Energy Saving Ordinance for Homeowners - Curse or Blessing?

The Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) calls on owners to take action. It aims to promote green energies. But what challenges does that bring? You can read the answers here!

Energy Saving Ordinance for Homeowners

Around 80 % of German tenants pay attention to low ancillary costs. So you might think that the Energy Saving Ordinance 2002 came in handy, right? The EnEV was intended to reduce the consumption of primary energies such as electricity and water - so tenants could hope for energy-efficient space heating or ventilation systems and lower ancillary costs. Homeowners, on the other hand, faced high costs for renovation or modernization work. What were the overall consequences of the Energy Saving Ordinance? Let's take a look at that now!

What does the Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) say?

In 2022, around 50 % of Germans heated with gas. Other households used heating oil (25%) or district heating (14%) to keep their homes comfortable. These energy sources are or make use of fossil raw materials, which means they contribute significantly to CO emissions. This is where the Energy Saving Ordinance of 2002 came in: In line with energy and climate protection policy, it pursued the goal of an energy turnaround. Green energy was also intended to promote a climate-neutral real estate industry.

additional costs

The requirements of the EnEV in brief:

  • With the Energy Saving Ordinance, new construction projects should be equipped with
    energy sources of the highest standards. Under certain conditions, banks such as KfW support renovations or modernizations with subsidies and grants.
  • Existing residential buildings, offices and business premises (with exceptions) should also be renovated to reduce the energy demand of heating and hot water systems.
  • Thus, the EnEV called for retrofit work, especially for thermal and roof insulation. (The right insulation can save around 14 % energy - and ancillary costs).
  • As a result of the Energy Saving Ordinance, homeowners must now keep an energy certificate for their property. As of 2014, properties were divided into energy efficiency classes A+ (very energy-efficient) to H (not energy-efficient) - with the energy transition, A+ is to become standard.
  • The EnEV was put into force in 2002. It was amended in 2004, 2007, 2009, 2014 and finally in 2016. Initially only applicable to new buildings, the energy certificate also became mandatory for homeowners' existing properties in 2007.

In 2020, the Energy Saving Ordinance was replaced by the Building Energy Act (GEG). This now combines the previous regulations of the Energy Conservation Act (EnEG), the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) and the Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEWärmeG).

Homeowners were therefore faced with even stricter regulations. Find out, for example, from the DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council) what you can do for your sustainable property.


What does the Energy Conservation Ordinance require of homeowners?

To achieve the climate targets, the German building stock must become more climate-neutral by 2050 using green energy. To this end, the EnEV 2016 tightened the consumption regulations and prescribed a further 25% reduction in primary energy demand. Haus und Grund Deutschland, however, posits that in order to achieve these goals, conversion measures must always be oriented toward zero CO2 emissions. The DGNB, for example, regularly discusses how this is possible.

Are you a homeowner? Then you should look at the following energy drivers in particular:

  • Space heating, cooling and insulation around the building (walls, roofs, facades)
  • Hot water generation
  • Air conditioning and ventilation systems
  • Regulators, boilers and heating pumps that work with electricity

Try to reduce the energy consumption of your property to energy efficiency class E. The better the energy quality of your building (the further forward the alphabetical letter), the lower your annual energy costs will be: For example, efficiency class E currently (as of 02.2023) results in annual contributions of €30/m2.

By way of comparison, the highest efficiency class, A+, corresponds to a maximum energy consumption of 30 kWh/m2. Currently, most residential buildings in Germany still have a consumption of 160 kWh/m2.

To whom does the EnEV apply?

Since the GEG is based on the EnEV, among other things, the requirements of the Energy Saving Ordinance continue to apply to all homeowners. This is regardless of whether you have bought or inherited a house.

One exception is single-family or two-family homes that have been owned and specifically occupied since 2002. Special regulations also apply to new construction projects: If their building applications were submitted by December 2020, the Energy Saving Ordinance applies. If the building application was submitted later, you and your construction manager must now comply with the GEG. Here, you should rely on high energy quality from the very beginning. Especially when selling real estate , you can thus generate a long-term increase in value.

The Energy Saving Ordinance as a curse for homeowners

So far, the EnEV seems to bring only high financial consequences for homeowners. So is the Energy Saving Ordinance more of a curse for homeowners? We summarize some of the challenges of the EnEV for you:

  • The conversion measures require the homeowners to act on their own responsibility.
  • Not only do you have to make various arrangements with tenants of your units, but you also have to make investments from your own capital.
  • In the case of random checks, proof must be provided that the EnEV or GEG requirements are being complied with.
  • If owners do not comply with the current obligations under energy-efficient housing, they can expect heavy fines of up to €50,000.

