Experts: Germany is behind in energy-saving renovation
Germany has far fewer apartments and houses that have been renovated in an efficient way than experts believe necessary to meet climate targets."Every year, around 500,000 residential units are not fully renovated."
MUNICH (dpa–AFX) - Experts believe that far fewer German houses and apartments have been renovated in an efficient manner to meet climate targets. Deutsche Presse-Agentur: "Every year, only about 500,000 residential units have been fully renovated in terms of efficiency," Ralph Henger (a housing market expert at the Institute of the German Economy, Cologne) said. This puts the annual refurbishment rate at just above one percent, with around 42.5 million homes across Germany. Henger says that to achieve our climate targets, it would need to be twice as high.
A survey by the Federal Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies, GdW, in December 2022 revealed that 84 percent of housing companies surveyed said that rising material costs were a major obstacle to modernization.57% cited higher financing rates, while 55% cited a lack in construction and trades capabilities as obstacles. Henger stated that the current framework conditions were not sufficient to convince enough building owners and builders to invest in their buildings and implement energy efficiency measures.
A large portion of the population can't afford rising rent costs so modernizations must be affordable, stated a spokesperson for Vonovia real property group. The industry would be unable to invest in the energy turnaround long-term while maintaining stable rents without the support of politicians.
The German government wants Germany's buildings to be climate-neutral by 2045.
The government subsidy program focuses primarily on refurbishing existing buildings to increase climate protection. According to the German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control, the state spent around 2.6 billion euros last year in subsidies for energy-efficient renovations. This is 85 percent more than the previous year.
Subsidies are meant to modernize houses and apartments in a way that saves energy over the long-term. This could include replacing heating systems, exterior walls and insulation, as well as replacing windows and doors. GdW criticizes Germany's government for focusing too much on individual energy-saving measures that have little impact. Despite billions of dollars invested, household energy consumption is stagnant.
Axel Gedaschko, GdW President, stated that instead of addressing individual residential units' energy renewal, it would be more cost-effective and practical to "make the energy supply of buildings in the neighborhood context low carbon." He suggests, for instance, municipal heat planning and a reduction in hurdles for tenants electricity. This is produced within the immediate vicinity of the consumer, for example by solar panels on the tenant’s roof. Gedaschko stated that "then it will also work out in the CO2 reductions and the climate targets."