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Aim of the amendment to the Building Energy Act: More heat pumps like this

Photo: Daniel Maurer / dpa

"There is a broad consensus in society that the Federal Republic of Germany should be climate-neutral in 2045," the paper from the government factions begins. It is titled "Guardrails of the traffic light parliamentary groups for further deliberation of the Building Energy Act", and it is intended to get the government out of the dispute mode and lead it back to constructive work. (Read the message here.) A central goal is that the amendment to the law will come into force on 1 January 2024 (which does not necessarily mean that all new rules will have to apply by then).

After a preamble, it begins: "The parliamentary groups of the SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and FDP lead the following points of view:

1. In Germany, mandatory municipal heat planning will be introduced, which will be the central point of reference for mandatory measures in existing buildings with corresponding transitional periods. We are striving for Germany-wide municipal heat planning by 2028 at the latest.

a. As long as there is no municipal heat planning,

  • the regulations of the GEG do not yet apply when replacing the heating system.

  • gas heating systems may be installed from 1 January 1 if they can be converted to hydrogen. This also applies to new buildings outside new development areas.

  • In new development areas, the regulations of the GEG will apply immediately from 1 January 1.

b. If there is a municipal heat plan,

  • which provides for a climate-neutral gas network, gas heating systems that can be converted to hydrogen can also be installed in addition to all other fulfillment options.

  • which does not provide for a climate-neutral gas network, gas heating systems may only continue to be installed if they are powered by 65% biomass, non-grid-bound hydrogen or its derivatives.

c. If no CO2-neutral gas network is planned as part of municipal heat planning, there will be appropriate transitional periods for switching to the new technology that will not delay the implementation of municipal heat planning.

d. From 1 January 1, the sale of corresponding heating systems may only take place if advice is given that points out the possible effects of municipal heat planning and possible inefficiency. In addition, there will be corresponding information campaigns on CO2024 pricing and the Climate Protection Act.

e. Private and public buildings are treated equally.

2. When switching to climate-neutral heating systems, the different options should be treated equally in order to take into account regional differences. The fulfillment options should be practicable and meet sustainability criteria. The conditions for achieving the 65% approach will be uniformly revised for new and existing buildings.

a. For all fulfillment options, the discriminatory technical requirements for heating and infrastructure will be removed. This means, for example:

  • Heaters that run on wood and pellets meet the 65% requirement without exception. When using wood and pellets, false incentives must be avoided.

  • The transformation plans envisaged in the bill are no longer applicable. Instead, municipalities and operators must present a binding roadmap with binding and comprehensible interim targets (monitoring) for the ramp-up of hydrogen by 2045 in order to ensure the transformation of the gas grid.

b. Unnecessary regulatory requirements that are neither needed to meet the 65% requirement nor are part of coalition agreements will be deleted.

3. Particular attention must be paid to the landlord-tenant relationship. Tenants should not be unduly burdened. Landlords should have incentives to invest in modern heating systems.

a. Therefore, we will further develop the existing funding landscape, taking into account the modernization levy, and

b. in the case of investments in climate-friendly heating, introduce a further modernisation levy, provided that:

  • funding is claimed, and

  • the tenants benefit financially from the use of the subsidy, also taking into account the further modernisation allocation.

4. Households must not be overwhelmed in the context of necessary new investments. For this reason, the federal government will provide funding that will be financed by the Climate and Transformation Fund and that will take into account the individual needs and social hardships as precisely as possible, right down to the centre of society. We don't want to oblige anyone to do something that is not affordable in their respective life situation. That's why the exceptions, such as the regulation on the 80-year limit, will be revised and made more plausible."