Research for more climate protection in buildings


To reach the targets for energy savings and climate protection in buildings more ambitious measures are needed in EU member states. In all EU countries improvements are necessary for the modernization of buildings, when using renewable energy instead of coal and oil to heat and cool buildings and to improve the efficiency of space cooling. If the countries set high-reaching objectives and help home owners and landlords with innovative instruments greenhouse emissions in the building sector of the European Union can be decreased by 50 to 75 per cent by the year 2030.

The European research consortium ENTRANZE which included the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI as well as the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) describes how ambitious climate protection measures can reduce the use of natural gas alone by around 36 to 45 per cent by 2030 compared to the year 2008.

In the EU around 60 per cent of the overall energy consumption is accounted for by space heating, warm water, air conditioning and lighting. 20 to 30 per cent could be saved if the EU member states implemented innovative solutions in the building sector. The scientists suggest for example to gradually replace oil heating, to step up the use of energy saving lighting and particularly to modernize older buildings in an energy efficient manner.

Judit Kockat, scientist at the Fraunhofer ISI emphasizes: “There are great opportunities when modernizing old buildings as in many European countries a lot of space heating is lost through badly insulated doors, windows and walls. The ENTRANZE results show that Germany, France and Italy are responsible for about 46 per cent of the energy demand for space heating and warm water in the European Union. Depending on the political strategy we pursue and how energy prices develop this energy demand can be reduced by 20 to 30 per cent for the 28 EU member states by the year 2030.”

The German Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV), low interest loans, subsidies, and repayment bonuses for the modernization of existing and new buildings, investment support for existing buildings and the obligation to use renewable heating technologies for new buildings – there are already good legal regulations in Germany to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. However, further political measures are needed to make climate protection for buildings more energy efficient.

“It is now particularly important to consistently enforce the Energy Saving Ordinance – this also means giving home owners better information about energy efficient modernization and financial support as well as stricter building regulations”, Tanja Kenkmann, project leader at the Institute of Applied Ecology, concludes. “Our analyses also show that renewable energy combined with the modernization of a building can save the largest amount of energy. If heating systems are replaced the proprietor should change to an environmentally friendly heating system.”

In contrast to the considerable savings which are possible for the energy demand for space heating and lighting the energy demand for air conditioning significantly increases in all scenarios. According to the scientists it can be expected that by 2030 twice as much energy will be needed for space cooling. One reason: Europeans demands for comfort are increasing. The increase in energy demand could be reduced if strict efficiency measures such as shading of windows but also the further development of highly efficient cooling systems were implemented.

More information:

Website of the project ENTRANZE

Policy Paper: Laying down the pathways to nearly Zero-Energy Buildings. A toolkit for policy makers

Interactive data mapping tool

Contact persons at Oeko-Institut:

Dr. Veit Bürger / Tanja Kenkmann
Energy & Climate division
Öko-Institut Freiburg office
Phone: +49 761 45295-259

Contact persons at Fraunhofer ISI:

Scientific Contact:
Clemens Rohde, Judit Kockat, Jan Steinbach
Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung ISI

Head of press and communications:
Anne-Catherine Jung (MA)
Tel.: +49 721 6809-100

Head of project:

TU Wien, Energy Economics Group (EEG): Lukas Kranzl