The Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning

Publication What makes an Efficiency House Plus?

Principles and examples of energy-generating buildings

Titelseite: What makes an Efficiency House Plus?

Editor: BMI, BBSR Series: Individual publication Issue: 6th revised edition Published: May 2019 URN: urn:nbn:de:101:1-2019070110291187040706 Language: English


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A roadmap towards an almost climate-neutral building stock has been drawn up in the last year in Germany for the buildings sector. As buildings have a very long lifetime, the foundations for 2050 need to be laid early. This will be done through ambitious standards for new buildings, long-term renovation strategies and the gradual phase-out of heating systems based on fossil fuels.

One of the key elements of Germany‘s Energiewende, the transformation of the energy system, is establishing a new approach to energy in the construction sector and in the home. It will only be possible to achieve a virtually climate-neutral building stock by 2050 if we gradually bring new technologies and new building standards to the market that provide the highest level of efficiency – both in terms of energy and cost. But we will not start at point zero. There is already a long tradition on energy-saving in buildings in Germany. Today the development shows building standards that advanced to a point where they no longer just consume energy but also generate it. The most successful research project supported by the Ministry of Interior, Building and Community is the “Efficiency House Plus”. It is able to produce more energy in a year than the building and its users consume.

Today over 37 "Efficiency House Plus" pilot projects in Germany shoe how buildings in the future can work as micro power plants that, calculated over the entire year, produce more energy from renewable sources than they use without compromising aesthetic appeal or quality of life. The idea is to use the surplus energy for electromobility or for the neighbourhood‘s energy needs. In 2011, the German government set up its own pilot project in Berlin – an Efficiency House Plus with electromobility, designed to test this new standard and at the same time explore possible synergy effects between the new generation of buildings and electric vehicles. The results are really quite impressive. The aim of the Ministry of the Interior, Building uand Community is not just to carry out one-off beacon projects but to work within a network of different solutions to try out and optimise different technologies, that bring up buildings of the future that can be inhabited without having any impact on the climate. But the Efficiency House Plus is more, as a possible future building standard it will be also analyzed in another themes in the society’s discussion, which are next to efficiency affordable housing and sustainibility.

BMI, Directorate-General BW I 3, Building and Systems Engineering, Technical Aspects in the Field of Energy and Building,
Petra Alten, graduate architect

Technical Editing
Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development
within the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR)
Dr.-Ing. Architekt Arnd Rose ( ),
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Architekt Daniel Wöffen ( )

Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics
Dipl.-Ing. Hans Erhorn, Dipl.-Ing. Antje Bergmann




  • Development of energy-saving buildings

    • The legal framework
    • Definition: Efficiency House Plus
    • The components: Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources

Key parameters

  • Building design
  • Building envelope
  • Specifics
  • Technical building systems
  • Household appliances
  • "Plus"
  • Openness towards technology and diverse planning


  • Efficiency House Plus: A federal initiative
  • From a research pilot project to an information centre
  • The Efficiency House Plus Network
  • Single-family/semi-detached (new) houses
  • Apartment buildings (new)
  • Refurbished existing buildings
  • Efficiency House Plus international
  • Educational buildings
  • Efficiency House Plus in districts

Results from the network

  • Accompanying technical research
  • Monitoring buildings
  • Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
  • Costs
  • Sociological monitoring

Tips for planners and builders
Key links for research and funding
List of abbreviations
Image credits

More information:

This publication is also available in German:

Wege zum Effizienzhaus Plus
Grundlagen und Beispiele für energieerzeugende Gebäude
>> more

This Page

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Insights from the Accompanying Research

Individual publication

Study on reducing technical rule references in the Energy Saving Ordinance

BMVBS-Online-Publikation 07/13, Ed.: BMVBS, May 2013


Investigations concerning the amendment of the European Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (EPBD recast)

BMVBS-Online-Publikation 16/12, Ed.: BMVBS, October 2012


Analysis of the amendment of the building directive: Study on the establishment of a quality control system for energy certificates

BMVBS-Online-Publikation 10/12, Ed.: BMVBS, June 2012


Further development of the approach "EnEV easy" for application in EnEV 2012

BMVBS-Online-Publikation 04/12, Ed.: BMVBS, June 2012


Primary energetic factors of biogenic energy carriers, waste heat sources and waste incineration plants

BMVBS-Online-Publikation 12/12, Ed.: BMVBS, June 2012


Validation of the amended DIN V 18599 (energy efficiency of buildings), version 2011

BMVBS-Online-Publikation 13/12, Ed.: BMVBS, June 2012