© V. Yakobchuk - Fotolia.com
Germany’s Upper House of Parliament, the Bundesrat, approved and signed into law the long-awaited Energy Savings Directive (EnEV2014), which stipulates the minimum level of energy saving measures required from all new-build properties as part of Germany’s ambitious energy master plan to reduce energy consumption by 80% from current levels by 2050. The Bundesrat is made up of politicians representing the sixteen German federal states.
The new laws see the enforced reduction of primary energy use of 25%, staggered over two steps of 12.5% each in 2014 and 2016, while imposing improved outer insulation of 10%. The law also sets specified standards for the communication of energy consumption in advertising accommodation, and the classification of property according to energy efficiency categories – much like washing machines or dishwashers in the white goods section of electrical stores.
Germany’s real estate associations wasted little time in voicing their criticism of what they believe to be unduly harsh impositions. They have been lobbying for a less radical introduction of the minimum reductions, seeing a 12.5% target from 2016 as much more realistic. They argue that unrealistic demands for more affordable apartments will be set back by years because of the new measures, and that the cost of new buildings will inevitably rise – in some of their estimates, by up to 8%.
The ZIA Zentraler Immobilien Auschuss, the central lobbying organisation for a myriad of real estate associations in Germany, warned outright that the laws would directly inhibit further investment in new building. “These increasingly strict regulations will dirve construction costs upward, and will make construction of both residential and non-residential buildings increasingly uneconomical”, said ZIA vice-president Ulrich Höller.