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Heat pumps in new buildings

The EnEV Ordinance shows the way

Heat pumps in new buildings

The new version of the German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV 2016) entered into force on 1 January 2016. This further intensifies the requirements and firmly establishes heat pumps as the heating solution for the future.

Getting to grips with

primary energy consumption

The German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) is aimed at reducing CO2 emissions. In order to achieve this goal, the maximum permissible primary energy demand for new buildings has been cut by 25% compared with the previous requirements. This can be achieved either with efficient heating technology on the basis of renewable energy or by taking more substantial insulation-related measures.

Proportion of heat pumps in newly-constructed residential buildings in 2015

Source: German Federal Statistics Office, construction completions for residential buildings by main form of primary heating energy used in 2015


Making sure

it all adds up

A heat pump provides ideal conditions for complying with the primary energy demand of the reference building, which has been reduced by around 25%. This means that, when it comes to the insulation of the building shell, adherence to the minimum standards is often sufficient in order to meet all requirements of the German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV 2016). This has the additional benefit of reducing costs.

Overview of

the key points

The ‘Ratgeber Energieeinsparverordnung’ (German Energy Saving Ordinance guidebook) published by the German Heat Pump Association (Bundesverband Wärmepumpe e.V., BWP) provides a good overview of the effects of the latest amendments to the EnEV Ordinance.

The air-to-water heat pumps

rise to the top

Although houses being completed today are often still subject to the 2014 version of the EnEV Ordinance that was valid at the time of the building application, it is possible to identify a trend. By 2015, a heat pump was installed in 31.4% of all completed residential buildings – with the figure for detached and semi-detached houses even reaching 33.4% (according to the German Federal Statistics Office).

With the right technology,

it’s easier to choose

In an amendment that plays perfectly to the strengths of the heat pumps, the latest version of the EnEV Ordinance features an even more advantageous rating for the electric power that is used in heat generation – a factor of 1.8 in primary energy terms. This is because the power is increasingly drawn from renewable sources. Combined with the particularly high utilisation factor, this has helped catapult heat pumps to the top of the efficiency scale.



As noted by the German Heat Pump Association (BWP), air-to-water heat pumps are ideally suited to the low heat demand of new buildings. Besides the significant increase in efficiency, other key factors include the low installation workload, low costs and the fact that it is not necessary to perform the approval procedure required for ground source heat pumps.