Building Energy Law: New rules in Germany

The German government has revised the building energy law. It came into force at the beginning of 2024. The law aims to increase the share of renewable energies in the heat supply. The good news is that the law provides for transitional solutions and a wide range of options for modernising oil heating systems.

In principle, existing condensing and low-temperature oil heating systems and the associated fuels can continue to be used as usual. In the case of modernisation, certain minimum percentages of renewable energy must be used after a transitional period in order to meet the requirements of the law. The 65% share of renewable energy that will be obligatory for new buildings from 2024 will only be required for the modernisation of heating systems once the statutory local heating plan has been completed. Until then, lower and gradually increasing shares apply. There are statutory transition periods between the time of modernisation and the first obligation to comply. From 2045, however, all heating systems must be climate-neutral.

The Building Energy Act also allows a wide range of compliance options for heating modernisation. For example, heating oil customers can meet the renewable share of heat generation by upgrading their modernised oil heating system to a hybrid heating system. The hybrid heating system can, for example, consist of a condensing boiler for liquid fuels and a heat pump. It is also possible to install an oil condensing boiler with an appropriate proportion of renewable components in the fuel used. Heating oil producers and distributors in Germany are currently working hard to ensure a nationwide supply of such climate-friendly heating oil grades.

Many liquid fuel appliances are already designed for use with renewable energy sources. For heating oil, for example, the "Green Fuels ready label" has been created: It recognises heating systems, tanks and components that can run on up to 100% greenhouse gas-neutral liquid fuels, including blends with fossil liquid fuels. To give homeowners a better overview of what they need to be aware of when modernising in the coming years, en2x - Wirtschaftsverband Fuels und Energie has summarised the most important information on the Building Energy Act and oil heating: