Germany's path towards nearly zero-energy buildings

Enabling the greenhouse gas mitigation potential in the building stock

Published: 01/11/2011

In 2010 the European Union adopted a Directive stipulating that by the end of 2020 Member States must ensure that all newly-constructed buildings consume ‘nearly zero’ energy. In Germany, drastic reductions of energy demand for space heating have already become a policy target over the last decade, both for new and existing dwellings.

This article evaluates the impact of past and future policies on the development of buildings with a very high energy performance (VHEP) and on their primary energy demand and emissions. These dwellings account for 4% of all dwellings which have been constructed since 2001 and 1% of the total building stock. Different policy scenarios assume a gradual increase of requirements for new and existing buildings and a continuation of the support policies that stimulate both new constructions and ambitious refurbishments. In the most ambitious scenario, the proportion of VHEP dwellings will increase by up to 30% of the total stock in 2020 and the share of nearly zero and zero-energy dwellings will then make up 6%. This will lead to emission reductions of over 50% of the 1990 level and primary energy reductions of 25% compared with today.

The article is available for download at the archive of Utrecht University.

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Sven Schimschar
Urban Energy
Shell construction of passive house Etrium, Cologne  (c) Ecofys