From H to A: what an energy certificate does and what it doesn't

More important than ever before: the energy certificate.

From H to A: what an energy certificate does and what it doesn't

More important than ever before: the energy certificate. It provides information about the possible energy consumption of a property for heating and hot water. So is he the savior in real estate valuation?

Showing at a glance how much energy a house or apartment uses for heating and hot water preparation: This is what the energy certificate promises. In view of the increased energy prices, this is quite interesting information. It should already be visually clear where the property stands in terms of energy. The scale ranges from green to red, from efficiency classes H to A.

Not every property owner is required to have an energy performance certificate issued. It is only relevant in the event of a change of ownership or a new lease. Anyone who wants to rent or buy a property has the right to inspect the energy certificate. However, the energy performance certificate rarely influences the decision for or against a purchase or rental agreement.

"No wonder, since it hardly says anything about real consumption," says Marc Förderer from the Builder Protection Association in Berlin. "A house or an apartment is not a refrigerator where a certain efficiency class stands for concrete consumption values ​​in kilowatt hours." Everything is much more complicated with the energy certificate, the color scale and efficiency classes are at best a rough guide.

From a formal point of view, however, everything is simple: landlords or sellers of real estate can choose whether they have a consumption certificate or a requirement certificate issued by trained experts. Experts can find interested parties at, for example. The consumption card is often used for existing properties where consumption figures could already be measured. A requirement certificate is mandatory for new buildings, but it can also be used for other properties.

There are different calculation bases for the two ID cards. With the consumption certificate, the energy requirement is determined on the basis of actual consumption. At the end of the bill is an indication in kilowatt hours per square meter of usable area, which future users can use as a guide. For the consumption certificate, the address and the usable area, but above all the heating cost and consumption bills from three consecutive years, must be available in full. The end of this billing period may not be more than 18 months ago.

"However, the consumption card only reflects user behavior over the last few years," points out Hans Weinreuter, an energy expert at the Rhineland-Palatinate consumer advice center. Whether this is similar to their own behavior is unclear. Maybe the previous tenant worked during the day and turned the heating up in the evening and down in the morning. Then he has a much lower consumption than pensioners or a family with children who are at home a lot during the day.

Or vice versa, the previous tenant turned the heating up particularly high, but the successors are more economical and prefer to put on sweaters and socks with moderate heating settings. "The validity of this method is therefore very limited," says Hans Weinreuter. "The condition of the heating and the building does not matter."

With the other calculation method, on the other hand, the actual consumption is left out. Instead, the building comes to the fore. With the requirement statement, an expert uses the technical data of the property to determine how high the energy requirement is due to its construction. The calculation includes information about the type of building and total living space, thermal insulation and building services. Even climatic conditions are taken into account.

"However, a uniform value is used throughout Germany that reflects the weather in Potsdam," says Hans Weinreuter. "That distorts the picture considerably, because the weather conditions in the Alps or on the rough sea are different than in Brandenburg, and people have to heat differently."

Since requirement and consumption certificates often differ significantly from one another, there is an obvious desire to adapt the calculation bases more to reality. "An energy pass that takes into account both the consumption - i.e. the real user behavior - and the structural conditions of the building as well as the regionally different weather conditions would be more meaningful," says Corinna Kodim from the house owners' association

The final energy value and the primary energy value of the property are shown in the energy certificate. Both are important metrics for users, but not immediately understandable. The final energy value indicates how much energy is required per square meter per year to heat the living space and supply it with hot water.

The primary energy indicator shows whether and to what extent fossil fuels or renewable energies are used. It results from multiplying the final energy value by a so-called primary energy factor.

"If the house is heated with regenerative energies, the primary energy value is lower than the final energy value, because renewable energies have primary energy factors that are well below one," says Marc Förderer. For example, the final energy value of a building with pellet heating is multiplied by a factor of 0.2, but the final energy value of a building with gas heating is multiplied by a factor of 1.1.

However, a good primary energy value alone does not have to mean that heating is economical. A house with a pellet heating system can easily achieve a good primary energy value, but still cause high energy costs with insufficient thermal insulation. Conversely, a modern gas heating system can work very economically in a well-insulated house. "It is always important to keep an eye on the final and primary energy value," says Förderer.

"So far, the energy performance certificate has played a secondary role in the decision for or against renting an apartment or buying a house," says Corinna Kodim. It also does not contain any information about the actual heating costs of the apartment or house. That said rather the amount of additional costs or the rent including heating.

With energy costs soaring, watch house

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