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Ecological heating – act now

In September 2019, 1.4 million people in over 570 cities took to the streets in Germany in a single day to avert the impending climate crisis. What began a few months earlier with the protest action by the Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, is just one year later a mass movement with astonishingly broad support across all social classes and age groups. (source)

„If we don’t start making drastic changes in the next few years and decades, we risk an environmental catastrophe and the end of our society as we know it.“

Professor Dr. Harald Lesch – Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

As a manufacturer of ecological heating systems, we are 100% behind demands to move away from fossil fuels – particularly (but not only) where this relates to heat generation in private and commercial spaces.

Other European countries are already doing this. Denmark introduced a ban on new oil heating systems in 2016 (source) and in 2018 the Netherlands banned the installation of gas heating system in new builds. (source) Incredibly, the legislation came from the left-wing liberal “D66” party and at least 95% of all homes in the Netherlands are connected to the gas mains. An undoubtedly far-reaching and controversial decision that was the subject of long discussions.

For years we have been demanding policies in Germany that would create a suitable framework for the ecological advancement of the energy transition in the heating sector. However, the grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and SPD has so far done precious little. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy turned down the opportunity in September 2017 to promote electrical heating in homes using infrared heaters by failing to provide sufficient means for its promotion. The reason: “The proportion of renewable sources in electricity production is too low”. An incredible explanation to give, especially considering that politicians don’t seem too concerned that electric vehicles can be charged using electricity from any source the owner sees fit. The development bank KfW and the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control are still blind to the need for promoting electrically heated homes, even if 100% green energy (such as home photovoltaic installations) is to be used. Absolutely unbelievable!

In Germany, the proportion of electricity from renewable sources in the first half of 2019 stood at 47% of net power generation for public use, i.e. the mix of electricity that actually comes from the power outlet in the home. (source) Ten years earlier, this figure was just 18.5%. The continual growth of green energy means that electrical heating is becoming more environmentally relevant each year and will be one of the most important topics for heating in the home. If we are truly serious about moving away from fossil fuels, electrical heating is the best option. Many look at heat pumps as an option. However, the last few years have seen infrared heating systems become an option to be taken seriously. Affordable and almost maintenance-free are two areas where infrared heating does well in a direct comparison with heat pumps and can therefore be recommended as a heating technology with zero carbon emissions. Rented apartments are currently one place where infrared heating is an ecological leader.

In its paper entitled “Cornerstones for the Climate Protection Programme 2030” (source), the government is fundamentally sending out the right signals for moving away from fossil fuels by also applying costs to carbon emissions in residential settings, thus making natural gas and oil more expensive, while at the same time reducing the renewable energy levy.

Unfortunately, these policy “cornerstones” fall far short of expectations. Environmental associations and numerous climate experts consider the measures put forward to be insufficient, particularly the price per tonne of CO2, which has been set far too low. (source)

„This paper is a clear policy failure. We don’t need political compromises; we need reductions.“

Professor Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

The following is an excerpt from the aforementioned paper: “he aim of this new support framework is to provide an incentive to switch from oil and fossil fuel-based heating systems to ones powered by renewable energy sources or, where this is not possible, to switch to an efficient hybrid gas heating system that can make partial use of renewable energy. Therefore, it would be worthwhile over the next several years to switch over to using more environmentally friendly systems, or even move directly to using renewable energy sources for heating. The German government will also present legislation that would ban the installation of oil-based heating systems in buildings from 2026 where an environmentally-friendly heating option can be used.” (source)

This approach seems goods for buildings. However, based on their lacklustre efforts on environmental issues, it is doubtful whether Angela Merkel’s coalition will be able to provide the sufficient legal framework for these aims to be realised in the near future. Chancellor Merkel has so far only seemed interested in announcing long-term goals rather than rapidly developing and implementing concrete measures.

Therefore, we expect that the “Fridays for Future” protests will continue. Not least because people can see that climate change is not just some worst-case scenario in the far future, but something we are experiencing here and now in having to deal with the consequences of heatwaves, drought and storms. (source)

Seven facts about manmade climate change – Terra X background information incl. sources

It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to stabilise global warming at 1.5 degrees in order to avoid things getting worse for us now and future generations. Everyone can do their bit. We can go out on the streets. We can take a critical look at our ecological footprint in our daily lives. We can reconsider how we think about mobility. We can heat our homes without fossil fuels. We can do much more than we think. We just have to start doing.