14 Feb 2023, 13:15
Carolina Kyllmann

Gas boilers continue to dominate German heating market, but heat pumps on the rise

Clean Energy Wire / Tagesspiegel Background

While heat pump sales increased more than 50 percent in 2022, oil and gas boilers continued to dominate the German heating market, according to the annual heating report of heating industry association BDH. Overall, 66.8 percent of all new heating systems sold in the country last year ran on oil and natural gas (5.8 percent oil, 61 percent gas), compared to a heat pump share of 24.1 percent, and 9.1 percent of biomass-based systems. With 236,000 units sold, the heat pump market increased sales by 53 percent over 2021. Biomass-based heating systems, particularly boilers running on pellets, registered the second highest growth rates - with sales increasing 17 percent to 89,000 units. In contrast, gas-based heating systems saw a decline of eight percent to 598,000 units. Overall, around 980,000 new heating systems were installed in 2022. The Institute for Technical Building Equipment (ITG) calculated on behalf of BDH that last year’s modernisation of old heating systems saves between 1.9 and 2.3 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

According to the German heat pump association (BWP), the report “clearly shows that the incentives to switch heating systems to renewable technologies are not yet sufficient,” newspaper Tagesspiegel Background reports. The lobby group called on the government to implement the announced requirement for every new heating system to be operated on 65 percent renewable energy from 2024. “Particularly in view of the fact that tenants have no influence on which heating system is used to heat their home, this regulation in the Building Energy Act can provide important guidance on how to avoid deceptive investments in the boiler room,” BWP said.

An alliance of environmental and consumer protection associations – including Environmental Action Germany (DUH), WWF and the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) – called for an end to fossil fuel heating systems by expanding renewable heat networks and promoting climate-friendly heating sources, whilst making  better use of waste heat. “We will only accelerate the necessary transformation in the heating sector if we focus now on the efficient and actually climate-friendly solutions that are already available,” WWF climate protection and energy policy head Viviane Raddatz said. “Hydrogen is not one of them, because it will hardly be an option for the heating grid due to its limited availability,” she added.

Germany aims to be climate neutral by 2045, which means all sectors, including heating, have to be largely decarbonised by that time. The government parties in their coalition agreement said they aim to cover 50 percent of heating with renewables by 2030.

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