EU-Pläne: Haus- und Wohnungseigentümern droht die nächste nächste Kostenwelle

Gebäuderichtlinie EU-Pläne: Haus- und Wohnungseigentümern droht die nächste nächste Kostenwelle

Ein Einfamilienhaus entsteht am Stadtrand von Leipzig (Archivbild)

The homeowners association Haus & Grund estimates that more than seven million owner-occupied homes and approximately 7.2 million existing apartments in Germany could be affected by the law.

© Jan Woitas / DPA

The European Parliament aims to encourage homeowners in all member states to renovate their houses by tightening the Energy Efficiency Law. There is strong criticism from Germany.

The EU Parliament wants to tighten the Building Energy Act. After the discussions about the German Heating Act, homeowners now face additional costs. Over the weekend, Federal Minister of Construction Klara Geywitz (SPD) took a position on this: she considers the proposed renovation obligation to be wrong. Other German government politicians also have critical views on the EU’s ideas. The EU Commission, the Parliament, and the Council of Heads of State and Government are still negotiating the directive. But what exactly is being discussed here and what implications would it have for German property owners?

Was plant die EU und warum?

The EU plans to revise its directive on the energy efficiency of buildings. This is necessary because Europe aims to be climate-neutral by 2050. By then, all buildings must be completely decarbonized. Buildings are the largest CO2 emitter in the EU, accounting for over a third of greenhouse gas emissions from construction to demolition. Additionally, buildings consume 40 percent of the energy, with about three-quarters of them being inefficient in the EU. According to a 2020 report by the EU Commission, renovating existing buildings could potentially reduce the EU’s overall energy consumption by up to six percent and CO2 emissions by approximately five percent.

The EU has identified buildings with the lowest values as the key lever. Therefore, the proposal from the EU Parliament suggests that all residential buildings in the lowest energy efficiency class G must reach class E by 2030 and class D by 2033. However, this doesn’t mean much yet: there are currently no standardized EU energy classes, so it is also unclear which buildings would fall into class G. In Germany, for example, the efficiency classes range from A+ to H.

What could homeowners in Germany potentially face?

The homeowner association Haus & Grund estimates that more than seven million owner-occupied homes and around 7.2 million existing apartments in Germany could be affected by the law. According to the German Energy Agency Dena, approximately 60 percent of residential buildings in Germany were constructed before the first thermal insulation regulation came into effect in 1979, and many of them have not been energetically renovated or have had minimal renovations to date.

The costs for individual homeowners will depend on the renovation status of their houses. The German state development bank KfW estimates a total cost of around 254 billion euros for Germany. Possible measures include new windows, heating systems, or insulation. However, the effectiveness of insulation is now being questioned by Federal Minister of Building Geywitz. She stated in an interview with the „Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung“ that not every house would increase in value as a result.

However, a low energy efficiency class could indeed have a negative impact on the value and sale or rental of a property, as poorly energetically renovated properties are already less attractive. If the directive is adopted and becomes a national law, additional sanctions could be imposed on owners who do not meet the requirements. However, the responsibility for this lies with the individual member states, who are likely to act more leniently in this regard. Exceptions are also provided for in the current state of the law, including for listed or small buildings up to 50 square meters.

Do homeowners have to cover the costs of renovation themselves?

Both the EU and the federal government aim to support energy renovations. By the end of 2021, the Commission had pledged that up to 150 billion euros would be available from the EU budget by 2030. The Parliament has also advocated for easier access to financing.

In Germany, there is a program called the Federal Funding for Efficient Buildings (BEG), which supports measures for improving energy efficiency and replacing fossil fuel heating systems. The maximum funding limit for existing individual measures is 60,000 euros per residential unit. However, the majority of the costs will have to be borne by the homeowners themselves. Landlords can transfer a portion of the renovation costs to tenants through a surcharge.

What are the different positions in politics?

The strict requirements proposed by the Parliament are supported by the EU Commission. In the long run, investments in renovations would pay off. However, negotiations with the Council of Heads of State and Government are ongoing and could weaken the law. Many members of the SPD have long supported the law. However, Minister of Construction Geywitz, who is also a member of the SPD, now expresses criticism towards the tightening of the directive. „In fact, this would result in an obligation to renovate all buildings that do not meet certain energy standards. I reject that,“ the SPD politician made clear. A „huge effort“ like a renovation should not be legally enforced, especially not in a blanket manner. „I say no to minimum standard obligations for every house without considering who lives in it, who owns it, and how long it could still be used,“ said Geywitz.

Finanzminister Christian Lindner (FDP) sagte, er halte die Richtlinie“für enorm gefährlich“. Der CDU-Europaabgeordnete Dennis Radtke hatte bereits gewarnt, dass die Kosten im Kampf gegen den Klimawandel“auf Omas Häuschen“ abgewälzt werden könnten. Die Grünen im EU-Parlament argumentieren hingegen, dass Verbraucherinnen und Verbraucher im Gegenteil von niedrigeren Energiekosten profitieren würden, wenn sie Energie effizienter nutzen.

The article was first published on