Internal hyperlinks for navigation

Topic - Energy Transition in the Building Sector

Enhancing energy efficiency in buildings


Around 35% of our total final energy consumption takes place in our homes, and most of it is used to provide heating and hot water. Where there is a lot of consumption, there will also be a lot of potential for energy savings.

Lower energy costs, higher comfort, higher property values, secure provision for retirement and a valuable contribution towards climate change mitigation - five good reasons to bank on energy efficiency and renewable energy in your home. Launch your personal energy transition now! The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will back you with attractive funding programmes.

Lower costs and more convenience

Since 200, around five million home owners have implemented energy-efficiency measures in buildings while benefitting from government funding assistance. There is no doubt that making your home energy efficient saves you a great deal of money in heating costs and allows you to enjoy a cosy room climate.

Energy efficiency strategy for buildings

The Federal Government wishes Germany's building stock to be virtually climate-neutral by 2050. In order to achieve this goal, more of our heating needs to be supplied from renewable energy and we need to make our buildings more energy-efficient.

Our Energy Efficiency Strategy for Buildings sets out a comprehensive strategy for this sector. It brings together electricity, heat and energy efficiency and provides a clear policy framework for the energy transition in the buildings sector. You can find more information here.

Energy campaign "Germany makes it efficient"

Energy efficiency pays off: The cleanest and cheapest energy is energy that we don’t use in the first place. We want to be even more efficient in the way we use power and warmth and to make our energy transition a success. Whether it be the installation of a new heating system to replace the old one or the installation of energy-efficient windows - the German Government is providing more than €17 billion of funding up to 2020 for private households, companies and municipalities to help them implement energy-efficiency measures. This is good for the environment, makes homes more comfortable and saves money. All the information and advice on energy efficiency can also be found (in German) at or by calling the free hotline 0800 0115 000.


Good advice helps to modernise well

First consulting, then retrofitting because: reliable information and expertise are vital to be able to take a wise decision on energy-efficient renovation.

What will be provided? Tailor-made advisory services and relevant information suited to the needs of the client.

Technical overview: Consulting provided by consumer centres

If you’re looking to gain an initial overview and some tips on how to conserve energy, the consumer centres are a good place to start. They offer a wide range of services on their websites, over the phone, and even at your home. 

"Building check" as part of the services provided by consumer centres

The so-called "building check" is a service that is geared towards home owners. It includes a two-hour on-site meeting with an energy consultant of the consumer centre who takes a close look at your energy consumption and provides first recommendations for action on energy efficiency.  This will only cost you 20 EUR because all energy-advice services provided by the consumer centres receive funding support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. For further information, please contact the free hotline of the consumer centres at 0800 - 809 802 400.

"Heating check" provided by consumer centres

In addition to the building check, the consumer centres launched the new “heating check” on 1 October 2015 which will be an interesting service for owners of heating systems. The heating check looks at the actual efficiency of the heating system when in use. During a two-hour on-site meeting, consumers receive practical tips from energy consultants on how to optimise their heating and thus save money. Consumers pay only 40 EUR for this service since the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is also providing funding support for this service.

Practical tool: Modernisation wizard

The modernisation wizard of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is an online tool with which you can easily “modernise” your house on your computer.  First, you need to put in data about the current state of the building by answering the following questions: When was it built? How large is it? What kind of heating was installed? How old is the heating system? Then you can choose between different modernisation options: Do you want to insulate the outer walls? Or do you want to install new windows? Or rather exchange the heating system? The online tool requires only a few mouse clicks and information about your building to enable you to/ to be able to help you assess what modernisation measures will truly pay off for you (in German):

On-site energy consultation with energy efficiency experts

A one-on-one on-site consultation will make it possible to identify the specific need for modernisation and to be able to set up a coherent overall modernisation concept. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is providing funding support (the volume of the grants has been increased since March 2015) to ensure that everyone can afford this advisory service. The energy consultant makes hands-on proposals on which modernisation measures will suit the needs of your house and what government funding support can be obtained for them.

The on-site consultation is divided into three steps. Please see our site (in German) Themenportal Deutschland macht`s effizient to learn more about it.

Figures and facts about the energy transition in the building sector

Symbolicon für Heizen

Our homes account for almost 35 per cent of our final energy consumption, and most of it is used to provide heat and hot water.

Symbolicon für Haus mit Tür

From 2006 until June 2016 4.3 million dwellings have been refurbished or newly built to be energy-efficient.

Symbolicon für Geldscheine

The Federal Economic Affairs Ministry’s Market Incentive Programme provides 300 million euros per year to drive forward the development of renewables in the heating market.

