27 Apr 2022, 12:35
Sören Amelang

High energy prices make building renovations more economical than ever - report

Clean Energy Wire

The renovation of existing residential buildings to increase energy efficiency has become more cost-effective than ever before due to the massive spike in energy costs, according to a report commissioned by the German Industry Initiative for Energy Efficiency (DENEFF) and the federation of consumer organisations (vzbv). Despite rising construction prices and interest rates, modernisations of detached and semi-detached houses always pay for themselves over a 25-year period when public support is taken into account, according to the report. "Even ambitious modernisations are economically more attractive than not modernising. At the same time, CO2 emissions can be cut by up to 95 percent," said the report. But it also stresses that public support programmes remain essential to make renovations profitable. Given these findings and the need to become more independent from Russian energy supplies, the lobby groups said it was incomprehensible why the government continued to neglect the renovation of existing buildings.

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) also called on the government to set the course for the long overdue renovation wave. "Buildings account for around 30 percent of German CO2 emissions and 30 percent of the consumption of Russian gas imports," said BDI deputy managing director Holger Lösch. "In view of the urgent need for independence from Russian energy, it would be negligent to continue to delay the energy-efficient refurbishment of buildings." Following the second stop of subsidies for new buildings this year due to huge demand, the BDI said citizens and companies finally needed clarity and planning certainty. The lobby group said subsidy programmes should run for at least ten years to give landlords and companies time to prepare for the switch to climate-neutral standards, and suggested a "sprinter bonus" for comprehensive renovations before 2030.

The buildings sector has been slow to reduce its carbon footprint in recent years. The creation of a new buildings ministry, previously a sub-department of the interior ministry, has sparked hopes that the laggard sector finally makes more progress in emissions reduction.

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