Heat pumps see record growth as lockdowns encourage Germans to modernise homes
Germany's residential heating sector saw a massive shift towards low-carbon technologies in 2020, spurring hopes that getting a grip on the sector's stubbornly high CO2 footprint is within reach. According to figures from the Federation of German Heating Industry (BDH), which were shared with newspaper Die Welt, sales of electric heat pumps grew by 40 percent last year, with 120,000 units sold across Germany. Bio energy heating system sales grew by nearly 140 percent, with 54,000 units sold. Wood pellet heating sales grew by more than 200 percent, with 35,000 newly installed units in German homes.
Generally, business went well for the industry during a year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, posting a turnover growth of 13 percent. The share of heat pumps in total sales climbed from 11.6 to 14.3 percent, whereas natural gas condensing boilers saw a declining market share for the first time ever, dropping from almost 70 to 65 percent. The pandemic forced most people to spend more time at home, apparently triggering many to modernise the technology they use there, according to Die Welt. The rush to install more climate-friendly heating systems could have also been spurred by a range of support programmes granted under Germany's climate action programme 2030. "The climate package is a resounding success for climate action in the buildings sector," BDH head Uwe Glock said. The federation added that the sector’s dynamic growth is cause for optimism that the "ambitious" CO2 reduction goals of the EU Green Deal can be achieved, even though the political goal of installing 3.5 million heat pumps by the end of the decade is still a long way off.
The heating sector accounts for over one third of Germany's primary energy consumption, and for years has been sluggish to accomplish any major improvements in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. In order to boost the transition in buildings, the government increased funding for energy efficiency refurbishments from 1.85 billion euros in 2019 to 8.6 billion euros in 2020.