26 Jul 2022, 11:54
Hannah Naylor

Renovation of most energy-inefficient homes protects the poor, helps climate – report

Clean Energy Wire

Modernising the most energy-inefficient homes will not only help the climate, but also shield those most prone to energy poverty, according to a report by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut), commissioned by NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH). It is often low-income households who live in old buildings with the lowest energy efficiency, meaning these families are forced to spend a relatively high share of their income on energy (above 10 percent) compared to families with a high income (around 2 percent). This is despite the fact that lower-income households use less energy in absolute terms, signalling the need for support, the report says.

Savings on energy costs could amount to 2000 euros a year for a 100 square metre single-family detached house, DUH head Barbara Metz said. “In addition, energy-efficient refurbishment of these buildings makes an important contribution to climate protection in the building sector; up to two million tons of CO2 per year can be saved.” Metz called on the government to support people on lower incomes whilst helping the climate through renovation measures and subsidies.

Gas bills are expected to triple from 2023, with the full impact of rising prices yet to be felt, Germany's grid agency (BNetzA) has warned. An analysis conducted earlier this month stated the energy crisis threatens to push even German middle class households into “energy poverty”, a situation where energy bills of a household exceed 10 percent of net income.

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