Municipal energy efficiency

Energy efficiency and climate protection on a municipal is hugely important, as they allow cities and local communities to act as important role models to civic society and companies in the region. Moreover, municipal climate protection can significantly reduce energy costs if it

succeeds in improving energy efficiency in public buildings and properties. This is why councillors and mayors need to invest: in efficient properties, green IT, modern street lighting and other energy-efficient products and services.

Statistics & facts

186000
public buildings
exist in Germany
11116
local communities
exist in Germany
By 40 %
is the share
of municipal electricity costs accounted for by street lighting.
4.1
billion euros is the annual expenditure
of German municipalities on energy. Municipal buildings account for the lion’s share of these costs.
Public sector

Energy-efficient buildings, systems and products help to save

Cities and local communities in Germany have significant potential to increase their energy efficiency. They can contribute to the success of the energy transition by investing in efficient properties, green IT, modern street lighting and other energy-efficient products and services.

The public sector accounts for final energy consumption of almost 60 billion kilowatt hours per year. In 2014, public institutions were responsible for roughly one tenth of net electricity consumption in Germany, which in turn incurred electricity costs of over two billion euros. The heating and air conditioning costs for public buildings is also a significant factor in municipal energy consumption. Germany’s municipalities even spend approximately €3.4 bn simply to provide their properties with electricity and heating.

Energy-efficient refurbishment of public buildings and properties, for instance administrative buildings, schools and swimming pools, offers the greatest savings potential. Suitable measures could generate substantial savings, hence ensuring that investments in the improvement of energy efficiency would be profitable undertakings. On average, highly energy-efficient refurbishment measures can lead to an 80 percent reduction in energy consumption. Modern heating pumps use up to 80 percent less electricity. Moreover, modern lighting systems can reduce the electricity costs even by 75 percent compared with previous systems. Greater energy efficiency therefore helps to ease the burden on the public coffers in the long term.

Municipalities have market power and role model status

The market power of the public sector is another important consideration. Public procurements carry significant weight in this respect. They account for annual expenditure of approximately €50 bn. Of this amount, 60 percent is awarded in contracts to municipalities und municipal companies. It follows, therefore, that the public sector can significantly increase the demand for energy-efficient products and services. Its decisions on where to invest and how to expend its purchase power can promote energy-efficient technologies and strengthen their market position. What’s more, the public sector must act as a role model to society.

Substantial reductions in costs and emissions

Municipalities spend over two billion euros each year simply on energy use in their buildings. Therefore, purposeful analyses and measures can be used – by the municipalities themselves or in a contracting model – to generate huge savings in costs and emissions.

To make use of this potential, cities and local communities are advised to introduce an energy and climate protection management system. The purpose of this measure is to systematically record the energy consumption and carbon emissions of all equipment from the heating system to the information technology, and then to reduce these factors consistently in a downstream phase. Measures not requiring significant capital expenditure can also contribute – for instance needs-based control of heating systems, regular maintenance of ventilation systems, or the tracking, analysis and reduction of  energy and water consumption in public properties.

Refurbishment Roadmaps for Large Building Portfolios

So-called Refurbishment Roadmaps offer a good opportunity to analyse entire building portfolios. The refurbishment requirements of each building are identified based on defined criteria such as energy savings and investment costs. The refurbishment roadmaps indicate in detail which buildings prioritised for modernisation for reasons of cost effectiveness, and which ones already fulfil a comparatively high standard. This gives owners and managers a clear overview of how and in which period they can purposefully refurbish their portfolio, how much it will cost, and how much they can save.

Street lighting also has clear potential

Significant energy savings are possible, provided the issue of energy efficiency is also considered during procurement. Upgrading a technically obsolete street lighting system to provide modern, energy-efficient lighting can reduce electricity costs for street lighting along public roads and spaces by around 350 million euros per year. Moreover, green IT allows users to save up to 75 percent in electricity costs on information and communication technology.

dena helps municipalities save energy and is a central contact point for all questions regarding local energy efficiency and the energy transition. In a variety of projects, dena develops and communicates tools and measures that municipalities can use to improve their energy balance substantially.

Services for contracting and municipalities

Anyone looking to use external service providers to improve the energy efficiency of their building will find competent advice at the Centre of Expertise for Contracting for Buildings . In addition, dena's energy and climate protection management for municipalities helps public administrations to develop their focuses and strategies to increase energy efficiency in buildings.