Housing: EU Parliament for compulsory renovation of old buildings

The EU Parliament has voted for stricter requirements for the energy efficiency of buildings.

Housing: EU Parliament for compulsory renovation of old buildings

The EU Parliament has voted for stricter requirements for the energy efficiency of buildings. Accordingly, many properties would have to be renovated in the coming years. Specifically, residential buildings are to achieve at least energy efficiency class "E" by 2030 and energy efficiency class "D" by 2033.

The so-called overall energy efficiency class should be specified on a scale from "A" to "G", similar to household appliances. The project still has to be negotiated with the EU states and was recently the subject of controversy because, among other things, politicians from the CDU and FDP see it as an obligation to carry out expensive renovations.

Why is there criticism?

There is a fear that many homeowners could face high renovation costs. "We can't pass on the costs of fighting climate change to grandma's house," criticizes CDU MEP Dennis Radtke. The Greens MP Jutta Paulus, on the other hand, says the aim is to significantly reduce the energy consumption of buildings and thus protect consumers' wallets.

The President of the House Owners Association

How many buildings would be affected?

According to the EU Commission, a renovation from level "G" to "F" would affect around 30 million parts of buildings in the EU, including apartments. Class "G" buildings are said to be the 15 percent of a country's most inefficient buildings.

In Germany, the energy efficiency class is still given on a scale up to "H". Because of this and because aspects of the specific plans can also change, emphasizes Haus

How expensive will the renovations be?

Specifically, this depends on the individual case. Jakob Grimm, speaker at Haus

However, money from EU pots is also to be made available for the renovations. At the end of 2021, the Commission said that up to 150 billion euros would be available from the EU budget by 2030. Parliament also advocates that EU countries should facilitate access to grants and funding.

Are there exceptions?

The Greens MP Ciarán Cuffe, who is responsible for the project in the European Parliament, emphasized on Tuesday that this is planned. As examples he gave small buildings under 50 square meters, religious or listed buildings and those that are only used temporarily, such as holiday homes. According to a communication from Parliament, the EU states could also allow further exceptions themselves, "depending on whether the renovations are economically and technically feasible and whether qualified workers are available."

What happens if the specifications are violated?

That's not decided yet. Cuffe emphasized that EU states are responsible for determining possible penalties. In general, the EU Commission initiates so-called infringement proceedings against a country that violates EU law and the ECJ could ultimately impose a fine.

Why does the EU Commission see a need for action?

The project goes back to a proposal by the EU Commission. She had presented this because, according to her, buildings are responsible for around 40 percent of energy consumption and around a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. If houses are better insulated or modern heating systems are used, this can reduce energy requirements.

The planned law change is part of the "Fit for 55" climate package, which aims to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. In addition, residents should be protected from escalating costs due to energy prices through lower consumption.

What's next?

The plans have not yet been decided with the vote in the EU Parliament. The EU states and the European Parliament still have to find a compromise before the guidelines can come into force. These negotiations usually last at least several months. However, Cuffe hopes to find a compromise by the middle of the year. Changes to the project are still possible.