Federal German Laws and Regulations

The initiatives and activities in Berlin to protect the climate and the environment are complemented by the Integrated Energy and Climate Protection Programme (IEKP) of the German Federal Government. The IEKP names concrete measures and implementation stages, as well as the CO2 reduction targets linked to this, and thus it sets the basis for a successful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on local and national scales.

Berlin's climate policy takes into account the national framework directives and laws. In addition to the CO2 savings targets, the scientific knowledge with regard to the sustainable development of the climate is also considered in the climate policy's direction. In order to halt climate change, the requirements for more climate protection have to be taken into consideration in all areas of society. In Berlin, the building and mobility sectors, as well as the efficient supply of heat and electricity are particularly important in achieving the climate policy targets. Berlin's climate protection policy is designed as an interdepartmental administrative tool that is applicable to all fields of activity in the Federal State of Berlin.

German Renewable Energy Act (EEG 2014)

The law to give priority to renewable energies aims to have increasing numbers of electricity generators investing in renewable energies and constructing corresponding plants.

The costs of expanding the renewable energies are passed on to the electricity customers by means of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) levy. The EEG levy is that element of the electricity price which is paid by the end consumers for the funding of renewable energies. It is calculated from the difference between the income that the electricity from renewable energies earns on the market and the respective remuneration rates paid.


German Energy Conservation Act (EnEG)

The law to conserve energy in buildings aims to ensure that only as much energy is consumed in buildings as is required to achieve the specific purpose – such as having sufficiently warm rooms.

The regulations are targeted especially at saving energy by means of thermal insulation, plant and system technology and the operation of plants. Furthermore, it contains stipulations on the allocation of heating costs and special regulations and requirements for already existing buildings, as well as monitoring measures and provisions for administrative fines. At the same time the German Energy Conservation Act is the statutory basis for enacting special ordinances, such as the German Energy Conservation Regulation (EnEV).


German Energy Conservation Regulation (EnEV)

The intention with the Energy Conservation Regulation (EnEV) is to limit the primary energy requirement for heating buildings and for hot water generation.

Through this amendment to the Energy Conservation Regulation and the Heating Costs Regulation, the German Federal Government's resolutions in the Integrated Energy and Climate Protection Programme (IEKP) have been enacted in the building sector. The regulation on energy conserving thermal insulation and energy saving equipment and technology in buildings has been in force since February 2002. It replaced the 1994 Thermal Insulation Regulation and the 1998 Heating Plant and Systems Regulation which had been valid until then.


German Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEWärmeG)

The law to support renewable energies in the heat sector  became effective in January 2009. It stipulates that owners of new buildings have to cover part of their heating and cold product requirements from renewable energies.

The owners are free to decide which kind of renewable energies are to be used. The important aspect is that a certain percentage of the heating or cold products is generated with the respective energy. The percentage applicable depends on the kind of energy. Anyone who prefers not to use renewable energies can choose various so-called substitute measures. When drafting the law, it was ensured that it is possible for each owner of a building to find an individual cost effective solution tailored to their requirements. Thus, the most varied combinations of renewable and other energy sources are permitted.


German Combined Heat and Power Act (KWKG)

The law on the maintenance, modernisation and expansion of combined heat and power (CHP) generating systems obliges the grid operators to provide a connection to their grid for the CHP plants and units listed in the law and to accept the CHP electricity generated by these CHP plants and units in their grid.

The price which the operator of the CHP plant or unit and the grid operator agree for this electricity has to be paid in addition to a surcharge stipulated in the law and dependent on the type of CHP plant or unit.


German Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG)

The German Federal Nature Conservation Act, which has been in force since March 2010, brings legal harmonisation across Germany to its nature conservation legislation, structures the nature conservation legislation in a clearer and better arranged way overall, and simplifies its practical application.

With the nature protection and countryside conservation law, the basis for comprehensive protection of nature and the countryside was already laid down in 1976. Nature conservation has a long tradition in Germany, one which can be traced back for instance to protected areas in the 19th century.


German Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG)

The law on the protection from harmful impacts on the environment caused by air pollution, noise, tremors and similar occurrences is intended to protect people, animals and plants, the ground, the water and the atmosphere, as well as cultural and other real assets from damaging impacts on the environment, and to prevent the occurrence of such damaging impacts on the environment.

The stipulations in the law regulate among others the construction and operation of plant and systems requiring or not requiring a permit, the determination of emissions and immissions, as well as safety-related assessments, the composition and quality of plants, materials, products, fuels, transport fuels, lubricants and biofuels, or the composition and the operation of motor vehicles, buildings and changes to road and rail routes.


German Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Act (TEHG)

The German Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Act represents the enactment into national law of the EU Directive on the European trading system with greenhouse gas emission rights. It forms the legal basis in Germany for trading in emissions certificates.

The law is currently only applicable to the carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas. The German Emissions Trading Agency (DEHSt), which is located in the German Federal Environmental Office (UBA), is primarily responsible for implementing emissions trading in Germany. The federal state authorities support the Emissions Trading Agency in fulfilling its remit and provide support to the plant operators when preparing monitoring plans and drafting the required reports.


German Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act (KrW-/AbfG)

The central focus of the German waste management policy is on product stewardship. The German Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act and the German Federal Immission Control Act provide the statutory basis for this.

In line with the law to promote waste recycling and secure the environmentally compatible disposal of waste, manufacturers and sales companies have to design their products in such a way that the production of waste is reduced during their manufacture and subsequent use and that an environmentally compatible reutilisation and disposal of the residual waste material is possible.


Packaging Regulation (VerpackV)

Since the beginning of the 1990s, the ordinance on the avoidance and reutilisation of packaging waste has contributed to the introduction of closed cycle systems, as well as to the avoidance, recycling and reutilisation of waste – and thus to the conservation of resources as well. In this way it makes an essential contribution to climate protection.

The regulation envisages that in principle all packaging which reaches private end consumers is to be licensed in so-called dual systems. At the same time the intention is to increase the transparency when disposing of sales packaging and to set improved underlying conditions for competition between the providers of household waste collection systems.


German Water Resources Act (WHG)

The German law governing water management aims to improve the comprehensibility and practicability of the water legislation by means of this new regulation and especially through stronger harmonisation and improved systems.

Furthermore, the law transfers areas normally covered by federal state legislation to date into federal law to the extent that there is a requirement for a uniform federal regulation. It also establishes the conditions for the uniform enactment of EC water legislation in the Federal Republic of Germany.


Drinking Water Regulation (TrinkwV)

The ordinance on the quality of water for human consumption sets strict quality standards for drinking water.

The purpose of the regulation is to protect human health from harmful impacts which could result from contaminated water intended for human consumption by guaranteeing its consumability and purity.


Waste Water Regulation (AbwV)

The ordinance stipulating requirements for discharging waste water into bodies of water has been in force since 2005. In accordance with the German Water Resources Act (WHG), the discharging of waste water into a body of water requires official permission in the form of a so-called water law permit.

Anyone intending to discharge waste water is obliged to channel the waste water through a technical treatment method until a certain level of quality is reached before it can be discharged into a body of water. The intention especially with the discharging standards is to ensure that whatever is technically feasible is required when discharging pollutants from so-called point sources regardless of the respective body of water's quality.