Symbolicon für Tortendiagramm

Recipients of KfW loans of up to 100,000 euros granted for the refurbishment their private homes are reimbursed 27.5 percent of the loan amount.

KfW funding

Energy-efficient refurbishment and government-funded construction

In the KfW’s "Energy-efficient Refurbishment" programme, the government supports the energy-efficient renovation of your building by covering up to 30% of the costs.   As a rule, the more energy-efficient the building, the higher the level of assistance.

KfW programmes for energy-efficient construction and refurbishment are already a driving force for energy efficiency in the buildings sector and a central instrument of the energy transition. Home owners, businesses, municipalities and social institutions that make use of these programmes all benefit from low-interest loans and attractive grants to improve their building’s energy performance or to have a new, energy-efficiency building erected. The update of the KfW programme for Energy-efficient Construction came into effect on 1 April 2016. The KfW programme for Energy-efficient Refurbishment has been extended to include a heating and ventilation package, with the updated programme coming into effect on 1 January 2016. The extended programme includes funding for two special combi-solutions that are to generate further savings and are designed to prevent damage to the building, (e.g. mould).

One in three retrofits benefits from KfW funding programmes

Roughly one in three retrofits in Germany benefits from KfW funding programmes. And nearly half of newly-built dwellings are already receiving assistance from the KfW, and are thus being built to a better standard than is required by the Energy Saving Ordinance.

For more detailed information on KfW funding programmes and funding options (in German) go to:

FAQs about thermal insulation of buildings

1. Is it really worthwhile for owners of houses and flats to insulate their property?

See answer Open detail view

2. Why does the improvement of the energy performance of the building stock influence the success of the energy transition?

See answer Open detail view

3. Does the manufacture of the insulating materials use up more energy than the insulation itself actually saves?

See answer Open detail view

Heating with renewable energy

Attractive funding assistance under the Market Incentive Programme (MAP)

Renewable energy has made major inroads into the electricity market, but much potential still remains on the heat market.  At the same time, Germany uses too much energy on heating: more than two thirds of all heating systems used in Germany are inefficient, and around 10 million boilers in the country are more than 15 years old.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy therefore aims to use the improved Market Incentive Programme (MAP) to encourage more owners of houses and apartments, and also companies and municipalities, to use solar, biomass and geothermal energy for their heating needs.

More funding for solar thermal energy, biomass and heat pumps

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy’s MAP assists the installation of solar thermal installations, biomass heating systems and heat pumps for private individuals, members of the professional services, and companies. It also supports the construction of new larger-scale heating plants which use renewable energy, such as deep geothermal installations and local heating networks to distribute heat generated from renewable energy, e.g. neighbourhood systems provided by municipalities.

MAP: two types of funding

With funding exceeding €300 million a year, the MAP is a central instrument to expand the use of renewable energy on the heat market. It makes an important contribution towards the energy transition, since it encourages private individuals, companies and municipalities to invest in sustainable heating technology and to use renewable energy to meet their heating and cooling needs.

There are two types of funding available:

The programme mainly aims to modernise existing buildings and commercial/industrial processes. In the case of new buildings, in contrast, funding is only available for certain innovative types of installations. This is because new buildings are already required to use renewable energy under the Renewable Energies Heat Act.

For more information on MAP funding assistance, please click on the following link:

Frequently asked questions about the Market Incentive Programme (MAP)

How can renewable energy be used to heat a building?

See answer Open detail view

What is the Market Incentive Programme (MAP)?

See answer Open detail view

Who can benefit from the Market Incentive Programme?

See answer Open detail view

"Energy Efficiency" Market Incentive Programme

Targeted funding for more investment in housing comfort and efficient heating

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is promoting energy efficiency and climate change mitigation: The "Energy Efficiency Incentive Programme" is expanding the existing support available - to encourage more investment, better comfort and more efficient heating in people’s homes.

As part of its National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (NAPE), the Federal Government has already introduced a range of measures to boost energy efficiency and the energy transition in the building sector. Since 1 January 2016, the Economic Affairs Ministry’s Energy Efficiency Incentive Programme has been providing important assistance in four areas in order to make the heating of buildings more efficient. The new measures, which are based on the Ordinance Promoting the Accelerated Modernisation of Heating Systems Using Renewable Energies are tailored to fit in with the funding already available.

