Heating market: Europe's largest energy consumption sector

One-third of the final energy consumption of Europe can be attributed to heating of rooms and domestic hot water heating. Considering the industrial / process heating, the share of the heating market in the final energy consumption in Germany is significantly more than 50%.

Only about half of the final energy consumption can be attributed to mobility and only 21% to electricity. The German energy revolution is primarily regarded as an electricity revolution by politics, but it neglects the by far biggest energy-saving and CO2 reduction potential of all the energy consumption sectors in the heating industry.

Considering the mix of energy in the largest consumption sector of the heating market, that is the building and non-residential building sector, natural gas dominates the market with a share of nearly 50 %, followed by heating oil with about 30 %. The rest can be attributed to district heating, electricity-based systems and renewable energy (solar heat, geothermal and ambient heat, solid biomass).

In the residential and non-residential building sector, 20.5 million heating systems are used for supplying heat and hot water. Chart 5 shows the status of existing systems:

  • Only around 29 % of the 20.5 million heat generators installed in German buildings reflect the "state-of-the-art" technology.
  • Compared to the 8.9 million low temperature or standard gas boilers which are considerably less efficient, there are only 4.2 million condensing boilers.
  •  Out of the 6 million oil boilers installed in Germany, only about 600,000 are energy-efficient condensing boilers.
  • About 600,000 heat pumps use geo-thermal and ambient heat.
  • About 900,000 biomass boilers use wood as renewable energy.
  • Only about 9% of the heat generators installed in Germany additionally use renewable solar thermal energy.

If the outdated system were to be reconditioned and adapted to the state of the art, then around 13 % of the final energy could be saved in Germany. The equally high potential for measures on the outer shell of buildings is not yet taken into account.

BDH also organises the manufacturers of systems for generating industrial heat in the range of 100 kW up to 36 MW. According to a study conducted by dena and the BDH, there are about 300,000 such systems in Germany. Only 50,000 of these systems are using state of the art technology. If they were to be upgraded to save energy and adapted to the state of the art, then an additional 2 % of the final energy could be saved in Germany. This corresponds to a CO2 reduction of 18 million tonnes.

15% of the final energy of Germany corresponds approximately to the energy generation of the 17 nuclear power plants put into service originally.

This potential savings can be roughly compared to the natural gas imports from Russia calculated on the basis of final energy.

Modernisation backlog impedes heating revolution

In spite of favourable payback periods for technical measures, there has been a persistent modernisation backlog since decades. The modernisation rate for heat generators powered by natural-gas is about 3% per year and for those using heating oil 1% per year. This backlog and the low pace of modernisation impedes the much needed heating revolution in Europe and Germany.

Zum Seitenanfang