News publ. 06. Apr 2023
How can the building sector become carbon neutral by 2045? A new report from the BMWK answers this question. The report by adelphi and others concludes that time is of the essence. Restricting ourselves to individual measures is no longer an option. In addition, social acceptability must be a key component of the federal government’s building strategy.
Germany has to become climate-neutral by 2045 at the latest. To achieve this ambitious goal, all sectors must set a course in the same direction. The building sector is also facing a major transformation. Prognos, ifeu, Becker Büttner Held, dena, EY, FIW Munich, iTG, the Öko-Institut, and adelphi have prepared an expert opinion on the Climate Neutrality Building Strategy 2045 on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection.
The report shows how the heating transition can still succeed. As part of the study, adelphi developed a heat infrastructure planning instrument along with measures to improve the social acceptability of a transformation in the building sector.
However, climate neutrality in the building sector by 2045 is still possible – although it requires extremely ambitious, sometimes disruptive and well-coordinated efforts across all fields of action (provision of greenhouse gas-neutral energy sources, integration of renewable energies, structural thermal insulation). In principle, everything will have to happen at the same time: the rollout of heat pumps, the expansion of district heating networks, building renovations and more. And, without a drastic expansion of climate-neutral energy sources, especially electricity and district heating, the heat transition is doomed to fail from the outset.
One element that connects the instruments presented in the study is heating infrastructure planning. This should be mandatory for municipalities, as it allows them to develop renewable heat sources in spatial coordination and create the associated infrastructure and heat sinks – all consistently geared towards the goal of climate neutrality by 2045. Planning like this serves sustainable urban and spatial development as well as the creation of communal public services. In the study, adelphi highlighted the necessary framework conditions for the implementation of heating infrastructure planning.
The political instruments that are intended to enable the Climate Neutrality Building Strategy have an impact on the housing situation of those affected, the costs of housing and, as a result, the affordability of housing, as well. The social compatibility and acceptability of these instruments will require relief mechanisms, especially for low-income households. adelphi examined these mechanisms as part of the report. They include:
- Climate change allowance
- Extension of existing funding programs to include social components
- Increase in funds for social housing
- Tax incentives and investment allowances for non-profit housing association models
- Reform of the distribution of energy costs by introducing rent with partial heating included or a third model.
Financing the decarbonisation of the building sector in a socially responsible manner also requires innovation. A number of financing options appear promising but are not yet widespread in Germany, including on-bill models, the property assessed clean energy model and green leases. adelphi has reviewed and evaluated these models and their use in Germany on the basis of previous adelphi projects such as “RenOnBill“.