Germany’s climate ambitions; not just hot air

The Germany government has drafted new laws for heating systems to support its target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 65% since 1990 levels (having pushed their ambition further than the EU’s 55%).

Eyes on 65

In line with the current greenhouse gas ambition, new heating installations must be powered by electricity that is at least 65% renewable. Thus the move to electric heat represents a move to cleaner energy overall. Variations for different types of heating are listed below. Fossil fuel powered heating systems can be replaced if they are then upgraded to 65%-renewable system within three years.

Heat pumps:A stand-alone heat pumps must be powered by at least 65% renewable energy and use refrigerants with low global warming potential such as propane and carbon dioxide.
Resistive heating:Electric resistive heating systems can only be used in buildings with heat efficiency exceeding legal requirements by 45%.
Solar thermal:Must provide 100% of the heat for the building.
Biomass:Only permitted in existing buildings and only in combination with heat storage, solar thermal or a heat pump, and a device to reduce particulate matter.
Biomethane:Biomethane is only allowed to be used in existing buildings.
Hydrogen:The gas network operator must provide plausible evidence in a hydrogen transformation plan and investment plan and have it reviewed and approved by the regulator. Plus, the gas network operator must guarantee the building owner that the hydrogen infrastructure will be put into operation within ten years by 1 January 2035. German gas regulators regard this impossible.
District heating:If the district heating system isn’t powered by at least 65% renewable energy, the district heating network company needs to submit a transition plan by 31 December 2026 to demonstrate how it will achieve a share of >50% of renewable energy or unavoidable waste heat by 03 December 2029

The law is effective 1st January 2024. More difficult cases are excepted, including apartment blocks and residences for older people.


Gesetzentwurf der Bundesregierung: Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Änderung des Gebäudeenergiegesetzes, zur Änderung der Heizkostenverordnung und zur Änderung der Kehr- und Überprüfungsordnung [Federal Govt Bill: Draft of a law to change the building energy law, to change the heating cost regulation and to change the sweeping and inspection regulations], German Ministry for Economy and Climate.

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