Last Wednesday, Construction Minister Klara Geywitz (SPD) unveiled plans for how the construction sector in Germany should become greener as soon as possible. Because in this sector alone, 152 million tons of CO2 and similar greenhouse gases more than before must be saved by 2030 to meet the climate goals set by the federal government.
This is to be achieved by creating a heat supply in this country without fossil fuels.
Therefore it should
clean gas heaters
according to the plans of the Ministry of Construction, it can no longer be installed from 2024. At the same time, however, the federal government is moving away from replacing them almost exclusively with the installation of heat pumps.
This gives the owners a little more freedom when choosing a heating system in the future.
It is still just a concept note that needs to be discussed and enshrined in law. But one thing is for sure: the end of gas heating is near.
Therefore, sooner or later many owners will have to look around for an alternative to gas heating in order to keep their living space warm. But many homeowners often do not know how they should proceed now – and most importantly, what system they can replace or do at all. Guide to the passage.
What regulations should landlords follow?
Until now, the traffic light government plan made up of the SPD, FDP and the Greens in Berlin assumed that by 2025 at the latest, any new heating system must use at least 65 percent renewable energy.
But this regulation is now appearing earlier than previously planned, at least when it comes to the new concept document of the Ministry of Construction, which was created jointly with the Ministry of Economy by Robert Habeck (The Greens). According to it, only from 2024, homeowners will be able to install heating systems, which will be at least 65 percent. powered by renewable energy. This would apply to both new and existing buildings.
In fact, heat pumps in particular should become the standard for new heating systems. According to the concept document of the Ministry of Construction, the federal government is partially departing from this project.
Experts criticized the fact that the heat pump consumes a lot of electricity in poorly insulated houses and low outside temperatures, and therefore heats in such cases inefficiently. Until now, there was also a shortage of skilled workers to meet the expansion goals.
Can owners continue to use their gas boilers after 2024?
So far, there is no obligation to replace systems that are still operational and less built than in 1992. According to the Building Energy Act (GEG), there is still a maximum service life of 30 years. As a result, many Germans still have some time to think about the next steps.
However, the Ministry of Construction aims to gradually shorten the life of the existing gas heating systems to 20 years. The article reads: “Oil and gas boilers installed until 1996 can be operated until 2026 at the latest. For boilers installed in the period 1996-2024 the permissible lifetime is reduced annually from 30 to 20 years, ie annually by an equal period (four months a year). “
If the heating system fails and cannot be replaced quickly, the federal government will likely be willing to grant transition periods. “In the event of a heating failure (…), the obligation to meet the 65% demand for renewable energy does not have to be met immediately after the heating is installed, but only within three years after replacement” – says the Ministry of Construction.
During the transition period, the owner may temporarily install and use a used gas or oil heating system. However, they have to replace or supplement it with another heating system within three years in order to comply with the 65 percent rule.
Gas heaters are to be banned from 2024, but can still function as a complement to other heating technology (e.g. heat pumps).
Gas heating ban: Should you install a gas heating system now?
Under the current plan, owners can still install a clean gas heating system by 2024. But whether that makes sense is another matter. Although they are considered a reliable heating system that has been tried and tested for decades, experts advise against installing them – and not only from an ecological point of view.
“In the foreseeable future, if anything, oil and gas will not get cheaper,” said “Hessenschau” Andreas Wöll of the State Energy Agency of Hesse. In addition, there are constantly increasing taxes on CO2.
What are the possibilities for reaching the 65 percent limit?
As the federal government stopped relying almost exclusively on the installation of heat pumps in the future, owners have more room for maneuver when it comes to replacing the heating system.
In particular, the government now wants to offer homeowners six options, according to plans by the Ministry of Construction, by which they can reach the 65 percent limit.
- heat pump
- Hybrid devices (e.g. as a combination of a heat pump and a gas or oil boiler)
- Heating with biomass (this mainly means pellet stoves, firewood and wood chips, although they have long been criticized by environmentalists)
- Green gas heaters powered by sustainable biomethane, green hydrogen or other green gases
- Electric direct heaters
- District heating (however, it is not available everywhere yet. However, this variant is particularly profitable in densely populated agglomerations, therefore district heating networks exist especially in urban areas).
More on the topic: Wood heating systems are booming: an alternative to gas and oil makes sense
What’s the best investment for your home?
Each house is unique.
When it comes to heating systems, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
A heating modernization is always a combination of individual wishes, design conditions and often complex framework conditions. “Which option is available to you and whether it is worth it depends on how well you insulate your home, how big the heating surfaces are and how much you live in it,” says Thomas Zwingmann, Energy Advisor at the NRW Consumer Consulting Center.
In addition to good self-preparation through online information offers, personal advice is strongly recommended. Energy consulting from consumer centers helps with the first step. With the help of measurements, the energy consultant checks the settings and the efficiency of the heating system for 30 euros. Within four weeks after the second visit, those wishing to upgrade will receive a standardized short report with inspection results and recommendations for action.
When searching for a specialist company in the region, the national dealer search and trade fair directory can also be helpful.
For many owners of older homes, however, hybrid heaters will likely be the device of choice.
The heat pump then takes over the base load. However, when it gets really cold, the gas heater turns on to cover the demand for the peaks. Otherwise the heat pump would use too much electricity. “A hybrid heating system is ideal if the installation of a heat pump is in principle possible, but the building still has a higher heating requirement until an energy refurbishment is carried out, which is difficult to cover with a heat pump, especially during peak times,” says the concept paper.
Gas heating replacement: Find financial support here
Replacing the heating system is primarily a financial matter. Therefore, the state supports those willing to change with subsidies. Support is available to replace the heating system and install a new heating system.
Homeowners should learn in advance about the upgrade options for their heating system.
Grants can be applied for at the Federal Office for Economics and Export Control (BAFA), loans are provided by Reconstruction Loan Corporation (KfW).
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