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For whom an energy certificate for the property is mandatory

You will need an energy performance certificate at the latest when selling or renting a new one

Almost every new building that needs to be heated to normal temperatures needs an energy certificate. ID is also required if you want to sell or re-rent a house or apartment. The specifications for this are based from May 2021 on the Building Energy Act. Before that, the Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) applied.

The document is intended to inform those interested in buying or renting about the energy parameters and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions of the building. As the owner, you only have to present the energy pass if you change users. As long as you use your home yourself or do not rent it again, you do not need an energy performance certificate. Tenants in existing tenancies are therefore not entitled to see the energy performance certificate.

Monuments and small buildings with a usable area of ​​up to 50 square meters are exempt from the obligation to identify. Other special cases for which you do not need an ID will be described in the Building Energy Act (GEG) from May 2021.

Owners of new and existing buildings must ensure that they receive the necessary ID from the planner or architect. The same applies if a building is comprehensively renovated and an overall energy balance is carried out in accordance with the GEG, as is required, for example, for a renovation to a KfW efficiency house. Individual measures, such as replacing the windows, do not require a complex overall balancing of the building in order to be able to claim KfW funding. Because of individual renovation steps, you are also not obliged to have a new energy certificate issued.

You can also quickly find out whether you need an energy certificate using this online check.

Landlords are not allowed to pass on the costs for the energy certificate to the tenants. Apartment owners: if their apartment is sold or rented out in a community of owners, there is a claim against the community that they receive the ID in good time. The costs are to be borne by the community of property owners.

Even if you live in an apartment or house as the owner and therefore do not need an energy certificate, in many cases it is worthwhile to insulate or replace the heating with rising energy prices. Expert and independent advice is important so that the measures are well coordinated and carried out professionally.

Which ID for which building?

There are two types of energy certificates that differ in how the energy parameters are determined: a requirement certificate and a consumption certificate. A consumption certificate is usually cheaper due to the lower effort involved in collecting data. However, it is also less informative.

Which energy certificate is permissible for existing buildings?

Number of residential units and age of the residential buildingRequirement certificateConsumption certificate


  • with 1-4 residential units
  • Building application before November 1st, 1977
  • the requirements of the 1st Thermal Insulation Ordinance are Not Fulfills


  • with 1-4 residential units
  • Building application before November 1st, 1977
  • the requirements of the 1st Thermal Insulation Ordinance are met


  • with 1-4 residential units
  • Building application after November 1st, 1977


  • with 5 and more residential units

In addition, a consumption certificate can only be issued if the heating costs and consumption bills for three consecutive years are complete. The end of this accounting period may not be more than 18 months ago. Exclusion criteria can be, for example, if the heating is decentralized via gas heating or the building has recently been extensively modernized.

A requirement certificate is generally issued for new buildings.

Office or administration buildings, commercial or shopping centers and similar buildings require a so-called "energy certificate for non-residential buildings". This differs from the ID for residential buildings mainly in that the energy requirements for ventilation, lighting and - if available - for air conditioning of the building are included in the final energy value. These requirements are listed individually in an ID card for a non-residential building. If there are both apartments and commercial premises in a building, two separate energy certificates may be required.

When do you have to present the energy performance certificate?

Tenants and buyers should have the opportunity to take the energy performance certificate into account when making a decision about entering into a rental or purchase agreement. Landlords, salespeople or brokers are therefore obliged to show you the energy certificate at the latest during the inspection.

If no inspection is agreed, the energy performance certificate (or a copy) must be presented immediately - at the latest, however, if this is requested by prospective tenants or buyers. You can take note of the energy performance certificate in good time before signing the contract, perhaps also as a notice when viewing the property.

The obligation to submit covers the entire document, i.e. including the modernization recommendations, if the ID contains any. If you buy a property, you have to have a consultation with a specialist after you have received the ID, if this conversation is offered free of charge. The consumer advice centers, for example, offer a possibility for this.

