23 Aug 2023, 13:21
Carolina Kyllmann

Germany’s homes face increasing risk of overheating in summer – report

Clean Energy Wire

New constructions and renovations in Germany are failing to sufficiently account for the growing effects of climate change, increasingly putting them at risk of overheating during summer months, a report by engineering firm Hauser (IBH) found. Clear specifications for sun protection measures are needed from the government, as these can combat overheating and minimise the increase in energy consumption through air conditioners, according to the report commissioned by the Transparent Building Envelope (RTG) association. “Politicians must realise how important overheating protection in summer will become in the future. Not only for our health, but for energy supply and climate protection as well,” RTG head Thomas Drinkuth said. “In the worst case, energy consumption for air conditioning could become a bigger problem than that for heating.” Increasingly hot summers have driven demand for air conditioning up.

To prevent overheating, glass and windows could be retrofitted with sun protection – from solar control glass to internal or external shutters and blinds, especially if they activate automatically, the report authors recommend. “Since the standard specifications for sun protection are still based on climate data from 1988 to 2007, even today's new buildings are often not even fit for the current summers, let alone the summers of the future,” the report authors wrote. Without sun protection, rooms in existing buildings can become almost uninhabitable during the summer, the authors concluded, but said this could be managed with moderate measures and without machine cooling.

Germany is in the middle of a controversial debate around the phase-out of fossil fuel heating systems in an effort to reduce emissions from the building sector, but the rising need to cool buildings has so far received little attention.

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