Frankfurt (dpa-AFX) – On average, people in Germany live in more and more spaces – but this and many unrenovated buildings have a negative impact on the carbon footprint of real estate. Despite significant efforts, direct carbon dioxide emissions from building stock have held steady at around 120 million tons per year since 2014, according to a study by DZ Bank published Tuesday.
One of the reasons is that the living space is increasingly increasing on average, which negatively affects energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Whereas per capita living space was about 36 square meters in 1995, according to the Federal Statistical Office, it was 47 square meters at the end of 2020 – despite the real estate boom and rising housing costs. The Frankfurt-based authors write that a trend reversal is not in sight. “The increasing number of one-person households and the desire for spacious apartments – also with a view of the home office – is likely to drive growth in the space even further.”
But the large number of archaic properties also hurts the carbon footprint. Most of Germany’s 20 million apartment buildings housing nearly 43 million apartments have been built for years and require a lot of energy, mostly from oil and gas. Half of the homes are heated by gas, and about a fourth use heating oil. The heat pumps common in new homes have not played a role in the existing building yet. She added that Germany was not a role model when it came to “living from a climate perspective”.
Low interest rates, promotional loans and subsidies, eg for insulation, help improve the energy balance of real estate. But since there are many buildings in need of renovation and the capabilities of builders and crafts companies are limited, this can take decades rather than years. The speed with which emissions are being reduced is by no means sufficient to meet the environmental requirements of the federal government, which wants to make the building stock climate neutral in the long term.
Thus, the renewal rate should be increased without burdening tenants and owners, concludes DZ Bank. Because significantly increased rents for existing apartments are likely even with relatively high support measures. In order to manage the balance between climate protection and affordable housing, it is necessary to improve the efficiency and coordination of measures. / Than / DP / eas