Affordable renewable energy supply for high energy efficiency in German building sector

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A study commissioned by the organization Agora Energiewende and the European Climate Foundation finds that high energy efficiency in buildings is a condition for affordable renewable energy supply.

Efficiency reduces costs and risks, creates many benefits and opportunities. The study assesses how climate targets can be achieved at the lowest possible cost and what role building efficiency plays in the energy system.


The study proposes and analyses five scenarios that meet climate targets for the years 2030 and 2050. The German climate protection plan for 2030 calls for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to between 70 and 72 million tons per year in the building sector, to between 175 and 183 million tons per year in the energy sector, and to between 95 and 98 million tons per year in the mobility sector. Germany‘s energy concept policy envisages a 55 per cent reduction of energy-related GHG emissions by 2030 and an 80 to 95 per cent reduction by 2050 (against a baseline year of 1990). The European Union‘s climate policy (Effort Sharing Decision) stipulate additional climate targets as well. For Germany, they translate into an emission reduction of 38 per cent by 2030 for the sectors that are not affected by European emissions trading. Known as non-ETS sectors, these primarily include road transport and buildings.


The five scenarios in this study go about achieving the climate targets in different ways and with different levels of effort. However, each scenario varies from the other only with regard to the building sector. The impact assessment regards feasibility, opportunities, and risks as equally important as financial costs.


Through the study of five different scenarios, the report finds that the cheapest way to a climate-friendly heating system is through greater efficiency efforts in the building sector and especially the insulation of existing buildings. It analyses the impact of the different building sector paths on the other sectors and calculates the total economic costs.


The study is in German, with an English summary.


Report is available at