Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) wants Germany to save a fifth of gas by March – compared to the average consumption of the past five years. According to the latest information from his company, five to eight percent have already been achieved. Two new regulations approved by the cabinet on Wednesday in Berlin are intended to contribute to the savings target. This means that gas consumption can be reduced by around two to two and a half percent, said Habeck. But you can’t sit back and relax now. “We still have a long way to go.”
With the cabinet vote, the first bundle of measures has been decided; the Bundestag or Bundesrat do not have to agree. The first requirements are to come into force on September 1st and will reduce energy consumption in the short term in the next six months, i.e. by the end of February. According to the ministry, the regulations should form a further pillar in addition to the filling of gas storage facilities and the reduction of natural gas consumption in electricity generation.
The goal: a gas emergency situation this winter and next should be avoided. The measures in the ordinances could result in energy cost savings for private households, companies and the public sector amounting to 10.8 billion euros over the next two years.
– Transit areas such as corridors, foyers or technical rooms are no longer heated – unless there are safety reasons for this.
– Public buildings are only heated to a maximum of 19 degrees. So far, the recommended minimum temperature according to the ministry was 20 degrees. The new regulation does not apply to clinics, care facilities or other social institutions.
– Boilers and instantaneous water heaters may no longer be used to heat water at the sink – unless this is required for hygienic reasons.
– The lighting of buildings and monuments for purely aesthetic or representative reasons will be switched off. Excluded are short-term lighting at cultural events and folk festivals.
– The ordinance does not stipulate that, for example, the room temperature in offices must be reduced – but it will allow employers to heat less in the commercial sector in a legally secure manner and have the opportunity to follow the example of the public sector. This is the basis for voluntary commitments by companies and company agreements to save energy.
– Clauses in rental contracts that stipulate a certain minimum temperature are temporarily suspended.
– Private pools, whether indoors or outdoors, are no longer allowed to be heated with gas and electricity.
– Gas suppliers and owners of larger residential buildings must inform their customers or tenants at an early stage – about the expected energy consumption, its costs and potential savings. This should happen by the start of the heating season at the latest.
– Illuminated advertising systems are switched off from 10 p.m. to 4 p.m. the following day – if this is not necessary for traffic safety, such as at railway underpasses.
The second package of measures is aimed at savings for the next two years and is scheduled to come into force on October 1st. The Federal Council still has to agree. It affects public, private and corporate buildings. The following should apply:
– Annual heating tests for buildings with gas heating will then become mandatory. The systems should, for example, be set to lower flow temperatures and a reduction during the night.
– The so-called hydraulic balance can also make heating systems more efficient by optimally distributing the water. It will be mandatory for large buildings with central heating from natural gas if it has not yet been done.
– Inefficient, uncontrolled heating pumps in buildings with natural gas heating must be replaced because, according to the ministry, they are energy guzzlers.
For companies, the second regulation also provides:
– Companies with an energy consumption of 10 gigawatt hours or more per year are obliged to take energy efficiency measures – if they have already carried out an energy audit in which consumption and potential savings are broken down.
The following applies to the rail: