The importance of efficiency in the building sector for the achievement of long-term climate protection targets

Proc. eceee Summer Study 2019

Authors: Peter Mellwig, Alexandra Langenheld, Martin Pehnt, Norman Gerhardt, Alexander Ladermann, Amany von Oehsen, Julia Lempik, Mandy Werle, Sebastian Blömer, Irina Ganal, Christian Linke, Sarah Becker, Dietrich Schmidt

The study assesses how climate targets can be achieved at the lowest possible cost and what role building efficiency plays in the energy system. To these ends, we analysed the cross-sectoral effects of building efficiency measures and their impact on the total economic cost of energy supply by linking four calculation models. The study also shows scenarios which compensate less efficiency by more renewable energy, heat pumps or synthetic fuels. One main focus of the analyses is how the scenarios can realistically be implemented. The study also examines the susceptibility of development paths to lock-in situations and the potential of flexible approaches to achieve more ambitious targets.


Key findings:


1) Higher efficiency in the building sector is more cost-effective than the alternative approaches (up to 8.2 billion per year). It is also a more feasible way to meet the climate targets.


2) Efficiency increases multiple benefits like higher building quality, better thermal comfort, which improves health and performance of the inhabitants, reduced dependence on energy imports, relieved renewable energy sources and higher gross domestic product.


3) Efficiency reduces risks. The greater the energy savings are in general, the more flexibility there will be – for both, technical supply solutions and ambitious climate protection targets.


4) Efficiency opens the door to all kinds of technologies. All available technologies need to be ramped up steeply to meet the mandatory targets at least. Efficiency, however, provides the greatest potential, is broadly present in today´s market and in many cases enables the use of renewables. Synthetic fuels are likely to be too expensive to be burned in inefficient buildings.


5) Purposeful action: building investments follow a multi-decade cycle. Sudden course changes always cause high additional costs. It takes a purposeful approach to transform the building sector. Today´s decisions have to consider the targets from the outset.



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