Tip: keep your ID up to date. You do not have to have a new ID issued after a new heating system, for example. Nevertheless, it makes sense to do this so that the information about the building actually reflects the current status. In the end, this also increases the chances of renting out the property again or selling it.G The ID card may not be more than 10 years old.

What is important when it comes to housing advertisements?

The Building Energy Act makes the energy certificate an important source of information when looking for a property. The most important energy-related key data of the ID card - in particular the energy requirement or consumption and the energy source (e.g. wood pellets or gas) for heating as well as the type of heating - must already be specified in the property advertisement. The real estate advertisement must also state the year of construction of the building listed on the ID.

If there is an energy performance certificate issued after May 1, 2014 for residential buildings with a certain efficiency class, this must also be published. For older ID cards that do not yet have an efficiency class, you can convert the characteristic value into the class (or have it converted) and enter it voluntarily in the display. Since the necessary data is not always easy to find, the Federal Government published a working aid for "old" ID cards for the EnEV 2014.

If a real estate advertisement is published non-commercially, for example on a note on a notice board in a public building, information from the energy performance certificate may be dispensed with. Otherwise, sellers or landlords must publish the information described in the ID in the real estate advertisement.


Which authority is responsible for the energy certificate?

If building owners do not make the energy pass available at all, not in full or not in time, this is considered an administrative offense according to the GEG. Prospective buyers or renters can report the violation to the competent authority. She is obliged to investigate the matter.

The responsibility for energy certificates is regulated differently in the individual federal states. It usually lies with the lower building supervisory authorities or building regulation offices of the municipalities or districts in which the buildings are located.

Violations when issuing or using an energy pass can be punished with a fine of up to 10,000 euros. As a landlord: in or seller: in, you should not let it come and, in your own interest, contact the authorities in advance if anything is unclear.

Checklist: Prospective buyers and renters should pay attention to this

  • Pay attention to the energy value and the energy efficiency class in the property advertisement. For orientation: the scale ranges from A + to H. Old buildings are on average in class E.
  • a residential building with an average consumption is in class E.
  • Have the owner, landlord or broker present you with the energy performance certificate. All owners are obliged to do so when they sell or re-rent houses and apartments. The only exceptions are listed buildings or very small houses with less than 50 square meters of floor space.
  • Also take a look at the modernization recommendations of the energy certificate and ask the owners whether the measures have already been implemented or an implementation is planned.
  • Make sure that you receive a copy or a copy of your ID when you conclude the purchase or rental agreement and keep the document together with the contract documents.
  • The card is intended to enable the energy efficiency of different buildings to be compared. Please note, however, that IDs based on energy demand (requirement ID) and energy consumption (consumption ID) can differ significantly for the same building. The consumption value is often lower (i.e. cheaper). A prognosis of the future heating energy consumption is not directly possible on the basis of the energy certificate. You can find out why this is the case here.

Tips: How to check the energy standard when visiting

Instead of relying exclusively on the energy certificate, we recommend that you pay attention to the following details when viewing a house or apartment or ask specifically about them:

  • Thermal insulation: Insulation of all external walls, the basement ceiling and the top floor ceiling or the roof truss (if the attic has been expanded) is optimal.
  • Window: Thermal insulation glazing consisting of two panes should be the minimum standard. Windows and doors should be windproof.
  • Location of an apartment in the building: If the apartment is extensively adjacent to external walls or unheated building parts or extensions, it probably requires significantly more heating energy than an apartment surrounded by heated rooms. Also ask about previous heating bills.
  • Heater: Pay attention to the type of heating. Because the energy source or fuel in the heating system has a significant impact on energy costs.
  • Hot water: Central heating is cheaper if there is frequent and high consumption of hot water. On the other hand, if the demand for hot water is low, electrical heating using modern, electronically controlled instantaneous water heaters can be the cheaper option. The consumer advice center NRW gives specific tips for saving water heaters and central heating.

This content was created by the consumer centers North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate for the network of consumer centers in Germany.