GEG) was one step closer to becoming law when it was passed by the German parliament, the Bundestag. On July 3, 2020, the draft cleared the final hurdle, the Bundesrat, or federal council. That means the GEG should enter into force on October 1, 2020 after the president has signed it and it is published in the federal gazette.
There have been some changes to the draft version approved by the cabinet on October 23, 2019.
For example, the public sector will be obliged to check whether and to what extent solar-thermal or photovoltaics can be implemented in new public buildings or those undergoing major renovation.
The requirement to use renewable energy in new buildings can now also be met with bio-methane in a condensing boiler (without CHP).
The limit up to which minimum standards can be met with particular energy sources has been increased for renewable electricity in systems without electricity storage from 20 to 30% and for systems with electricity storage from 25 to 45%.
The restrictions on oil heating have been extended to boilers that use solid fossil fuel and thus also coal heating. Accordingly, the increased BAFA funding for the exchange of oil heaters should be extended to coal heaters in the future.
Then there is the so-called innovation clause, according to which it is no longer necessary for every single building in a neighborhood to meet efficiency requirements, rather the neighborhood as a whole. That means certain inefficient buildings can remain so if others are particularly energy efficient.
The clause also makes it possible – for a limited period until 2023 – to switch from measuring the buildings in terms of primary energy consumption to looking at greenhouse gas emissions. This means that not all buildings have to have very efficient building envelopes if CO2 emissions from heating are nevertheless reduced – the idea being that developers can work more with heat pumps, low-temperature heating networks or solar-thermal energy. Under the rule, residential buildings may exceed the transmission heat loss of the standard reference building by 20% and non-residential buildings may exceed the average heat transfer coefficient by 25%.
The GEG brings together and replaces three pieces of legislation, namely the energy efficiency directive EnEV, the energy savings law EnEG and the renewable energy heating law EEWärmeG.
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