Poorly insulated buildings and outdated heating systems use substantial amounts of energy. Overall, the buildings sector is responsible for around 25% of Germany’s carbon emissions and 30% of its final energy consumption. In order to meet the climate targets, the sector needs to become climate-neutral by 2045. Here, the aim is to achieve a 40% reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 against the 2014 baseline.
Meeting these climate targets will require an ambitious upgrading programme and more intensive use of renewable energies. Above all, appropriate policy measures are required to deliver effective climate change mitigation in the buildings sector, as described by the Oeko-Institut in numerous studies. From the researchers’ perspective, simply providing funding for upgrading schemes is not enough. Ambitious emissions standards for buildings are also required, along with incentives and rules applicable to the conversion of existing heating systems to renewables, with a particular focus on heat pumps. Heat networks must be expanded and operated on the basis of renewables. Ways must also be found to limit the increase in living area and floor space. In addition, policy-makers have a responsibility to ensure that there is an adequate supply of well-qualified entrants to the crafts and trades so that skilled workers are available to provide renovation and retrofitting services.