High Cost of Proposed New Emission Targets for Buildings Controversial

The government’s draft Energy Concept is promoting almost carbon neutral buildings by 2050. Haus und Grund, Germany’s largest association of private property owers, considers the plan unlawful as it is technically not feasible, particularly in inner city areas, and economically unreasonable.

According to Haus und Grund, owners had to invest on average EUR 1,000/m² in order to reach the zero emission standard. Tenants in turn would be faced with hefty rent increases. The monthly rent excluding ancillary costs (Kaltmiete) in Berlin would rise from EUR 4.60/m² to EUR 13.70/m², Haus und Grund claims. Rheinische Post quotes BSI, the umbrella organization of the real estate sector as saying that rents would have to rise on average by EUR 6/m². A BSI press releases says for an apartment building with 16 apartments renovation costs would amount to EUR 680/m² and to EUR 750/m² for single-family homes. Renovation costs for private buildings alone would total EUR 2.6 billion.

Stricter emission standards could therefore only be implemented if state support was increased, BSI said. Without incentives like the CO2 renovation program of the state-owned KfW development bank, an energy-efficient renovation of privately used buildings was unrealistic. Climate targets for 2020 that did not yet provide for the zero emission house could only be met with state support of at least EUR 5 billion per year. While the government announced to improve funding under the CO2 renovation program, it was planning to reduce funds for 2011 to EUR 450 million with its new austerity package. Whether the program was continued in 2012 was also unclear, Lutz Freitag, President of GdW (Federal Association of the German Housing and Real Estate Industry) criticized.

It was not enough to demand an increase in state support for energy-efficient renovations, the government had to abandon its plan to force owners to carry out energy-efficient renovations, the chairman of Haus und Grund pointed out. “We support the Federal Minister of Building Peter Ramsauer in his opinion that the requirements stipulated in the energy concept in their current form contravene fundamental law”, he said. Mr Ramsauer had called the propositions contained in the Energy Concept an “inadmissible encroachment on the fundamental right on property”, the magazine Focus writes.

Source: Haus und Grund, BSI, Focus, Rheinische Post

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