Transcript of the podcast: The heat transition

"Wenden, bitte!" [All change, please!] The podcast on science and sustainable transitions. Guest in episode 13 is the scientist Dr Veit Bürger from the Oeko-Institut

17 million central heating and self-contained heating systems are currently burning up oil and gas to heat Germany’s 19 million residential buildings. These will have to be replaced with more environmentally friendly heat sources, and the building envelopes refurbished to make them more energy-efficient. Only then can the buildings sector achieve the targets of Germany’s Climate Change Act. The key technologies of the heat transition are electric heat pumps and climate-friendly district heating. Biomass, on the other hand, should only be used for heating in buildings where a heat pump can’t be installed and which can’t be connected to district heating. The top priority for the heat transition is of course efficiency, which is about reducing the demand for heat.

Read the full podcast transcript of episode 13 "How to succeed in the heat transition?"

Some quotes from the podcast:

"Right there, we can see that, even with full storage facilities, if Germany receives no more gas supplies at all we have a problem. Because we need gas for more than just heating buildings. Industry also needs a lot of gas. A good one-third of German natural gas consumption goes to industry, meaning demand for gas is very high. The storage facilities do help us a bit, but full storage facilities don’t automatically mean that we no longer have a problem.


"In principle everyone already has a heat pump in their home, namely their refrigerator. A heat pump is nothing other than a refrigerator in reverse. The fridge is there to produce cold. And the waste product is heat. All the heat pump does is to make use of heat. From that point of view,  it’s a relatively familiar technology that has been around for a long, long time."


"What the German government is planning is a kind of “warm rent” [rent including heating costs] model. The first projects, considerations and calculations for this already exist. The landlord invest in the building refurbishment and the tenant ends up paying exactly the same rent as  before, as total of “cold rent” plus energy costs. In effect, this means that while the tenant's energy costs are lower, the cold rent is raised by the corresponding amount so that the landlord has money to refinance the investment."

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