Industrial buildings hardly feature in the current discourse on the energy transition. Although they account for only 2 percent of the building stock in Germany, they are responsible for around 15 percent of building-related energy consumption and the associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The current Building Energy Act (GEG) treats industrial halls and daycare centers, for example, in the same way. A draft law suggests that the federal government wants to use heat pumps alone there for the energy turnaround. Therefore, Kübler GmbH from Ludwigshafen invited to an expert dialogue to discuss the GEG. The building-political speaker of the FDP, Daniel Föst, announced there to make a system change in the legislation.
Currently, the industry is caught between regulation and feasibility and focus and openness to technology. Thomas Kübler founded the company of the same name 30 years ago and built up its own R&D unit. Five years ago, the company started with an innovation for the energy transition, FUTURA. This exemplary infrared heating system for industrial halls triggered an expert discussion about the challenges of the energy transition. Here is an excerpt from the expert discussion:
"We will have a larger-scale amendment to the Building Energy Act next year. At the moment, I have the impression that we are getting bogged down. I think we need to do more to resolve the system issue. That's why I think it makes sense to change the GEG from energy efficiency to emissions efficiency. We should define how to save CO2 - and not focus on a single technology. Our benchmark should be emissions efficiency," said Daniel Föst MdB, construction and housing policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group.
Franz Untersteller (The Greens), retired Minister of State for the Environment of the state of Baden-Württemberg, responded:
"It's not enough to say we want 65 percent renewable energy when installing new heating systems from 2024. It's important that we avoid CO2. Regardless of the technology. In some of the debates in Germany, I think: crazy. We need more pragmatism, and that doesn't hurt in Berlin either. I would like to see more pragmatism, because it's about saving CO2 - and doing so cost-effectively. Why should Norway only build green hydrogen, but not blue?
I can't see where the problem lies. If Norway goes through with it and we in Germany continue to focus on green, it could be that an energy-intensive company moves out of Germany. We have been discussing the introduction of smart meters for eight years. I have the impression that there are two or three people in public authorities who want to make everything more and more complicated. In the JIT, we urgently need to differentiate. A daycare center is something different than a 40-meter-high hall."
Regional energy transition and openness to technology
Michael Hauer of the Green Party, State Secretary in the Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy and Mobility of Rhineland-Palatinate states:
"Kübler GmbH is a beacon in Rhineland-Palatinate. My wish is that these innovations that emanate from here will also be implemented by us as a whole state. In the development of the FUTURA there is a great opportunity to call up energy when it is needed. We will have to change our behavior and business models. Climate protection targets can no longer be postponed. We need a regional energy turnaround. And we need openness to technology. We are on it every day with Berlin and will push the GEG so that there is differentiation in non-residential buildings."
Prof. Dr. Svenja Carrigan, TU Kaiserslautern, Professor of Building Physics Modeling:
"Europe is turning away from primary energies - toward saving CO2: Which energy system can I use and how? We need to focus not only on the operation of an energy source, but the entire life cycle. We need to become more decentralized and think bigger."
Thomas Niederhofer, managing director of Knauf Interfer Stahl GmbH
"We need new incentives to think. We have so much area as a company that we also put photovoltaics on the ground. It's just that we also have to have the option of crediting electricity and not just blindly firing it into a system. We need more flexibility. In Holland, it's like this: e-cars are charged at night and used as battery stations during the day when they are not needed as cars. We have large halls in almost all states. We first try to avoid energy, so we can reduce CO2. We will save 1.3 kilowatt hours out of 1.7 because we rely on Kübler technology.
We make a return on investment after two and a half years. You don't have to carry the baby to the well. You can just do it. The technology is there. We have calculated heat pumps for us. We need 1000 kilowatts of supply line. That doesn't work with a heat pump. We might as well put in radiant floor heating. Heat pumps on the ceiling weigh 4 to 5 times more than Kübler's technology. The hall can't withstand that. Heat pumps in halls don't work."
„Wir alle sind Energiewende“
Dr. Robert Seguin, Energie- und Netzspezialist in Oslo/Norwegen:
„In Norwegen ist dank der Wasserkraft 100 Prozent der Energie erneuerbar. Die Wetterabhängigkeit des Energiesystem werden den Bedarf nach Flexibilität erhöhen. Ohne Flexibilität im System wird die Umstellung des Energiesystems teuer. Es braucht eine Flexibilität für die Bedarfsdeckung, für das Netz und die Systemstabilität.“
Thomas Kübler, der geschäftsführende Gesellschafter der Kübler GmbH hält fest:
„Wir alle sind Energiewende. Jeder kann seinen Beitrag leisten. Wir müssen und sollten auf niemanden warten. Lediglich dürfen wir erwarten, dass die politischen Entscheider auf die Expertise aus Wirtschaft und Wissenschaft zugreifen und in ihre Entscheidungsfindungen einfließen lassen. Unternehmen, die ihren grünen Fußabdruck senken, müssen gefördert werden. Jeder Euro, der dort investiert wird, kommt mehrfach über die Steuer zurück. Liebe Politiker, seien Sie nicht so knauserig.
Es gibt keine ideologiegebundene Lösung. Macht das Gebäudeenergie-Gesetz technologieoffen! Wir laufen einen Irrweg. Wir dürfen nicht die Schmerzen bekämpfen, wir müssen an die Ursachen ran. Eine Energie, die nicht benötigt wird, ist eine gute Energie. Flexible Tarife und Volatilität sind grundnotwendig, damit die Energiewende gelingen kann. Wir können Energiewende, wir sind bereit für die Energiewende – wenn wir dürfen. Mit mehr Flexibilität und einer Offenheit für die Technologie.“