Two New Studies on Costs, Benefits and Results of Energy-Efficient Renovations

Two new studies by the state-owned development bank KfW and by the German Energy Agency (dena) provided new information on the costs, benefits and results of energy efficient renovations. They show that while the envisaged energy savings are almost always met (dena study), investment costs are high and are not always offset by the energy savings (KfW study). Especially the KfW study received a lot of media coverage over the Easter holidays.

The dena study examined the energy consumption of 63 renovated highly efficient residential buildings to find out whether the envisaged energy savings of approximately 80% could be reached. The study found that the energy consumption decreased from 223 kWh to 54 kWh per square meter annually, resulting in energy savings of 76%. The occasional outliers shall be further examined, dena said.

Dena did not compare the average costs for the energy-efficient renovation with the energy savings, the magazine Wirtschaftswoche pointed out.

Information relating to the benefits of energy-efficient renovations are provided by a study carried out by the economic research and consulting company Prognos AG on behalf of KfW. According to Prognos, investments of approximately EUR 838 billion in energy-efficient renovations of residential buildings had to be supported by the KfW programmes until 2050 in order to reach Germany’s energy-efficiency goal. The implementation of the energy savings measures would help to preserve 200,000 to 300,000 jobs, in particular in medium-sized building and crafts businesses, leading to an overall increase of the German GDP by an average of 0.4% per year. However, the information that was widely reported from the study was that the investments of EUR 838 billion would (only) result in energy savings of about EUR 370 billion. Prognos itself remarked that “from today’s perspective the investments cannot be offset by the energy savings alone.” The institute added that the increased value of the buildings and increased comfort of the residents were not the subject of the study.

Wirtschaftswoche quoted the managing director of the Association of German Architects (BDA), Thomas Welter, as saying energy-efficient renovations that paid off were possible. Mr Welter pointed out that presently KfW was supporting individual renovation measures. That way each trade would offer its most efficient (and most expensive) solution regardless of whether this was the best and most efficient thing from an overall point of view. A suitable legal framework and incentives relating thereto should therefore be geared to an integral concept for energy-efficient renovations, he said.

Source: dena; KfW; WiWo

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