25 May 2021, 13:24
Charlotte Nijhuis

Many of Germany’s public buildings not energy efficient – NGO report

Clean Energy Wire

Many publicly-owned buildings in Germany do not meet the energy efficiency requirements in line with the country’s climate targets, shows a report published by the NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) and the online platform FragDenStaat with the help of over 1,000 citizens. The ‘climate-check’ report states that out of the 533 building energy performance certificates which were examined, almost 80 percent were so-called "consumption certificates", which did not provide reliable information about the climate-friendliness of the buildings. Such a certificate only shows the amount of energy actually consumed by a building through heating and hot water. Over 50 percent of the buildings that provided more in depth certificates - including information on insulation, etc. - were in need of massive renovation and 34 percent required some renovation, the report states. Over 80 percent of the 3,066 buildings targeted by citizens' inquiries did not provide any information about their energy efficiency. The energy performance certificate is a document that is intended to provide data on the energy efficiency and the energy costs incurred by a building. Germany has a total of 186,000 public buildings, according to an earlier report by trade union IG Bau. “Our check reveals that the public sector has been putting up with a worsening refurbishment backlog for years. We demand that renovation plans with a concrete timetable for achieving climate-neutrality by 2030 be publicly submitted for all public buildings,” says Barbara Metz of DUH. The NGO also calls for a nationwide, publicly accessible online register where the energy certificates of all public buildings can be accessed.

The building sector is responsible for 14 percent of Germany’s total emissions. It is the only sector where the 2020 emission reduction target was not reached. If the country wants to reach its target of a close to climate-neutral building stock by 2050, "practically all" of its three million non-residential buildings will have to be renovated, according to a KfW research paper released last year. Earlier this month, the German Building Alliance presented a five-point plan detailing how climate protection targets in the building sector could be achieved.

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