Climate protection: traffic lights are cutting off Habeck’s plans for new buildings

Coalition factions want to lower the minimum energy standards for new homes planned by the Minister of Climate Protection Robert Habeck (Greens). According to information from parliamentary groups, politicians-specialists from the SPD, the Greens and the FDP agreed on appropriate changes on Tuesday evening. Therefore, the current insulation regulations should be maintained and stricter energy saving requirements should be achievable through construction services, for example by means of solar modules on the roof.

It is about the so-called The Construction Energy Act (GEG), which regulates, inter alia, energy standards for new residential buildings. The law aims to help Germany achieve its goal of climate neutrality by 2045. Buildings are an important factor, accounting for a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly due to heating.

In his bill, Habeck has so far provided for better insulation according to the so-called of the Efficiency House 55 standard from next year. This rule is now to be lifted in a parliamentary trial on the initiative of the FDP, and the traffic light factions want to table an amendment to the Bundestag on Thursday. Therefore, the existing provisions on isolation will remain as of 2009. According to the agenda, the bill should be adopted on the same day.

Climate policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Olaf in der Beek, said instead Suddeutsche Zeitung: “We want to avoid even higher construction costs.” The FDP says it is up to the builders how they achieve the required standard, be it through better insulation, renewable energies or other instruments. “I think the market will experience higher standards,” said in der Beek. Energy costs are becoming increasingly important when building houses, but also when tenants decide to rent an apartment. The FDP was very committed to this “technological openness”.

The leader of the SPD parliamentary group, Matthias Miersch, also defended the compromise. Efficiency House 55, better known as the KfW 55 standard, has now been enshrined in law and it has left open the question of how this requirement is met in each case. “I think this is right in times of high construction costs and housing shortages,” said Miersch. Insulation regulations are believed to be one of the reasons behind the rising construction costs, along with a lack of skilled workers, rapidly rising land prices and a shortage of materials since last year.

Experts and environmentalists criticize the compromise

On the other hand, many professional associations were disappointed and even terrified by the legislative plans. “If you want to be climate neutral by 2045, you must now enforce EH 55, including the building envelope,” said Benjamin Weismann, managing director of the Energy Advisory Association GIH SZ. To save enough energy, you should start with both points, both in the building technology and in the building envelope. But there is no progress at this point. “Then you build buildings that can be operated much more efficiently and economically,” said Weismann. It is predicted that these houses will have to be modernized to achieve the required climate neutrality by 2045. “But it doesn’t make economic sense with a roof and a wall.”

According to an expert, solar energy alone will not break it – especially in winter, when you need to heat a lot.

(Photo: Marijan Murat / alliance photo / dpa)

Good construction techniques such as solar modules, heat recovery ventilation systems and heat pumps make the house more climate friendly. “But if a lot of energy is lost through the shell, even a good heat pump won’t help,” said Weismann. Even a solar system cannot fully compensate for this, as it does not supply enough energy in winter when the heating demand is particularly high.

German environmental aid (DUH) has sharply criticized the changes in the law as “goodbye to energy efficiency”. Traffic light authorities are recklessly giving up their ability to protect consumers from rising energy costs, even in new buildings. DUH Managing Director Barbara Metz said there was little left of the announced upgrade to the new building standard: “This is a victory for the housing industry, which has been lobbying en masse against improving building requirements for years.”

The Ministry of Construction is satisfied, Habeck’s house is silent

When asked, the Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection, Habeck, did not want to comment on the compromise made by the traffic light groups. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Construction, who was also involved, spoke of a “good overall package”. From the point of view of the SPD house, however, it was conceivable that there was a “moderate increase” in the requirements for the building envelope. Federal Housing Minister Klara Geywitz has approved higher requirements for house insulation in the government. “But it’s also clear that increasing insulation does not always lead to greater energy savings.”

Now, according to a spokeswoman, they have agreed to the “most economical option”. In the face of rising construction prices, it is a good signal for the construction industry. Geywitz is to meet the coalition’s goal of creating 400,000 jobs each year. additional housing. In view of rising construction prices and rising interest rates on loans, it is still not possible.

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