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Germany: Growing trend for saving energy

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Low-interest loans and investment grants for the energy-efficient construction of new homes and the energy modernisation of residential buildings remain in great demand from builders. In the first two months of 2012, KfW Bankengruppe had already committed EUR 1.7 billion in promotional loans for the programmes Energy-Efficient Construction and Energy-Efficient Refurbishment, an increase of 87 per cent over the previous year. The programme Energy-Efficient Refurbishment showed the greatest increase, with the volume of commitments quadrupling to EUR 845 million.
  • Promotional volume of EUR 1.7 billion after the first two months in 2012
  • Increase of 87 per cent compared to 2011

The promotional programmes for energy-efficient construction and refurbishment, implemented on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development are key components for the energy turnaround's success and receive favourable terms through funds from the Energy and Climate Fund of the Federal Government. The buildings sector accounts for about 40 per cent of end-energy consumption in Germany and about a third of CO2 emissions.

Private homeowners represent the largest share of the housing stock with nearly 77 percent. This target group accounts for about 70 per cent of the housing units supported by KfW.

"State support motivates private owners and lessors to implement energy-saving renovations and helps make the energy turnaround affordable, particularly for this target group", said Peter Ramsauer, Federal Minister of Transport.

Private owners of single-family and two-family homes as well as homeowner associations can decide whether to finance their energy modernisation projects with a favourable promotional loan of the KfW or with an investment grant that does not need to be repaid.

"The financing figures show that through the grant in particular we also reach older home-owners who often no longer want to take out a loan. Young applicants are more apt to use our promotional loans", said Dr Axel Nawrath, Member of the Executive Board of KfW Bankengruppe. "In this way broad sections of the population can contribute to the energy turnaround."

In 2011, people over 60 years of age accounted for 25 per cent of investment grants and 14 per cent of loan commitments for private borrowers. Young borrowers up to 40 years of age accounted for about a third of loan commitments and 19 per cent of investment grants. In order to further enhance the incentives to implement energy-efficient renovations, KfW increased the investment grants by 2.5 percentage points as at 1 January 2012. In this way private builders can now apply for investment grants of up to EUR 15,000.

Promotional loans for energy modernisation are now available from KfW at an effective annual interest rate of 1.00 to 1.51 per cent depending on the loan term. Furthermore a repayment bonus of up to EUR 9,375 per housing unit is provided until a particularly high energy efficiency standard is attained.