An the energy balance of buildings, there is no way around reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Germany. Despite a lot of funding, little has happened. In any case, in the past two years the building sector has missed the reduction targets set by politicians and set out in the Federal Climate Protection Act. The federal government has long wanted to increase the number of renovations so that the carbon footprint of houses improves. However, the renovation rate is low and is now even continuing to decline.
A new study puts the rate of energy-saving renovations in Germany at 0.72 percent at the end of the year. This emerges from the market data study by B + L Marktdaten Bonn on behalf of the Federal Association for Energy-Efficient Building Envelopes, which will be published soon and is available to the FAZ in advance. Association President Jan Peter Hinrichs sees the renovation rate in Germany in free fall. “Politicians must now intervene energetically to counteract the downward trend,” he says. Hinrichs calls for reliable funding conditions for citizens and craft businesses.
In order to achieve the climate targets for the building sector in 2030, a renovation rate of 2 percent is necessary. In the first half of the year, according to the Bonn market research institute, the rate came to 0.83 percent after 0.88 percent in 2022. Now the value has fallen further. With a renovation rate of one percent, it would mathematically take a hundred years to renovate all the houses.
“Every house needs different solutions”
In general, you can hear in many places that the number of renovations and the number of heating changes are decreasing. The reasons for this include increased costs, economic concerns and uncertainty about government funding. Alexander Steinfeldt, an expert at the consulting company CO2online, primarily raises the question of funding: “Homeowners canceled their renovation decisions this year or waited because it was unclear which heating systems would be allowed from next year and what funding there would be.”
Steinfeldt recommends getting professional help when starting a renovation. “Every house is different and needs different solutions,” he says. An independent energy consultant can determine the energy condition of the building on site and suggest individual measures: Should it be partially or completely renovated? What needs to be implemented, in what order, and which energy source should be used? Homeowners should check which component needs to be renovated or repaired next. According to Steinfeldt, if the roof had to be re-covered or the facade had to be renewed, the additional costs for the energy-saving renovation would be paid off most quickly.
Association representative Hinrichs praises energy-saving renovations as the method of choice given the strained budget situation, which will reduce CO in the future2-Bill of the building stock improved. In addition, investments for the facade, roof and windows remained predominantly in the domestic economic cycle. The renovation rate of currently 0.72 percent applies to any form of renovation of buildings in the areas of roofs, facades and windows. According to the association, based on experience, the actual rate for energy-saving renovation is still around a fifth below the determined renovation rate.
Last year, owners spent around 67 billion euros on energy-saving renovations. This was the result of an evaluation by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin in cooperation with the construction service provider Heinze in August. Around 20 billion euros are said to have gone into insulating the roof, basement and outside walls of all buildings in Germany as well as replacing windows and outside doors. Expenditure on new heating systems and air conditioning technology was higher at almost 25 billion euros. However, adjusted for inflation, the owners invested between 10 and 20 percent less in all three areas than in 2011. According to the study authors, this was also because there was a lack of capacity in the construction industry. The fact that fewer new buildings are now being built could result in more resources for renovations.
Some funding has stopped
There is currently a question mark behind some state funding. The Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) has temporarily put nine funding programs on hold due to the spending freeze in the federal budget: New payments for heating networks, building energy advice, heat pumps, serial renovations, climate-friendly refrigerants, e-cargo bikes and citizen energy companies for wind turbines have been stopped. Applications for this would no longer be approved or accepted. Projects that have received funding commitments could be pursued further. The programs for electric cars and federal funding for efficient buildings are not affected by the pause in applications.
The Federal Constitutional Court had declared a reallocation of 60 billion euros in Corona loans in the 2021 federal budget to be null and void. The money should subsequently be used for climate protection and the modernization of the economy. The federal government is now looking for new financing options.
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