Emissions from the building sector in Germany fell by 45% between 1990 and 2021 – slightly above the trend for the overall emissions which decreased by 39% in the same period. In 2020, over 58% of energy consumed in the households came from oil and gas, whereas the share of renewable energy-based heating amounted only to 14%. Electricity satisfied 19% of the energy consumed in the households.
The 1.5°C compatible emissions pathways assume a significant decrease in emissions in the 2030s and the 2040s, driven by a high electrification rate. By 2030 almost half of the energy consumed in households is set to take the form of electricity, the share of which reaches almost 80% in 2050. Some scenarios also result in hydrogen playing a role especially in the decarbonisation of heating. Most scenarios assume a decrease in energy consumption, in some cases by more than half. The sector becomes fully decarbonised in the 2040s.
While new buildings are on average around 20% more efficient than those built at the beginning of the century, the main challenge are older buildings, which require deep renovation. To reach zero emissions, the rate of renovation needs to be significantly increased. This requires more ambitious policies and funding. To avoid carbon lock-in, all new and renovated buildings should be banned from installing new fossil fuel heating systems and obliged to generate a large portion of their energy from renewable sources and heat pumps. Development of district heating powered by renewable energy constitutes another viable option for the decarbonisation of the building sector.