Germany plans incentives for energy-saving renovations

Germany is taking steps to make energy efficiency renovations more attractive, with plans for tax rebates and incentive schemes. [gynti_46]

Germany takes steps to make energy efficiency renovations more attractive with plans for tax rebates and incentive schemes. [gynti_46]

Germany still lags behind on energy efficiency, pushing Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, and Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel, to take measures making energy-saving renovations more attractive. EURACTIV Germany reports.

The German government plans to provide more support for building renovations to help reach the EU’s Energy Efficiency Targets for 2030.  

On 3 December, the federal cabinet is expected to pass the next “National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency”.

This measure is supposed to include more direct public investment bonuses through the KfW development bank, as well as tax rebates for private investors, the Rheinische Post wrote, quoting sources from within the coalition.

In this way, the German government would be able to put the legal measure from 2012 back on the current agenda. The grand coalition hoped to support private investors in renovating their buildings to be more efficient.

The plan included measures allowing investors to write their expenses off by ten percent over ten years. But the law was halted in the Bundesrat (upper house) because the regions feared high losses in revenue.

According to government coalition sources, a compromise could be reached soon on a bonus model capping the annual tax bonus at a maximum of €2250.

The German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) and the housing industry are also calling for tax incentives for efficiency-minded investors.

“The industry is expecting a clear statement on greater energy efficiency in Germany,” said ZDH President Hans Peter Wollseifer.

The President of the Federation of German Residence Entrepreneurs (GdW) Axel Gedaschko, called for “tax rebate options for energy renovation measures”.

At the EU Summit in October, 28 heads of state and government agreed to reduce their energy consumption by 27% until 2030. Germany is far from realising this goal.

Around 2% of existing building structures should undergo energy saving renovations. According to the German Energy Agency (Dena), the actual renovation quota is only from 0.9% to 1.3%. Dena chief Stephan Kohler called on the German government to boost KfW support programmes and prepare them for the long-term.

But with the increased stronger support for building renovations, Germany is apparently reacting to pressure from Brussels. According to a research report, Germany, along with other EU countries, is only half-heartedly implenting the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive.

>> Read: Governments ignoring EU building renovation rules

“Our analysis finds a very piecemeal approach of the strategies, not living up to the intention of the directive,” said Oliver Rapf, executive director at the Building Performance Institute Europe (BPIE).  “Governments are missing out on the opportunities that the renovation of the building stock provides to address the challenges of energy security, economic stimulus and climate change.”

The European Union's Energy Efficiency Directive in late 2012 was expected to trigger the largest revamp of Europe's existing building stock to date and set new standards for public procurement and energy audits.

But new research, obtained exclusively by EURACTIV, has found that some member states are not complying with the directive's requirements.

The Renovate Europe campaign says that, thanks to modern technology, buildings' energy demands can be cut by 80%. But, it adds, in order for that to happen, there needs to be an effective regulatory and legislative framework in place.  

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