Multiple Benefits as a Driver of Energy-Efficient Building Renovation

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The project “Multiple benefits as a driver of energy-efficient building renovation” aims to bring more clarity to the societal debate on the multiple benefits of energy-efficient renovation. Specifically, the Trialog- and workshop-series brings together the perspectives and connections of stakeholders from the public sector, the business sector, organized civil society and the academia on additional benefits of energy-related refurbishment. Aim of the project ist to jointly develop ideas for methods of quantifying these added benefits.

The project is being carried out by the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform (HVGP) and the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) and funded by the German Federal Foundation for the Environment (DBU).

Visualization of the Results: Discussion Atlas

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The discussion results from all four events of the project were compiled in an interactive discussion atlas.

This interactive discussion atlas incorporates the findings of the entire project. This includes answers to the questions of which multiple benefits energy-efficient building refurbishment offers, which additional benefits stakeholders consider particularly important, and how additional benefits can be measured. Finally, we explain which recommendations for action can be derived from this.

With this new format, we would like to make an appealing, entertaining and informative contribution to the debate on the additional benefits of energy-efficient building refurbishment. We hope you enjoy clicking through the discussion atlas.

Background – Energy-Related Refurbishment Necessary for Climate Protection

The building sector has a particularly high relevance for climate protection: inefficient heating systems and poor building envelopes make the building sector a central source of greenhouse gas emissions. In Germany, buildings account for 35% of final energy consumption and produce just under one third of all greenhouse gas emissions [1].

According to the energy concept of the Federal Government, an almost climate-neutral building stock in Germany is envisaged for 2050. The bulk of the building stock in 2050 is already built today. This means that energy savings must be achieved primarily through renovation. However, with the current refurbishment rate of 1% per year, it would take decades to bring today’s stock to the targeted low consumption level.

The Societal Benefits of Energetic Renovation are Manifold

The energetic refurbishment of buildings reduces energy costs and increases energy security, creates jobs, increases the comfort and health protection of its users and brings environmental benefits in terms of improved air quality and lower emissions.

In order for refurbishment measures to actually be initiated and implemented, the refurbishment must in each specific case provide a benefit for the building owner or the investor. This benefit has often been reduced to the factor of energy costs being saved. However, the saved energy costs alone rarely provide sufficient incentives for the necessary, often demanding, energy-saving renovation measures. So far, these multiple benefits are hardly considered and communicated in the cost-benefit analysis because they are not uniformly quantifiable and cannot be monetized by the investor. There is a lack of business instruments and methods in this regard, although there are numerous studies on the effects of building renovation on the economy, employment, public health or tax revenue.

We see an opportunity to better highlight, quantify and communicate the additional benefits of energy-efficient renovation to the relevant stakeholders.

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About the Project: Developing Methods for the Quantification of Multiple Benefits

The multi-stakeholder approach of the project brings together the diverse perspectives on the challenges and additional benefits of refurbishment – from the overall societal benefits on the global climate to the health of the individual and positive employment effects in the local labor market. For this purpose, representatives of various sectors of the economy, such as finance and construction industry, from scientific institutions, various civil society organizations as well as from politics and administration discuss these topics within the Trialogs and workshops, aiming to exchange approaches for quantification and evaluation of these multiple benefits. Aim is to make little-known conflicts visible and develop solution perspectives. By succeeding in creating a unified, target group-specific approach to the economization of the multiple benefits, investors and owners will be provided with a tool that can fully identify and communicate the added value of energy renovation and credibly communicate to building owners and tenants that they are fully covered by the refurbishment benefits.

[1] Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (2015). Energieeffizienzstrategie Gebäude. Wege zu einem klimaneutralen Gebäudebestand. Abrufbar unter:

Anne Höh (on maternity leave)
Lead: Anne Höh (on maternity leave)


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