11 Sep 2023, 13:37
Benjamin Wehrmann

Most people in Germany endorse resolute switch from fossil to sustainable heating – survey

Clean Energy Wire

Most people in Germany agree with the “core aim” of the government’s controversial building energy law to replace old fossil heating systems with sustainable alternatives, certifier TÜV found in a survey. Almost 60 percent of respondents had said they approve of the idea mandating for the replacement of defunct oil and gas heating systems with sustainable systems like heat pumps, biogas or hydrogen, while 29 percent rejected it. “A majority supports the general line of action in the building energy law,” said TÜV executive manager Joachim Bühler. The law that parliament decided on 8 September followed months of intense debate and dispute over the social impact of mandating the installation of often costly sustainable heating systems, which are seen as an prerequisite for achieving meaningful emissions reduction in the buildings sector. According to the survey among 1,000 adults, two thirds of property owners were in favour of a mandatory switch once fossil heating systems stop functioning. For tenants, the share was only 53 percent, the survey commissioned by the TÜV found. “It pays off for homeowners to thoroughly study the new regulation, since there are many ways to receive support or exemptions,” the technical certifier stated. However, 60 percent of respondents at the same time rejected a comprehensive ban on fossil heating systems, which could mandate a switch also for heaters that still worked. “The majority is ready to press on with climate action. Simple bans and coercion, on the other hand, are perceived as patronising,” Bühler said.

A different survey commissioned by energy company E.ON had found that one in three homeowners in Germany is prepared to switch to a heat pump when changing their heating system, provided that there is easily accessible state support and costs of the technology continue to fall. Switching to heat pumps en masse in Germany could save up to 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year, E.ON found. However, nearly 60 percent said support for heat pumps should be at 70 percent of the purchase costs.

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