In addition to this, the new Energy-efficient Construction – Fuel Cell Grant funding programme was launched in August 2016 as part of the Energy Efficiency for Homeowners Incentive Programme. The funding programme covers stationary fuel cell heating systems which have a power output of up to 5 kW. In a first step, funding assistance will be provided for planned investments in construction and renovation projects by private owners of residential buildings and homes (natural persons).  Since 15 August 2016, the fact sheet for this programme and all other important information (for example on how to apply) have been available on the following homepage:

For more information, please go to:

Consultation on energy efficiency; Quelle: Ute Grabowsky/Photothek/Getty Images

© Ute Grabowsky/Photothek/Getty Images

Heating Optimisation Funding Programme

Saving energy by optimising the heating system and replacing the pump

The Heating Optimisation Funding Programme launched in 2016 has helped extend the energy transition also to household boilers. It is intended to boost the installation of energy-efficient pumps and the optimisation of existing heating systems.

There is still a lot of potential for saving energy in the buildings sector, particularly when it comes to heating. This has to do with the fact that many of the heat and warm water pumps installed in buildings are inefficient and outdated. There is a huge potential for making energy savings through bringing down the energy consumption. By installing state-of-the-art high-efficiency pumps, electricity consumption can be reduced by up to 80 per cent without the need for major construction work. By optimising heating systems to make them run more efficiently, additional energy savings can be achieved. This requires a hydraulic balancing process by which the distribution of heat in buildings is optimised.  In many cases, it makes sense to replace a pump and optimise the heating system at the same time.  By optimising heating systems to make them run more efficiently, one can save a lot of energy and money, thus driving forward the energy transition.

The funding programme helps improve energy efficiency in buildings which brings us one step closer to our goal of achieving a climate-neutral building stock in Germany. Funding is provided for the replacement of pumps and for optimising the heating system by means of a hydraulic balancing process, and in certain cases, for other measures as well. The German government provides funding for these combinations of measures as well. The funding provided covers up to 30 per cent of the optimisation expenses or a maximum of €25,000.

You can find more information (in German) here:

Relevant regulations

Modern energy conservation legislation in the building sector

The German Government employs a host of measures to boost energy savings in the buildings sector. Public funding can however only be provided to support measures which go beyond what is legally required. The legal requirements in terms of energy conservation is laid down in the energy conservation law. This legislation is continuously adjusted to take account of the technical possibilities and political goals or requirements while fully respecting the efficiency principle. A revision of the legislation is underway.

The regulations related to the energy conservation law aim to generate energy savings in buildings of all kinds and to foster the use of renewable sources of energy. This will reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and on imports of such fuels, increase security of supply and protect the climate.

The Energy Conservation Act (Energieeinsparungsgesetz) is the legal basis for the following regulations:

  • Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV)
    The Energy Saving Ordinance stipulates all applicable energy standards for all building types.
  • Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEWärmeG)
    The Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEWärmeG) defines the share of renewable energy that is to be used in buildings.
  • Heating Cost Ordinance (HeizkostenV)
    The ordinance lays down that a considerable share of the costs to be billed for heating and warm water is to be determined by the user’s level of consumption.

You can find out more about the laws and ordinances here.

The energy transition platform

Jointly fostering the energy transition in the buildings sector

It intends to tap the multifaceted potential of the buildings sector for the energy transition, tackle challenges and develop appropriate measures in consultation with stakeholders from the property business, commerce, industry, consumer groups and the public sector.

The plenary session of the Buildings Platform brings together the relevant stakeholders from commerce, civil society, academia and the appropriate government ministries. In view of the many substantive links to the responsibilities of the Building Ministry, the plenary session is jointly co-chaired by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. The plenary sessions serve to discuss the buildings-related findings and updates from the working groups of the two Energy Transition Platforms on "Energy Efficiency" and “Buildings”. Parallel talks take place with the Länder.

In August 2016, the Federal Economic Affairs Ministry launched a consultation and discussion process on political viewpoints and measures related to the Green Paper on Energy Efficiency, which will also be discussed in the Buildings platform. The Green Paper includes key questions and discussion points regarding the most important fields of action for increasing energy efficiency. Join the consultation at:

Detailed information on the work and results of the energy transition building platform can be found here.

Further information

  • 01/08/2016 - Press release - Energy Efficiency

    Press release: “We are bringing energy efficiency into the home”, Federal Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on the launch of two new programmes for funding heating optimisation and fuel cell heating systems.

    Open detail view
  • 08/07/2016 - Press release - The Energy Transition

    Press release: Gabriel: The next phase of the energy transition can now begin

    Open detail view
  • 11/04/2016 - Joint press release - Energy Transition in the Building Sector

    Press release: New research initiative fosters energy transition in buildings and cities

    Open detail view
Scaffolded building symbolizes enhancing energy efficiency in buildings; Source: