Fuelled by the war in Ukraine, energy prices continue to rise. To counteract this, the German government has now adopted a package of measures. In addition to relief for consumers, the package includes numerous measures for greater energy efficiency that affect property owners.
In order to reduce Germany's dependence on gas, oil and coal, efforts to save energy are to be stepped up, particularly in the building sector. The focus here is particularly on the type of heating system. Contrary to what was agreed in the coalition agreement, according to the resolution, every newly installed heating system is now to be powered by at least 65 percent renewable energies as early as 2024. Previously, this was planned for 2025. In the run-up to the deliberations, German Economics Minister Robert Habeck had already described gas heating as a "discontinued model" and Green Party leader Ricarda Lang also spoke of a "farewell to fossil gas heating" in connection with the resolutions. To achieve the ambitious goals, the German government wants to launch a heat pump offensive and support property owners with a replacement program for old oil and gas heating systems.
The package also includes higher efficiency requirements for new buildings. As early as January 2023, the KfW Efficiency House 55 is to become the unsubsidized standard for new buildings. State subsidies for new construction have been a contentious issue for some time since they were temporarily halted in January 2022. Economics and Climate Protection Minister Habeck wants to make a reform proposal in the coming months.
In addition to opposition politicians, industry representatives have also criticized the resolutions of the traffic light coalition. In addition to questions of feasibility, the expected cost increases are the main subject of criticism. Andreas Ibel, president of the Bundesverband Feier Immobilien- und Wohnungsunternehmen (BFW), sees the agreed building standards as an intensification of the already high cost pressure and doubts that it will be possible to equip older existing buildings with heat pumps as early as 2024. Jan-Marco Luczak, construction and housing policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, also criticizes the fact that the installation of a heat pump in numerous buildings does not make sense without further structural measures. According to Luczak, panel heating elements such as underfloor heating are necessary for economical and ecological operation. In addition, the prescribing of the efficiency house 55 as minimum standard is also criticized. According to Luczak, this is still far from being a market standard and makes building significantly more expensive.
Back in February, the coalition government in Berlin had agreed on an initial relief package that includes the abolition of the EEG surcharge from July 2022. In addition to the measures to increase energy efficiency, the second relief package now adopted also includes numerous relief measures for consumers. Apart from further one-off payments for recipients of social benefits and child allowances and a reduction in gasoline prices, the planned energy price flat rate of 300 euros is the centerpiece of the package. This will be paid to all employed persons in tax brackets 1 to 5 who are liable for income tax, irrespective of other benefits such as the commuter allowance, via payroll accounting. Self-employed persons will receive a one-time reduction in their advance income tax payment. Payment is expected as of June 2022.