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The end of the chaos - Bundestag passes Building Energy Act (GEG)

June 19, 2020

Ludwigshafen, 19.06.2020 | The Building Energy Act, or GEG for short, has long been eagerly awaited. The uniform, coordinated set of regulations for the energy requirements for new buildings, existing buildings and the use of renewable energies to supply heating and cooling to buildings is intended to bring together various laws on building energy efficiency and heat use. This will significantly simplify the previously highly complex and difficult to understand landscape of energy-saving legislation for building owners and planners. Drafts of the law have been available since 2017. After endless postponements over legislative periods, the GEG was passed by the Bundestag yesterday.

THE END OF THE CHAOS - FEDERAL PARLIAMENT PASSES BUILDING ENERGY ACT

"This is really good news for building owners, especially in the new build sector. The GEG finally takes into account energy-efficient technologies that can do more and are more economical at the same time."

says Thomas Kübler, Managing Partner of KÜBLER GmbH. With the new law, heating technologies can now also be used without any problems, which are clearly superior not only in terms of energy efficiency but also in terms of ease of use." In addition, there is another welcome effect: "From an overall economic perspective, operators of hall buildings now have many more design options at their disposal to realize energy efficiency in their companies. And at significantly lower investment costs".

For years, affected companies and associations have been fighting for the revision of the EEWärmeG. The criticism of this is that the wording of the law simply overlooked the special physical building conditions of rooms with a ceiling height of over 4 m and therefore focused on hydraulic systems, which are significantly less efficient and suitable here.

"With the GEG, we finally have a regulation that is open to all technologies and no longer excludes highly efficient systems that are tailored to the specific requirements of large-scale heating simply because the designers have worked in an undifferentiated manner."

says KÜBLER. The guiding principle "Efficiency first" is finally gaining in importance. Specifically, when the GEG comes into force, decentrally heated halls (zones) with room heights > 4 m will be exempt from the obligation to use renewable energies to cover heating and cooling energy requirements.

What's next? The draft bill to standardize energy-saving legislation for buildings was adopted by the Bundestag on 18 June 2020 with the votes of the CDU/CSU and SPD based on the recommendation of the Committee for Economic Affairs and Energy. There were no significant changes compared to the draft bill from January 2020. However, the abolition of the PV cap and the opened innovation clause (e.g. for hydrogen) should be highlighted. In the next step, the law must now be sent back to the Bundesrat and signed by the Federal President. After publication in the Federal Law Gazette, the GEG comes into force. EnEV and EEWärmeG will then be history.

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