Haus und Grund Deutschland assumes that 7.2 million homes alone will be affected by a refurbishment obligation by 2033. This is due, for example, to the fact that most of Germany's older buildings fall into energy efficiency classes F or G. For large-scale refurbishment projects, you should consult an energy advisor to ensure that your properties are properly upgraded.

This makes the energy transition a blessing

Every one of us has felt the effects of climate change by now - either on our last ski vacation or at home: yesterday we were lying under the sun and in the pool, today we don't dare step outside because it's raining cats and dogs.

Favored by fossil fuels such as gas and oil, real estate contributes about 30% of Germany's CO2 emissions. Conversely, this means that homeowners can do a lot to promote sustainable living with the Energy Saving Ordinance. In this way, the energy turnaround in the real estate industry will be a blessing in the long term:

  • A climate-positive building stock can be driven by renewable energy sources or solid biomass for thermal insulation.
  • Keeping energy consumption as low as possible is initially an investment, but it will foreseeably lead to lower energy costs and keep utility costs stable. Depending on the measure, you can save up to 75% on energy costs in the long term.
  • If you create an EnEV or even an efficiency house, you benefit from subsidies such as the KfW grant for energy-efficient renovations. Up to 25% of your investment can also be supported when converting insulation and heating systems.

In order to promote green energies and actively contribute to the energy turnaround, 11% of Germany's gross electricity production will already be drawn from photovoltaic systems as renewable energy sources in 2022.

Act in good time and get advice

Are you currently considering conversion or retrofit work? Costs and benefits must be well weighed. To do so, have the current status of your building evaluated by qualified energy consultants. In any case, the GEG obliges homeowners to arrange a free consultation on energy-efficient retrofitting in existing buildings. After all, the support will also help you to obtain government subsidies or grants.

For your efficient energy management and comprehensive energy consulting of your properties, we are also at your side. As a professional service provider, EichenGlobal is a member of the DGNB. In addition to monitoring energy-efficient properties, the DGNB is committed to sustainable construction in the real estate industry. In the expert network of over 1,500 members, we regularly exchange information on sustainability standards in existing buildings. In this way, we always find an individual solution for energy-related conversion measures - which supports homeowners and tenants.

Read about what we're doing to meet the current real estate market as a property management company in our latest blog post.

Frequently asked questions about the Energy Saving Ordinance

The Energy Saving Ordinance set standards for climate-neutral buildings in Germany from 2002 to 2020. In 2020, the German government introduced the Building Energy Act (GEG). It combines the regulations of the EnEV 2016 with previous requirements of the Energy Saving Act (EnEG), the Renewable Energies Act (EEG), and the Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEWärmeG), which builds on them. For the refurbishment or modernization of your property, you must comply with the requirements of the GEG in 2023.

With regard to the Energy Saving Ordinance, efficient energy sources must be used to reduce the consumption of hot water preparation and heating technologies in particular. The GEG also expands the regulations with consumption values, for example in relation to insulation and heat loss as well as cooling systems. In this context, the second amendment was adopted in April 2023:

  • One- and two-family houses were previously excluded from the EnEV under certain conditions. Since 2020, according to the GEG, these buildings must also be assessed by an energy consulting service before major renovation work is carried out.
  • Assessments must be recorded in writing prior to refurbishment or modernization and kept for 10 years. They must be ready to hand for official inspections.
  • Oil and gas heating systems installed before January 1991 may now no longer be operated. If your stock is heated with fossil fuels whose energy drivers are older than 30 years or irreparably broken, they must also be renewed.
  • In addition, regulations on restrictions on the use of oil heating were recorded in 2020. In April 2023, the GEG now stipulated the switch to renewable energies. In order to drive forward the energy turnaround, every new heating system must be powered by 65% green energies from 2024. However, discussions about the realization and implementation are currently still very hot here - surely the term "heating law" sounds familiar to you.

Since 2007, the maintenance of an energy certificate is no longer mandatory only for new construction projects. With exceptions, it must also be presentable for existing buildings. This is all the more important if you want to rent or sell vacant units in your apartment building. New tenants or buyers should be shown the energy pass without being asked. Optimally, you can even provide them with a copy. On the one hand, this enables them to make comparisons between properties in terms of energy quality, and on the other hand, to estimate future ancillary costs. Of course, the energy certificate must also be presentable during official inspections.