The following seven facts show exactly why real estate is so crucial for the energy transition and what possibilities and approaches exist to make the heating transition as part of the energy transition. They come from the fact book “Energy transition in buildings – the importance of digitization”, which Techem, a service provider for smart and sustainable buildings, created together with the Handelsblatt Research Institute.
1. Buildings are major sources of CO2 emissions
In the public debate on the energy transition, the focus is often on the power supply. But: With 122 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in 2019, the building sector is the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions – after the energy industry (254 million tonnes of CO2) and industry (188 million tonnes of CO2). CO2 neutrality in the building is possible. The potential for savings in the building envelope, users and system technology is around 43 percent, and a further 47 percent CO2 savings can be made through renewable energies.
2. Where citizens see their contribution to the energy transition
Not only politics and business have an obligation, each and every individual can also make a contribution to the energy transition. The largest part of the population already starts with the energy guzzler warmth: A representative survey from 2019 showed that 30 percent of those questioned try to heat less, 23 percent use less light and 18 percent try to use TV, standby mode and smartphone energy to save.
3. Smart technology helps to save energy
Access control, convenient control of kitchen appliances, roller shutters and multimedia or intelligent heating and energy management: the possibilities for smart homes are diverse. Although less than half of the households use smart home devices, they usually rely on the right horse: The greatest motivation for purchasing is energy savings (39 percent). Because: 9 to 14 percent of heating energy can be saved by using digital applications in the home or rented apartment. Other reasons to buy are remote control (38 percent) or automation options (35 percent).
4. There is a lack of green energy in the heating sector
In addition to careful use of the available energy, the expansion of renewable energies is the second central pillar of the energy transition. The electricity sector is already green today at 55 percent. What is the situation in the heating sector? A good 85 percent of the energy required for heating, hot water or air conditioning still comes from oil, gas and coal. The use of geothermal and solar thermal energy, biogas or biomass is far behind.
5. High need for renovation in residential buildings
The heat consumption of new buildings has been greatly reduced by energy regulations, but the total heat consumption has hardly decreased over the years. Why is that? Around two thirds of all residential buildings are more than 40 years old. And around half of the residential buildings in Germany should be renovated in the next 20 years. Because: Fully refurbished buildings consume around 22 percent less heating energy than non-refurbished buildings. The difference to partially renovated buildings is also around 19 percent.
6. Where old buildings lose the most heat
The starting points for the energetic renovation of buildings are diverse. In an apartment building from the 1960s, an average of 37 percent of the heat losses are due to the outer wall, 13 percent to the windows and at least 12 percent are lost through inefficient heating. With the latter in particular, large savings can often be achieved with just a small investment.
7. The heating transition is an opportunity for the economy
German companies are traditionally strong when it comes to technically sophisticated and clever solutions that advance energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies. Today, Germany’s share of the global environmental and efficiency market is 14 percent. For comparison: Germany’s share of total economic output is 4.6 percent. (ots)