09 Nov 2023, 14:30
Benjamin Wehrmann

Third of Germany’s heating systems over 20 years old, three in four must be replaced by 2045 - industry

Clean Energy Wire

One in every three heating systems in Germany is at least 20 years old, reducing the energy efficiency of the heating sector, the Federation of German Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) has found in an analysis of thousands of households. However, signals for a comprehensive change in the sector are slowly becoming visible, the industry association said. The average heating system today is about 14 years old, compared to 17 years old in 2019. During the same period, the share of heat pumps doubled while the number of oil heating systems fell. “With the agreed Building Energy Act and the Heating Planning Act that will be debated in parliament next week, key guidelines for the heating transition will have been put into place this year,” said BDEW head Kerstin Andreae. The report showed, however, that “we still have a long way ahead of us.”

Three in four households in Germany still use gas or oil for warming their homes. In the next 20 years, all households should be retrofitted with heating systems based on renewable energy. “This is a big challenge,” Andreae said. Addressing this problem would require an overarching concept encompassing energy sources, infrastructure, buildings and heating technologies, Andreae added. Plans drawn up by municipalities highlighting which heating solutions work best in each situation, which are forthcoming in the next years, would be a major asset in this respect, she added.

Fossil fuel-powered heating systems by far are still the norm in Germany's homes. Decarbonising the building sector – which has consistently missed its emission reduction targets in the past years – is key for achieving Germany's overall climate targets as well as reducing import dependencies on fossil gas.

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