Statement UN Katowice Climate Change Conference, December 2018

Berlin, 03. December 2018: Buildings account for 40% of the EU primary energy demand and 36% of CO2 emissions, which is more than the transport or industrial sector.

According to this, the energetic renovation of the EU building stock is essential to achieve the climate protection goals of the EU and its member states. By applying the best available energy saving technologies for the building envelope and building technologies, energy consumption and CO2 emissions will be significantly reduced and a healthy surrounding for those working and living in buildings could be provided.

Nowadays, new buildings have a highly sophisticated energy performance level. However, the vast majority of existing buildings were constructed prior to any formal energy performance requirements and urgently have to be renovated to reach the overall target of net-zero emissions by 2050. The current renovation rate of the building stock in Germany, for example, is only about 1% per year, which is far too low to achieve the climate protection goals. We will quickly have to raise the renovation rate of the building stock in the EU up to 3% per year to reach a greenhouse-gas-emission-free building stock by 2050.

An energy-efficient building envelope enables the application of modern renewable heating technologies and helps to reduce CO2 emissions, achieving a double effect: Less heating energy will be needed and the energy source itself will be CO2-free. These two measures – an efficient building envelope and renewable heating technologies – are interconnected. Without reducing the energy demand of the building stock in the first place, there will never be enough renewable energy capacities available to replace fossil fuels.

Besides, energy efficient renovations that at the same time are leading to improved indoor climate have a positive effect on health, productivity and learning abilities of the people living and working in these buildings.

This potential regarding the building stock has to be unlocked and the German government should be committed to develop respective roadmaps, guidelines and measurable, targeted actions.These multiple benefits lead to vast benefits such as local job creation and improved productivity and should play a key role in an energy efficiency strategy.

Germany needs to develop a national renovation roadmap with coherent funding strategies to support the energy-efficient renovation of the building stock considering also health and wellbeing of the occupants. In addition to that, the building material lifecycle has to be examined so that both manufacturing and utilization lead to CO2 reduction.