Solar roofs and green facades should become the norm

Solar roofs and green facades should become the norm

Zu Few insulated houses, too many gas and oil heating systems and thus too much CO2-Emissions: Along with the transport sector, the building sector is considered to be one of the biggest climate sinners in Germany. According to estimates by the think tank Agora Energiewende, last year he broke the statutory savings targets. The federal government now wants to take countermeasures. Minister of Construction Klara Geywitz (SPD) and Minister of the Environment Steffi Lemke (Greens) presented a study by the Federal Environment Agency “for sustainable housing and urban development” in Berlin on Monday.

“Many people in the country are not yet aware of the great task ahead of us,” said Lemke. A point that she criticizes: “Too much area is still being sealed.” In 2020, it was 54 hectares on average per day. By 2030, the number should fall below 30 hectares, by 2050 to zero. New construction would then only be possible if areas sealed elsewhere were transformed back into nature. According to the Environment Minister, solar roofs and facade greening should become “the rule”. The Minister of Construction also spoke out in favor of more climate protection in the building sector. With a view to the government’s new construction goals, she said: “We have to realize the necessary extensions in an ecologically compatible manner.” In some regions of Germany, it becomes really dangerous for older people in the summer. “It’s not just a bit of weather.”

Anger at the sharp increase in construction costs

In surveys, the vast majority of citizens have been positioning themselves for more climate protection for years. At the same time, there is dissatisfaction with the construction costs, which have risen sharply in recent years. According to the Association of the Construction Industry, the average cost of building one square meter of living space in Germany is now 4,275 euros. The industry attributes this not least to ever stricter specifications for energy efficiency. Housing companies such as Vonovia have announced that they will not start new construction projects for the time being because they can only be refinanced with rents per square meter of around EUR 20.

Since the beginning of the year, new buildings in Germany have had to meet the Efficiency House 55 standard. This means that they may only need 55 percent of the energy of a standard house. From next year, only new heating systems that are operated with at least 65 percent renewable energy will be allowed. The installation of gas heaters – by far the most commonly installed type of heating in 2022 – will therefore only be permitted in a few exceptional cases. Federal states such as Baden-Württemberg and Berlin have already introduced a solar obligation for new buildings and roof renovations. In the city of Frankfurt, the coalition of the Greens, SPDFDP and Volt recently agreed that builders must intensively green open spaces, roofs and facades in new buildings and conversions.

The additional costs associated with the proposals from the study were discussed Geywitz and Lemke did not when presenting the study. “Facade greening in itself is not expensive,” said Geywitz. As far as the solar systems are concerned, your house is talking to the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Robert Habeck (Greens) about facilitating the so-called tenant electricity. Geywitz also indicated that he would negotiate with Habeck about better funding for households that buy and renovate aging single-family homes. In the federal budget, only 1.1 billion euros per year are earmarked for energy-efficient new buildings, but around 13 billion euros for the renovation of existing buildings.

Lemke warned: “We shouldn’t look first at the costs, but at the profits.” However, Lemke signaled openness to relaxing the strict specifications in building law on noise protection and thus relieving the burden on builders. Quieter trams and e-cars would create scope for this. Federal Environment Agency President Dirk Messner warned against placing climate protection “on the marshalling yard” in view of the current construction crisis in Germany. “That would be a declaration of bankruptcy,” he said.

He recommended implementing the proposals made by the 2015 Building Cost Reduction Commission. Most of this has not yet happened. The Federal Environment Agency would like to see politicians introduce a primary building materials tax to ensure that builders use more recycled building materials. So far, these have often been significantly more expensive. However, Geywitz and Lemke expressly distanced themselves from this proposal.

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