What is known so far about the EU remediation obligation

In Germany, the course has been set for the heat transition, and now something is happening at EU level: The European Union wants to oblige property owners to refurbish buildings to make them more energy-efficient. Because the building sector is responsible for a quarter of all CO₂ emissions. Nothing has been decided yet, but owners can already prepare for this:

From when the obligation to rehabilitate could apply:

In mid-March, the EU Parliament voted in favor of buildings consuming less energy in the future. In concrete terms, this means that residential buildings should at least achieve energy efficiency class E (130 to less than 160 kWh/m²) by 2030 and D (100 to less than 130 kWh/m²) by 2033. Around 35 million buildings across Europe are affected. Once the resolution has been passed, the EU member states have two years to implement it – so the law will not apply until 2025 at the earliest.

EU remediation obligation could soon be decided

What that means for Germany:

There are around 19.4 million residential buildings here, almost 45 percent have so far been in the poor efficiency classes F, G or H. F with 160 to 200 kWh/m² corresponds to modernized old buildings, G with 200 to 250 kWh/m² corresponds to only partially renovated and rudimentarily insulated old buildings and H from 250 kWh/m² unrenovated old buildings. The EU states have leeway when it comes to the obligation to clean up. Since many buildings in Germany have already been renovated, stricter guidelines will apply here than in Romania, for example. Germany takes the view that it makes sense to pursue a so-called neighborhood approach. The focus is not on the energy efficiency of individual buildings, but of districts. In this way, integrated renovation programs at district level could be made possible.

What owners have to do specifically:

“Anyone who lives in an unrenovated, decades-old building must at least insulate the roof and replace the windows in order to achieve building class E,” said energy consultant Arne Kruft recently to the “Spiegel”. This costs around 50,000 euros for a single-family home. Which further measures are necessary depends on the individual case, according to Kruft, but in general the following applies: the most energy is saved if the outer shell of the house is insulated. “Anyone who then replaces the windows, insulates the roof and installs a new heating system achieves the best standard in most cases and benefits from low heating costs,” says the expert. But the costs could quickly reach 100,000 euros and more.

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There are these funding opportunities:

The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) pays subsidies, for example 15 percent for measures on the building envelope, the insulation of external walls or the replacement of windows and external doors. If you want to renovate your entire property, you can get a low-interest loan from KfW. There is a maximum of 150,000 euros per residential unit, of which 5 to 45 percent do not have to be repaid (depending on the energy efficiency level). Without a certified energy consultant, however, there is nothing.

What tenants could expect:

When modernizing a house, landlords can pass on up to eight percent of the costs per year to their tenants.

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