With the compromise of the traffic light coalition on the long-controversial building energy law, the end of oil and gas heating comes in Germany. However, there will be an end in installments because there should be transitional and exceptional regulations. And the market will regulate it a bit, according to the calculations of the federal government.
The most important questions and answers about replacing heaters:
According to current plans, from January 1, 2024, newly installed heating systems should be operated with 65 percent renewable energy. The cabinet draft is now to be adopted quickly and introduced in the Bundestag.
Homeowners have one less thing to worry about: the originally planned replacement obligation for functioning oil and gas heating systems is off the table. These can continue to be operated after January 1, 2024 and can also be repaired if they fail. In general, however, anyone who has a heating system installed after this deadline must ensure that at least 65 percent of it is operated with renewable energies. This applies to new buildings as well as to older houses.
In the event of an accident, i.e. if an old oil or gas heating system can no longer be repaired, homeowners should not be left out in the cold for weeks because heat pumps cannot be delivered at short notice. You can therefore install an oil or gas burner again, which is usually much quicker. However, this heating must later be ecologically retrofitted in order to meet the 65 percent requirement. There is a period of three years for this. It would be possible, for example, to supplement the conventional gas heating with a heat pump. This would then be the primary heating, gas would only be used as a supplement.
Yes. Other special regulations are also planned for homeowners over 80 years of age. In principle, the installation of a gas or oil heating system remains possible. If the old heating system breaks down, it can still be replaced with a gas or oil heating system. However, the system must then be converted after three years at the latest in line with the 65 percent target. And: If the house is inherited or sold, the new law applies – albeit with a transitional period of two years.
In addition, there should be extensive hardship regulations. For example, if it makes no technical or economic sense in a building, it should also be possible to deviate from the 65 percent target here. There are also hardship rules for low-income households.
Heating with hydrogen is unlikely to be attractive for most homeowners, if only because of the current high acquisition costs. So-called H2-ready gas heaters, which can be completely converted to hydrogen, may be installed according to the draft law. Prerequisite: There must be a binding investment and transformation plan for hydrogen networks and the heating systems must be operated with at least 50 percent biomethane by 2030 and with at least 65 percent hydrogen by 2036 at the latest. Experts warn, however, that H2-Ready heaters for the combustion of pure hydrogen would still have to be converted at great expense.
Anyone who wants to stick to oil and gas for heating at all costs could come up with the idea of having a new burner installed before January 1st next year. This is possible according to the draft of the Building Energy Act. But: The rising CO2 price in the building sector should quickly make heating with only fossil fuels very expensive. And: On December 31, 2044, heating exclusively with oil and gas will definitely come to an end anyway.
The traffic light promises to provide financial support for switching to climate-friendly heating so as not to overwhelm anyone and to provide incentives for voluntary conversion. The details, in particular the amount of the funding, are not yet known. From circles in the Federal Ministry of Finance it is said that there will be a kind of scrapping premium for old heating systems, which is graded according to the age of the systems to be replaced.
Germany has legally committed to becoming greenhouse gas neutral by 2045 at the latest. To this end, the use of fossil fuels for heating buildings should be completely phased out by 2045 at the latest. At present, more than 80 percent of the heat requirement is covered by burning fossil fuels. Of the approximately 41 million households in Germany, almost half are heated with natural gas and almost one in four with heating oil. According to the Federal Ministry of Economics, heat pumps account for less than three percent.