Publications

- February 1, 2022: Vol. 16, Number 2

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Refurbish or rebuild?: Renovation alone will not get German residential stock to net-zero by 2050

by Steffen Metzner

Refurbish or rebuild? That is the question dominating many net-zero discussions about commercial real estate. This also applies to the climate footprint of residential properties. Is the energy refurbishment of the housing stock sufficient to achieve the required reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions? Or are more new buildings required?

A new study by Empira Group has crunched some numbers to help investors reach their own conclusions.

In Germany at least, it is now abundantly clear that the residential sector is failing to make the energy-efficiency gains that would allow it to reach net-zero carbon by 2050, as required under the Paris Agreement. Since 1990, the commercial real estate sector has reduced energy consumption by 22.6 percent. The equivalent figure for residential is just 2.6 percent, mostly due to the fact that people now occupy more space per capita. Since 1990, average space per person has increased by 34 percent, from 35 square metres in 1990 to 47 sq

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