Germany has a direct target for its building stock aiming to use close to zero energy by 2050, this is to be achieved by both new and existing buildings to greatly increase their energy efficiency while using renewable energy sources to cover the remaining energy demand.  Germany’s “Energy Concept” of 2010 requires that the primary energy demand of buildings be reduced by 80% in 2050, with an intermediate milestone of a reduction in heat demand of 20% by 2020.  The targets are to be achieved based on three pillars: legislation (codes and labelling schemes), financial support and provisions of information and advice on energy efficiency measures. The current energy efficiency efforts are well packaged.  The state bank, KfW, and the German Energy Agency (Dena) are the federal government’s official agencies designated to support energy efficiency in Germany; Dena provides citizens with information and advice and acts as a “centre of expertise”, as a one-stop shop, while the KfW provides financial incentives and loans to promote energy efficiency.

The Policy Tool for Renovation highlights eight key areas where Germany’s Renovation Policy Package excels: overall country reduction targets, building reduction targets, building code requirements for renovations, labelling schemes, taxation mechanisms, utility-funded energy efficiency programmes, training and education campaigns and a one-stop solution centre.

The residential consumption in Germany has been reducing for the past decade as well as the consumption per GDP, making it a prime candidate for the comparison study.  It is also one of the largest countries in Europe.  The trends in consumption and the GDP show that Germany went through a few turbulent years around the 2008 financial crisis yet both trends were back to normal by 2010. Population is 81.8 million (Eurostat, 2012).

Regulatory Measures

Overall Targets

The German government has set a national short-term GHG reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. Additional reduction targets of 55% by 2030, 70% by 2040 and 80% to 95% by 2050 are to be realised, each relative to 1990.

Renovation Targets for Residential Buildings

Germany aims to realise a reduction of the heating requirement of the building stock by 20 % by 2020 and of the primary energy requirement by 80 % by 2050. They intend to have an almost climate-neutral building stock by 2050 by covering the remaining energy demand primarily with renewable energies and by increasing the energy efficiency in the new and the existing building stock.

Renovation Targets for Public Buildings

Total building stock targets not yet in place.

Building Assessment

Building Code Requirements for Renovations

The German Energy Saving Ordinance (Energieeinsparverordnung, EnEv) was revised by the national Government in November 2013. Compared to current standards, the new code requires a 25% reduction in primary energy demand and a 20% improvement in the energy performance of the building envelope., the requirements of the code are based on an energy frame calculation. This piece of legislation will come into force in May 2014 and includes an important step towards NZEB. 

The code requirements for existing buildings are partially performance based; the code stipulates that the minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings are also applicable to existing buildings if refurbishments change exterior elements by more than 10%. 

U- values:

  • Roof: 0.2 W/(m2.K)
  • Wall: 0.28 W/(m2.K)
  • Window: 1.3 W/(m2.K)

Value for airtightness: No

Labelling Schemes

Germany’s mandatory Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for buildings has been in place since 2009, as required by the EPBD for new and existing buildings when sold or rented. The EPCs are valid for 10 years and will only be required in case of major renovation. In Germany, the EPC has two different legal standings; the EPC is mandatory for new buildings, whereas for existing buildings, it is only mandatory upon request by the purchaser/ tenant.

Germany’s voluntary Passivhaus labelling scheme is a rigorous, voluntary standard that aims to dramatically reduce the space heating and cooling requirements of a building.  

The Passivhaus standards have very strict requirements that must be abided by in order to obtain the label, for example, in order to require a Passivhaus label the building must have an annual heating and cooling demand of 15 kWh/m² per year or to be designed with a peak heat load of 10 W/m².

More info: Climate Policy Initiative and Passivhaus

Financial Instruments

Incentive Schemes

The KfW bank that provides subsidised loans for energy efficiency.  The business model of the KfW bank enables for them to provide programmes that support promotional loans, by working with German’s commercial banks. The programmes are designed to guarantee that commercial banks will provide attractive interest rates to private investors.

The KfWs Energy Efficient Construction and Rehabilitation (EECR) programme for residential properties provides subsidised lending for the renovation of existing building stock (and new buildings). The funding is set according to the level of energy efficiency achieved, KfW can finance up to 100% of the loan.  When more than one element is improved, or a combination of measures are undertaken it is possible to receive a bonus.

As required by the Government’s Energy Concept 2050, from 2009-2012, funding of EUR 500 million was provided for the renovation of existing buildings.

More info: KfW

Taxation Mechanisms

The ‘Haushaltsnahen Dienstleistungen’ tax incentive allows for 20% of the labour costs (up to 6000 Euros, tax relief on up to 1,200 Euros) of certain home renovations associated with reducing the energy demand of the building, this tax relief will be available over a period of 10 years. 

Energy/Carbon Tax

In Germany, the Renewable Energy Act requires all consumers of electricity to contribute to the additional costs caused by "Energiewende". In 2013, the average contribution per Kwh was 5,2 cent and it is likely to increase in the coming years.

More info: The BigEE

Economic Instruments

Utility-Funded Energy Efficiency Programmes

A dynamic market for energy service companies is not yet fully developed in Germany.

Market Instruments for Energy Efficient Renovations

The German energy service market is one of the most mature in Europe.  In 1990, Energy efficiency services were introduced and the market has been growing ever since. There are around 500 estimated numbers of ESCO companies working with energy services in Germany and around 280 of these are working with energy contracting (ESC and EPC).  The Energy Service Directive, ESD (2006/32/EC), has an target of reaching 9% energy efficiency to 2016. 

More info: DENA

General Information & Capacity Building

Training and Education Campaigns

The German Energy Agency (Dena, Deutsche Energieagentur) is a “centre of expertise for energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and intelligent energy systems” (Dena).  With regards to energy efficiency in buildings it organises campaigns, distributes information to the public, supports the building sector (architects or craftsmen) to work in line with current standards and regulations and develops standards and labels for efficiency.

More info: DENA

One Stop Solution Centre

KfW & Dena both act as one-stop-shops in Germany whereby advice is given on all energy saving activities.

More info: DENA and KfW

Overall Performance

Please see Create Graphs tab above.