04 Nov 2021, 13:36
Charlotte Nijhuis

Three quarters of German buildings still heated with fossil fuels – report

Clean Energy Wire

Three quarters of German buildings are still heated with fossil fuels despite the share of alternative heating systems growing, according to a report on the building sector’s climate footprint by the German Energy Agency (dena). Sales of heat pumps increased by 40 percent and sales of biomass systems by 140 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year, and the sale of oil and gas boilers fell below 80 percent for the first time. The use of subsidy programmes for climate-friendly construction and renovation has also grown since 2019, the report shows. Energy consumption in buildings has remained constant for the last five years, while heat consumption and energy consumption for air-conditioning has recently risen, dena found.

Around 40 percent of heating systems are over 20 years old and need to be replaced in the coming years, presenting an opportunity for installing sustainable alternatives, said head of dena Andreas Kuhlmann. “In order to steer in the right direction, we need impulses such as reliable subsidy programmes, control instruments such as effective and fair CO2 pricing, as well as the relief of electricity from taxes, levies and fees, and last but not least an innovation-friendly environment,” he said.

The building sector has exceeded its 2020 Climate Action Law budget of 118 million tonnes CO2 equivalent by two million tonnes. Earlier this year, German ministers agreed to spend a total of 11.5 billion euros on measures for lowering emissions in the sector. The government 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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