The energy performance certificate for buildings has already been in existence for ten years now. A good reason for tenants to celebrate as the document is an extremely useful invention. When viewing an apartment, they can already see the energy efficiency of the building at a glance. Depending on the energy efficiency rating, they only have to answer one question: move in or not?


However, the 10th anniversary of the energy performance certificate also means that hundreds of thousands of certificates will soon be expiring. After all, these documents are only valid for ten years. The important thing is the exact date of issue as energy performance certificates expire ten years to the day after the issue date. The argument that it is still valid until the end of the year doesn’t apply. Tenants should keep an eye on this. After all, the latest energy efficiency rating of a building is much more informative than one that is ten years old.

Energy performance certificates are not all the same

There are two types of energy performance certificate: one for consumption and the other for requirements. The so-called consumption certificate is based on the residents’ consumption over the last three years. The energy performance indicator is then expressed in kilowatt hours (kWh) per square metre (m2) and year (a). The higher the figure, the higher the expected heating costs are. By the way, tenants and energy service providers are obliged to give the consumption data for the energy performance certificate. They cannot refuse on data privacy grounds.

By contrast, with the requirements certificate, energy experts calculate the theoretical energy requirements of a building based on a wide range of factors. For example, in this calculation any energy improvement measures carried out lead to a better rating. The landlord is in most cases free to decide whether he applies for a consumption or a requirements certificate.

The colour shows the efficiency

On both certificates, the energy efficiency ratings are made even easier to interpret by a colour-coded band in green, yellow and red. If a building is in the green section, the energy standard is high. If buildings are in the deep-red section, their energy efficiency is much worse. Energy performance certificates issued more recently also include an energy efficiency rating scale from A+ to H like the scale used for electrical appliances.

The reason: the documents are always issued in accordance with the latest German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV). The EnEV 2014 introduced major changes – such as the efficiency classes. At the same time, the colour band was shortened considerably. Since then, the assessment of buildings has been more stringent overall. A multi-family building with a final energy requirement of 200 kWh/(m2a) was in the yellow section in the old certificates. Today, the same building would be touching the red section.

No lease without an energy performance certificate

The EnEV 2014 brought two other important changes for tenants. For example, today property advertisements already have to include information from the energy performance certificate. If he doesn’t, he could be fined.

However, if the tenant already lives in the building, he has no right to an energy performance certificate. He cannot force the landlord to produce one. It is also not possible to reduce the rent on the grounds of a bad energy efficiency rating. However, obliging landlords will certainly let their tenants take a look at the energy performance certificate. After all, tenants would like to know how well their house performs. And there is no harm in asking.

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