Efficient House Pilot Project

The “Efficient House" pilot project by dena has focused on the energy-saving refurbishment of residential buildings since 2003, and of municipal buildings since 2007, with a special focus on schools, to create high standards of energy efficiency.



Making full use of potential savings

The challenge was as follows:

In Germany, around 29 percent of final energy is used for heating, hot water and cooling in buildings. An upturn in refurbishments would significantly reduce energy consumption. After all, state-of-the-art technology is not installed in two thirds of the buildings constructed before the first Ordinance on Thermal Insulation (WSchV) in 1977. Moreover, private households expend 70 percent of their energy requirements on heating. This shows: there is significant potential for energy-saving refurbishment, but it is not being exploited consistently.

This is what we have done:

in order to demonstrate what can be achieved with cutting-edge energy-saving refurbishment based on actual examples, dena launched the Efficient Houses Pilot Project in 2003. The highly-efficient refurbishment of over 400 buildings was initiated across several phases in close cooperation with a network of regional energy agencies, excellence centres and experts, leading to energy savings of up to 80 percent. dena defined the framework conditions, which were stricter than the statutory requirements, and conducted quality assurance. The experience acquired from the building projects was passed on to planners and consultants. The projects serve as outstanding examples for public relations, and were scientifically evaluated.

The benefits:

The pilot project is already a success, as it has led to the introduction of roughly 400 best-practice examples. They can be used to define ambitious energy standards for new buildings and refurbishment. For instance, the Efficient House standards tested in the pilot project were fully integrated in KfW Bank’s funding programme “Energy-efficient refurbishment”. Households are required to satisfy certain energy efficiency standards in order to receive funds from this programme. The convincing examples and financial incentives are therefore helping to invigorate the refurbishments market – both in quantity and in quality. Anyone keen to see for themselves what the houses look like will find over 1,000 energy-efficient examples in the dena building Examples.


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