Heating energy for a cosy home

For now, most Germans still use gas to heat their homes. But renewables are catching up. If you’re thinking about switching your heating for a system based on renewables, there are a number of new funding options and advisory services.

Gas-powered residential heatings systems still the most common in 2020© BMWi, BDEW: provisional figures, partly based on estimates (last updated: 12/2020)

At the end of 2020, some 49.5% of the German housing stock was heated with gas. The number of homes heated with oil fell slightly by 0.3% in 2020, to 25%. Last year, a growing number of homes was heated with more climate-friendly alternatives. In 2020, 14.1% of all apartments were connected to district heating networks. The number of dwellings using heat pumps also increased considerably last year, to reach 2.6%. The share of other forms of energy used for heating private homes remained roughly the same. More than 63% of all owners of newly built dwellings in 2020 went for heating systems based on renewables, such as heat pumps, or chose biomass or district heating as heat suppliers.

The 10-year overview shows that there is a clear trend towards renewables, with heat pumps and district heating each gaining 10% and natural gas/biomethane losing roughly 15% over the last decade.

Six billion euros earmarked for energy efficiency in buildings in 2021

No heating is built for eternity and a regular replacement is a good opportunity to switch over to renewables. Those making this decision can benefit from various efficiency programmes for buildings, such as the new federal funding programmes for efficient buildings.

These new funding efficiency funding programmes and the future of the building sector were also a prominent item on the agenda of the virtual 'Building the Future' meeting in early February this year. Said Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier at the meeting: 'The building sector is important for the success of the energy transition. During this parliament, we have introduced numerous measures for better energy efficiency and for the climate, and also substantially increased the amount of financing for federal funding programmes for modernisations of buildings and heating systems.' The minister went on point out that the results are impressive, with estimates showing that the amount of carbon emissions avoided due to this federal funding will double to 14 million tonnes by 2030.

New advisory service on new heating systems

If you’re interested in a new heating system, you can benefit not only from the new funding options, but also from a new advisory service that was introduced in January 2021. Under the energy advice programme funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and organised by the consumer centres, it is now possible to opt for a heating check, which helps consumers find the right heating technologies for their individual needs. The energy advisors providing the service will consider the technical situation and the owner’s wishes. At the end of the process, all technical options that could be used will be compared using criteria such as carbon emissions, investment costs, available funding and operational costs. Consumers receive an overview of the heating technologies best suited for their building, and another overview of all technologies that have been assessed.

As the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is supporting this advisory service, consumers only have to pay a share of €30. For further information, go to www.verbraucherzentrale-energieberatung.de (in German only) (or dial 0049 800 809 802 400, free of charge from German landlines).

House owners who want to modernise their entire building to make it more energy-efficient can contact Germany’s energy auditing services for residential buildings for an on-site advisory service and an individual renovation road map, which will help them on their way to their efficiency house.You can receive a grant of up to 80% of the cost for this advisory service from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, up to a maximum of €1,300 for a single or dual-family house and €1,700 for larger residential buildings. If a modernisation measure mentioned in the individual renovation road map is then put into practice, the rate of funding set out in the programme for efficient buildings will then be increased by another 5 percentage points (road map bonus).