Heat and

Zero-carbon heating for the buildings sector

Accounting for c. 55 per cent of the current final energy consumption, the heating sector produces a considerable share of the greenhouse gas emissions in Germany and therefore plays a decisive role in terms of successfully implementing the energy transition. Renewable energy currently covers around 15 per cent of heating needs.

Developing climate-friendly heating is therefore especially important. NRW.Energy4Climate plans to develop the conditions for ensuring technical and economic feasibility and mainstream implementation of climate-neutral energy for heating and air-conditioning in NRW. To this end, the state agency is mobilising, supporting and accompanying market players in order to overcome a range of obstacles.

In order to lay the foundations for implementing practical solutions, the focus is on the following issues:

  • How much energy is required to provide climate-neutral heating?
  • Which zero carbon heat sources need to be exploited?
  • What heat sources and infrastructures are needed to provide enough zero carbon energy for the buildings sector?
  • How can the climate-neutral buildings and neighbourhoods of the future be realised in North Rhine-Westphalia?
  • Is it possible to successfully integrate renewable energy sources and other zero carbon sources in the buildings sector?

The energy transition for heating in the buildings sector

With a share of 61 per cent, substantially more than half of the expenditure for heating is used to supply heating and hot water in buildings. The heating sector offers by far the greatest potential for changing over to climate-neutral energy sources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Current climate protection studies show clearly that it is imperative to speed up the increase in energy efficiency in the buildings sector. It is only by lowering the demand for energy in buildings and simultaneously expanding the use of climate-neutral energy that the demand for energy can be reduced and a pathway opened up towards achieving the climate-neutral building stock envisaged for 2045. Successful transition in the heating sector must also be tailored to local circumstances and based on three cornerstones: constructing efficient buildings and heating infrastructures, potentially being able to exploit climate-neutral energy at the local level, and decarbonising and developing an appropriate heating network.

Heating systems based on renewable energy and heating networks play an important role in the future heating supply of North Rhine-Westphalia. In this context, NRW will benefit greatly from the district heating supply in its urban areas. The infrastructure needs further innovative impetus, however, to enable it to incorporate renewable and industrial heat sources.

Great potential for renewable heating in NRW

Through its potentiality studies, LANUV has demonstrated the significant technical potential of underground renewable energy sources: for instance, near-surface geothermal energy has an annual heating potential of 154 terawatt-hours (TWh). The total heating demand of all residential buildings in North Rhine-Westphalia amounts to approximately 134 TWh per year. Further potential is available from the use of warm water from mines, industrial waste heat, solar thermal energy and biomass.


Technology for climate protection

Technical innovations – not least the tools of digitalisation – increase the range of potential technical and economic applications and new business models. In this context, the further development, market launch and distribution of technologies for climate protection is actively supported, for instance through their application in local neighbourhoods:

KlimaQuartier.NRW – the energy transition “in a nutshell”

Carbon-neutral neighbourhoods are key to the low-emission, habitable cities of the future. The neighbourhood offers opportunities for integrated and technical-economic solutions in new and existing buildings. NRW.Energy4Climate intends to drive forward the implementation of neighbourhood solutions in North Rhine-Westphalia: The KlimaQuartier.NRW is characterised by energy-efficient buildings with an innovative energy supply, which combines local climate-friendly energy sources and the smart solutions linking the heating/air-conditioning, electricity and transport sectors. These successful urban energy solutions create added value for all concerned in terms of planning, funding, construction, operation and use.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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