Building Minister Klara Geywitz is calling for a departure from planned energy saving regulations for new residential buildings and unrenovated older buildings. Instead of private houses, carbon dioxide should first be saved for climate protection by renovating public buildings, the SPD politician told the German Press Agency before the meeting between the federal government and the housing industry in the Chancellery scheduled for Monday.

“I am against using mandatory minimum efficiency standards for buildings to scare owners of unrenovated houses into having to invest tens of thousands of euros,” said Geywitz, also with a view to EU plans. A building efficiency directive is being discussed in Brussels that would require improvements, especially for houses with the worst energy values.

The Federal Ministry of Economics also wants to prevent certain requirements. “We rule out mandatory renovations for individual residential buildings,” the “Spiegel” quoted from a statement.

“We should first set a good example with public buildings, with our children’s schools, with sports halls, with town halls, fire stations and care facilities,” said Geywitz. “We have already saved quite a bit of CO2. And if we later discover that there are still too many unrenovated single-family homes, we will certainly have an answer to that.”

Geywitz: Think about an alternative to the EH40 energy saving standard

With a view to new buildings, Geywitz clearly distanced himself from the EH40 energy saving standard that the traffic light agreed in the coalition agreement for 2025. “The current categories, the EH40 efficiency standard for example, focus too much on insulation and the required heating heat,” said Geywitz. “We should develop a simple system that promotes energy-efficient construction, the use of environmentally friendly and recycled building materials and space-saving construction. That would be an alternative to EH40.”

Geywitz argued that the definition in the coalition agreement comes from a time with lower financing and construction costs. “We urgently need to reduce construction costs. The difference in construction costs between the now valid EH55 and EH40 standards can be several hundred euros per square meter.”

A flexible system is necessary. “This applies to older buildings, but also to new buildings,” said Geywitz. “Wood and other natural building materials store carbon dioxide for a long time. We need the technical freedom to say: If you store or save a lot of CO2 when building the house by using recycled materials, then you can do so later in the operational phase be more flexible in terms of energy consumption.”

The “housing construction summit” in the Chancellery on Monday will discuss how more apartments can be built quickly and cheaply. The numbers are currently declining due to high interest rates and construction costs.