“In 2021, for example, we saw more than €10 billion in the system to finance energy efficient renovation and in energy efficient new build. This momentum must be kept on track for 2045.”
When it comes to climate neutral renovation, Knauf Insulation has always put energy efficiency principles first. This means, that the building envelope — walls, floors and ceilings — are as energy efficient as possible to maximise the performance of any green heating systems.
“There is huge demand for building envelope improvements in Germany but an imbalance in terms of subsidies. For heat pumps for example, funding of up to 45% is available, while for insulation it is only 20%. We need to see funding for insulation to get to 40% at least.”
‘Unique opportunity to encourage low-carbon products’
As for new build, strict regulation ensures the energy efficiency of buildings. Now the emphasis is on embodied carbon — that is the carbon generated at every stage of a building product’s lifecycle from the sourcing of materials to ultimate disposal or recycling.
“The construction industry has moved a long way from the environmentally unfriendly days of only solid construction. Today there is a wide range of low-embodied carbon systems that can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of buildings,” says Christopher. “The new government has a unique opportunity to encourage the use of these low-carbon products as an important foundation for 2045.”
The building industry also needs to be increasingly driven by the circular economy. Construction is responsible for more than 35% of total waste in Europe and devours more than 50% of extracted materials.
‘The moral cost of landfill is unacceptable’
“At Knauf and Knauf Insulation we are working to close the circle in Germany. The steel and gypsum in our lightweight wall systems can be easily recycled time and time again and we have introduced a RESULATION scheme to take back scrap Rock Mineral Wool from construction sites and feed it back into our manufacturing process and allow Glass Mineral Wool scrap to be transformed into ceiling tiles,” says Christopher.
“The financial cost of landfill is rising and the moral cost has always been unacceptable. Now the new government needs to strengthen the circular economy and encourage the use of resource efficient materials that can be recycled easily. Moreover, the government also needs to establish legal certainty for the use of recycled materials.”
“In the days following the elections there will be a great deal of policy discussion as the different parties work to form the new governing coalition. At Knauf Insulation and Knauf we hope that by focusing the issues that really matter — more housing, a climate neutral building stock and resource efficiency — we build a housing legacy worthy of future generations.”
Picture in the header: sustainable residential model building in DomagkPark, Munich