Systemic challenges of Germany's heat transition – a measure and policy roadmap for a climate neutral building stock

eceee 2021 Summer Study proceedings - Panel: 7. Policies for a green recovery in the buildings sector

To reduce Germany's total GHG emissions by 95 % by 2050, the building sector must be completely decarbonised. Due to the inertia of the sector, it is necessary to significantly accelerate the renovation of buildings and the transformation towards climate-neutral heat supply technologies. Our analysis identifies which measures need to be implemented by which date at the latest, to achieve the long-term target of full decarbonisation. Based on this we develop a consistent set of policy instruments that would enable the building stock becoming climate neutral in 2050. For both, measures and policies, a roadmap for the heat transition in Germany is developed with short- (2020-2025), medium- (2025-2035) and long-term (2035-2050) guidelines and recommendations.

The roadmap of measures is based on an analysis of potential risks and how they could be compensated. Potential risks include for example failing to achieve the refurbishment rates and renovation standards required to realize climate neutrality; or failing to get renewable heat quickly enough into the heating market. Options to offset resulting gaps include an additional use of domestic renewable energy, increased efficiency efforts or the import of renewable energy.

The roadmap is divided into four blocks addressing the overall regulatory framework, demand reduction in buildings, heat supply technologies and district heating. The roadmap of measures is “translated” into a roadmap of policy instruments. The policy roadmap includes regulatory approaches, support programs as well as informative instruments. The policy roadmap is designed to provide sufficient incentives for target achievement while avoiding lock-in effects that would undermine meeting the long-term goal.