Our most important findings


  1. 1

    The sustainable energy transition in the heating sector is currently lagging and buildings sector goals are unlikely to be met by 2030.

    Reducing emissions from the current level of 130 million tons of CO2 to between 70 and 72 million tons in the next 11 years will require ramping up all available technologies across the board. These include insulation, heat pumps, heat networks, decentralized renewable energy and power-to-gas. Cherry-picking the various building technologies is no longer an option because of past shortcomings.

  2. 2

    Energy efficiency in existing buildings is a prerequisite for technology neutrality.

    Ensuring adequate competition between various energy supply options such as renewable energy, heat pumps, synthetic fuels and decarbonized heat networks requires reducing final energy consumption by at least a third before 2050. The more efficient a building is, the more realistic any necessary expansion on the generation side will be.

  3. 3

    Power-to-gas can only complement aggressive efficiency policies in the buildings sector, not replace them.

    Synthetic fuels are a significant component of energy supply in all 2050 climate protection scenarios. But their contribution by 2030 is only limited, and even between 2030 and 2050 they are considerably more expensive than most energy efficiency measures in the buildings sector. In addition, the bulk of generation from power-to-gas may be allocated to other markets (industrial processes, shipping, air travel and transport by truck).

  4. 4

    To successfully implement the heating transition, we urgently need a roadmap for promoting energy efficiency in buildings by 2030.

    To this end, a package of policy measures is needed, including changes to relevant laws, regulations and energy tax laws, as well as an overhaul of funding programs. The heating sector goals for 2030 and 2050 can only be met if the installation rate of all building-related climate protection technologies is quadrupled.

  1. 1

    Improving energy efficiency would significantly lower the costs of the German electricity system.

    Each saved kilowatt-hour of electricity reduces fuel and CO2 emissions, as well as investment costs forfossil and renewable power plants and power grid expansion. If electricity consumption can be lowered by10 to 35 percent by 2035 compared to the Reference scenario outlined in the study, the costs for electricitygeneration will reduced by 10 to 20 billion euros2012.

  2. 2

    Improvements in the energy efficiency of the electricity sector can be achieved economically.

    One saved kilowatt-hour of electricity would lead to reduced electrical system costs of between 11 to 15euro cents2012 by 2035, depending on the underlying assumptions. Many efficiency measures wouldgenerate lower costs than these savings, and would therefore be beneficial from an overall economicperspective.

  3. 3

    Reductions in future power consumption mean a lower need to expand the power grid.

    A significant increase in energy efficiency can significantly reduce the long-term need to expand thetransmission grid: between 1,750 and 5,000 km in additional transmission lines will be needed by 2050,down from 8,500 km under the “business as usual” scenario.

  4. 4

    Reducing power consumption would reduce both CO2 emissions and import costs for fuel.

    Reducing power consumption by 15 percent compared to the Reference scenario would lower CO2 emissionsby 40 million tonnes and would reduce spending on coal and natural gas imports by 2 billion euros2012 in2020.

Stay in touch. Subscribe to our newsletter.