#18 - Massifying renovation: what about our neighbours?

#18 - Massifying renovation: what about our neighbours?

Renovation wave, perspectives from Germany: The list of energy efficiency experts promotes uniform quality standards for energy advice. On October 14, 2020, the European Commission launched its Renovation Wave, with the aim of increasing both the rate and quality of building renovations in EU Member States.

Most European countries have already been implementing public policies for the renovation of their building stock for several years, following, in particular, the energy performance requirements of the European Directive on Buildings (EPBD), published for the first time in 2002. However, only 1% of buildings are subject to high-performance energy renovation each year. This explains why effective action is needed to achieve the European Union's climate objectives, both in the medium and long term.

ADEME and dena, national agencies for the French and German ecological transition, have joined forces and expertise to create the Franco-German energy platform , as part of a joint project: the Franco-German energy platform. The network of energy agencies and relevant actors are brought together in the platform for practical cooperation on concrete tasks of the energy transition. In collaboration with stakeholders from both countries, the platform carries out bilateral projects for the European energy transition.

The two agencies support, for example, the French Center in Berlin (CFB), a highly symbolic place which retraces 60 years of Franco-German history and where the friendship between these two countries is lived. The center must now be adapted to the major challenges of tomorrow thanks to renovations, enabling energy savings, and thanks to a new conceptual design. The Franco-German energy platform supports the CFB in its efforts to become a flagship of sustainable buildings, with a wide range of possible uses.

In addition, the two agencies published a report comparing the French and German regulatory frameworks, highlighting their differences as well as their similarities in the building sector. The objective of the report is to develop a better understanding of the particularities of the respective countries, to initiate an exchange of knowledge and to offer inspiration for creative and successful solutions. The 2019 report focuses on residential buildings and is available online at https://www.df-plattform.de/fr/unsere-projekte/etude-comparative-des-batiments/ .

In Germany, the European requirements of the EPBD have mainly been implemented within the framework of the new Building Energy Act (GEG), the national legal framework for the energy performance of buildings, replacing the legal acts of the Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV), Renewable Energy Heat Act (EEWärmeG) and Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in 2020. In France, requirements for new and existing buildings are anchored in a variety of regulatory tools. A new step will be taken in 2022 with the implementation of the new building regulations "RE2020", which introduces requirements on the carbon footprint of new buildings.buildings.


Both countries have set ambitious renovation targets and are aiming for a climate-neutral building stock by 2050 at the latest. To achieve these targets, financing tools have been put in place in both countries. In Germany, funding is independent of income - funding is based on energy savings or efficiency standard achieved. In France, in addition to energy efficiency, income is also taken into account as a funding criterion (fuel poverty). In this context, specific programs piloted by the ANAH, the National Housing Agency, such as "Habiter Mieux", focus particularly on low-income households. If we compare the two countries, the panel of French financial tools is more fragmented, involving a greater variety of tools and actors. The German financial landscape is traditionally characterized by significant public funding, including a newly introduced renovation measure tax credit mechanism in 2020.

The list of energy efficiency experts in Germany

As part of the improvement of the energy performance of the German building sector, the federal financing bank KfW and the BAFA (Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control) play a key role in the significant reduction of CO2 in Germany, by supporting highly energy-efficient construction and renovation projects. Private customers, companies, municipalities as well as non-profit organizations have access to repayable subsidies or low-cost aid for suitable construction projects that meet the required technical standards. Not only the construction of new buildings and the renovation of existing houses, but also simple energy rehabilitation measures, such as the insulation of walls, the installation of new windows or the renewal of heating systems, can be financed by the new federal support program for high-performance buildings (BEG). Both the design phase and technical assistance throughout the construction phase can be supported financially. In order to achieve the significant reduction in CO2 emissions targeted by the German government, funding is linked to the achievement of a minimum energy efficiency standard (Efficiency House standard).

According to the Efficiency House standard, buildings can be considered energy efficient if their primary energy demand for hot water, heating and lighting is below the legal requirements - meaning that the energy characteristics of the building exceed the German regulatory framework. The different standards are indicated by key numbers: the lower the number, the lower the energy requirement, the higher the financing, and vice versa.

Those wishing to construct a new energy-efficient building, or reduce their consumption as part of a renovation, are going to need the help of qualified experts. Especially in such a regulated and rapidly expanding environment as the building sector, thorough energy advice is an essential prerequisite for successful renovation projects. What Germany has long lacked is a central repositorybased on uniform quality standards throughout the country, and covering the full range of energy-efficient buildings.

To facilitate the green transition of the building sector and to help overcome barriers related to lack of information, uniform quality standards have been established in Germany , using a list of energy efficiency experts (EEE) . The EEE List is a national directory of qualified experts in energy-efficient construction and renovation. More than 13,000 registered experts cover the entire spectrum of buildings - from private homes and historical monuments to municipal and commercial buildings. All architects, craftsmen and engineers on the EEE list must prove their qualifications in the field of energy renovation and regularly follow additional training.

With the list of energy efficiency experts for federal funding programs, initiated in 2011 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), KfW and the Federal Office of Economics and Control des exports (BAFA), dena has created a service that makes it easy to find professional guides for energy-efficient construction and renovation. The website is aimed on the one hand at building owners looking for a suitable energy consultant, and on the other hand at qualified energy consultants who would like to offer their services. In this context, the dena is in regular contact with the registered experts, verifies their qualifications and, randomly, the results of their work. To achieve this, dena works closely with project partners and sponsors of the main federal building efficiency funding programs, namely BMWi, KfW and BAFA. In addition, 23 network partners from all over Germany, such as chambers of engineering, associations and energy agencies, support the project, given its economic and environmental benefits.

In addition, since 2014, KfW funding is also linked to the list and, since 2021, BAFA funding regarding the BEG. Only energy consultants from the EEE list are allowed to submit a grant application for most parts of the mentioned funding program (BEG) in order to guarantee the real quality of eligible sustainable building projects. Thus, projects financed by BAFA and KfW must meet both the applicable financing conditions and the minimum technical standards. In practice, both for borrowers and for KfW or BAFA, it is not always easy to ensure that both criteria are met. For this reason, since 2013, dena has been carrying out on-site inspections on behalf of KfW every year for more than 400 subsidized construction projects, in order to check whether the building constructed or renovated actually meets the standard of the building. 'Efficiency House requested. To ensure the quality of funded projects throughout the construction phase, recurring errors and difficulties are flagged and documented so that gaps can be addressed. The objective of the list is therefore to cover all relevant aspects for the success of construction projects and to help prevent the waste of resources in financial and environmental terms.

For further information, the project website can be accessed online athttps://www.dena.de/en/topics-projects/projects/buildings/database-of-energy-efficiency-experts-for-government-funding-programmes . The list can be viewed at www.energie-effizienz-experten.de .


An article by Sonja LEIDNER and Anna-Loreen MONDORF, DENA and Marie-Pierre MEILLAN, ADEME



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