Housing: Compulsory renovation? EU Parliament votes on building specifications

Housing: Compulsory renovation?  EU Parliament votes on building specifications

In order for the EU to become climate-neutral by 2050, particularly energy-inefficient buildings are to be renovated. This is what the EU plans currently under discussion envisage. Many Germans could be affected by this.

The EU Parliament is voting on its position on new minimum standards for the energy efficiency of buildings this Tuesday. The project had recently been the subject of controversy, with Union politicians, among others, having announced resistance to the project.

What is discussed?

The background to the debate is a proposal by the EU Commission. Among other things, this includes new requirements for the energy efficiency of buildings. In October, the EU states involved in the legislative process agreed on their position for the pending negotiations with the European Parliament. According to this, by 2033 every building should have at least a class “D” energy efficiency standard. The so-called overall energy efficiency class should be specified on a scale from “A” to “G”, similar to household appliances.

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. His Green Party colleague Jutta Paulus, on the other hand, says the aim is to significantly reduce the energy consumption of buildings and thus protect consumers’ wallets.

What does the EU Parliament want?

This is now being voted on. The responsible rapporteur Ciarán Cuffe, like the EU states, proposes that residential buildings should meet at least a “D” standard by 2033. For publicly owned buildings, this should already be the case by 2030. The EU Commission had originally proposed a standard that was one letter less efficient. But there are also a number of amendments to the proposals.

How expensive will the renovations be?

This is disputed. The president of the Haus & Grund owners’ association, Kai Warnecke, warns of a dramatic loss in value, especially in older buildings. The EU Commission, on the other hand, emphasizes that renovations pay off in the long term, for example through lower energy consumption. It is also being discussed whether there should be exceptions for social housing. An example is given when renovations lead to rent increases that are not offset by lower energy costs.

However, money from EU pots should also 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.

Why does the EU Commission see a need for action?

According to the Commission when presenting the plans, 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. Changes are therefore still possible.

Source: Stern

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