27 Oct 2020, 13:25
Kerstine Appunn

Home insulation makes big difference in heating bill and CO2 emissions – government report

Clean Energy Wire

Heating homes has become more expensive in Germany, according to the latest “Heating Index 2020” report, which uses 2019 data from 147,000 residential buildings with central heating. Costs for oil, gas, district heating and heat pumps have gone up, while only the use of wood pellets has become cheaper compared to 2018. The report, which is prepared by NGO co2online and supported by the environment ministry (BMU), shows that the condition and insulation of buildings is the biggest factor when it comes to heating costs. Residents of a 70-square-metre flat in a well-insulated apartment building with gas heating paid an average of 485 euros last year. In an apartment building in a poor energy condition, the heating costs were more than twice as high, around 1,030 euros, with corresponding higher CO2 emissions.

A month ago, another study came to the conclusion that CO2 emissions from Germany’s residential buildings had only fallen since 2010 because of rising temperatures and warmer winters. The report highlighted the need to continue with energy efficiency improvements and said that a higher support rate for home insulation refurbishments and the implementation of a CO2 price on heating fuels could create additional incentives for this. 

German homes' high use of fossil energy is a big hurdle on the path to greenhouse gas neutrality. Nearly two-thirds still heat with fossil fuels, and most of them also need to be modernised to lower energy demand. The government is working to extend the energy transition to buildings with a ban on new oil-fired heating and tax incentives for renovations and low-emission technologies. It aims to have a “nearly” climate neutral building stock by 2050 after emissions in the sector stagnated for nearly a decade.

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