A great deal of energy could be saved in the real estate sector if property owners were to refurbish their properties. Unfortunately, too few are aware of how much they could save and what subsidies are available.
Buildings accounts for about 40 percent of German energy consumption and 30 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted. In order to achieve its climate goals, the Federal Government has set ambitious targets for the real estate sector. The aim is to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by 20 per cent by 2020 and to render the property sector almost climate-neutral by 2050.
However, Germany’s existing building stock is a long way from achieving these objectives and progress in energy-saving modernization is stagnating. Today’s low energy prices simply offer too little incentive. Moreover, many landlords are deterred from investing in refurbishment by the profusion of subsidies available. Across the country there are currently a total of over 3,000 different government schemes offering financial assistance for energy conscious refurbishment of buildings.
If the government’s new energy policy is to succeed, the system requires urgent simplification. Subsidies for energy-efficient renovation should be supplemented by tax incentives and fully geared to the reduction of greenhouse gases - regardless of the technologies used.