The German Federal Association of Housing and Real Estate Companies (GdW) has claimed that money and effort spent on the nation’s buildings renovations have not worked. But Andreas Rüdinger at IDDRI has looked into the evidence and concluded that the opposite is the case. CO2 emissions from the residential sector in 2018 were 37% lower than in 1990. Though final energy consumption was broadly stable, that’s because efficiency gains were offset by an increase in the residential building stock. But the calculations per square metre show a significant decline.
Rüdinger also calls for more clarity on what constitutes “cost” as critics of renovations seem to be including all costs when upgrades occur, not just the additional costs of energy efficiency (insulation, modern heating systems, etc.) Another criticism, that the costs are often borne by tenants, is countered by pointing to calculations that show lower energy bills make up for the up-front cost. With the right funding schemes, the tenant won’t notice the difference. Rüdinger concludes that with the right mix of funding and policies, buildings renovations must continue and indeed accelerate. Rather than a failure, the German system can be a model that other countries, like France which has been watching closely, can follow.
On 4 October 2020, Le Monde published an article on the energy efficiency of Germany’s building stock, claiming that consumption has not been reduced, that energy retrofitting policies have failed, and that the sector’s CO2 emission reduction targets were unlikely to be achieved. Given that Germany is often cited as a source of inspiration in this respect, as indicated by the High Council on Climate‘s recent report, how should we interpret these assertions? And what lessons can be learned by France? Andreas Rüdinger, a specialist on the issue in both France and Germany, and an IDDRI research associate, analyses the issue.
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