Among the targets set by the German government’s 2050 climate protection plan is one reserved specifically for the building sector: a reduction of annual greenhouse gas emissions to between 70 and 72 million tons of CO2 by 2030. Reaching this target will take a Wärmewende, a fundamental transformation in building heating technology and insulation. Such a transformation will have to rely on three cornerstones: energy efficiency, low-carbon district heating, and local renewable energy sources. But it is unclear how expansive these measures must be if Germany is to reach its environmental goals, especially given the ambitious targets for 2050.
To answer this question, we commissioned the Fraunhofer Institutes for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) and for Building Physics (IBP) to identify the minimum levels of key technologies and approaches needed for decarbonisation. Their findings show that Germany must significantly boost efforts in green retrofitting, proliferating heat pumps, and expanding district heating to put the building sector on the right track.
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