How does the energy transition get into the four walls?

Discussions and debates about the energy transition usually only concern the electricity sector. No matter which direction it comes from, whether it comes from politics that is putting the brakes on or from the driving interest groups of climate protectionists, it is almost always only about the electricity sector. The CO2 avoidance potential and the burden of rising electricity costs are significantly greater in the heating sector than in the electricity sector. I have pointed this out here many times before.

In a joint study, Shell and BDH fear that the energy transition in the residential sector will fail

Some new studies published these days once again point to the importance of this topic. The joint house heating study, which Shell and the Federal Industry Association of Germany House, Energy and Environmental Technology (BDH) in cooperation with the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) and the Institute for Technical Building Services (ITG) under the title of climate protection in the housing sector – How do we heat tomorrow? facts, trends and perspectives for heating technologies up to 2030, even fear that the energy transition in the housing sector will fail. The fact that the energy transition is not progressing in households is actually nothing new.

Heating technology is becoming more and more efficient, but the heaters are getting older. Only 20% of all heating devices in German cellars correspond to the current state of the art. With more than 5 million old heating systems, every third cent escapes unused through the chimney. The replacement of outdated heating systems is the most economical and cost-efficient modernization measure of all. Thanks to accelerated heating modernization, new heating technologies and the increased use of renewable energies, greenhouse gas emissions in the German residential sector could be reduced by around 30% by 2030.

Attitude of German homeowners to the subject of energy efficiency determined

Another new study on heating technology analyzed the attitudes of German homeowners towards the topic of energy-efficient heating technology and identified different types of customers. When buying a heating system, homeowners orient themselves primarily towards the operating costs, the price level and the maintenance costs, according to a survey by the market research institute EuPD Research. The manufacturer’s brand or the appearance of the system, on the other hand, have only very little significance in the purchase decision. When it comes to financing a heating system, it can be seen that the majority of the homeowners surveyed rely on equity. Around 70 percent of the modernization costs are financed with equity. One reason for this may be that some of the respondents are only aware of a few funding programs, which is also shown by the study. A mere 18% of those questioned were able to spontaneously name one or more support measures.

With a view to homeowners, EuPD Research has published an extensive and methodologically innovative study entitled “Energy Efficiency in Germany”. 1,000 homeowners in Germany were selected as the survey group. The survey participant had to be identified as a household decision-maker or as a person significantly involved in household decisions.

What can one conclude from this? In addition to the pricing policy, I consider simple information and understandable operations to be particularly important.

Broad alliance calls for more commitment to energy-efficient renovation

At the opening of the Berliner Energietage today, the alliance of associations and companies that was presented in March presented itself. In the meantime, further supporters have been won, meanwhile 22 partners from industry, trade unions, consumer protection groups and environmental associations are calling for a binding package of measures to be implemented in the coming legislative period and for energetic modernization to become more central. To reduce energy consumption in buildings, the three pillars of “information and advice”, “support” and “demand” must be used more intensively.

Energy label for buildings

As a member of the alliance, the VdZ – forum for energy efficiency in building technology – demands an optimized energy certificate with an energy label and energy efficiency classes, as is already the case with household appliances. It actually makes a lot of sense to increase the transparency of the energy efficiency of buildings, but it is difficult to implement when you see how little the demand-oriented energy certificate has been able to assert itself.

As the article on already noted, this alliance should not be confused with the Alliance for Building Energy Efficiency (geea) initiated by dena. But there are some overlaps among the members and the goals are also going in the same direction.

The German Tenants’ Association is a member of this alliance, but the housing industry cannot yet get used to it. It still has to be convinced by the individual members that it also benefits from energy-related renovations and increases the value of their apartments. For the tenants’ association, the reduction of additional costs is important, which can already reach the higher of the first rent. But the costs of the renovation should not be borne solely by the tenant, which is the case today with the eleven percent modernization surcharge, according to the tenants’ association. They demand that the degree of efficiency increase during the renovation and the energy cost savings should become decisive criteria for the amount of a rent increase. In the medium term, the so-called local comparative rent must reflect the energetic condition of the apartment.

Reliability, transparency and quality are important factors

In conclusion, all those involved should agree on more transparency in their information and advice, and homeowners must be convinced of the advantages of the energy transition in the house on site. The insecurity from the media must be countered with concrete examples that show successes. The energy certificate must become a convincing but also reliable instrument.

Quality in renovations must become an important factor, i.e. checking the planned energy savings. The energy consultant must accompany the renovation from the beginning to the implementation and document or guarantee the success.

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