© 2013

A Critical Appraisal of Germany's Thermal Retrofit Policy

Turning Down the Heat


Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Ray Galvin, Minna Sunikka-Blank
    Pages 1-9
  3. Ray Galvin, Minna Sunikka-Blank
    Pages 11-27
  4. Ray Galvin, Minna Sunikka-Blank
    Pages 29-46
  5. Ray Galvin, Minna Sunikka-Blank
    Pages 85-102
  6. Ray Galvin, Minna Sunikka-Blank
    Pages 103-116
  7. Ray Galvin, Minna Sunikka-Blank
    Pages 117-133
  8. Ray Galvin, Minna Sunikka-Blank
    Pages 135-148

About this book


Germany is seen as a leader in thermal retrofit policy and practice, but how effective is its approach? A Critical Appraisal of Germany's Thermal Retrofit Policy examines this policy in context and assesses its effectiveness. It finds that technical constraints and the costs of retrofitting reduce the rate of progress, while planning underestimates the influence of user behavior in the form of rebound and prebound effects. A key finding is that savings can be maximized within a policy that understands the actual behavior and motivation of households, the area where most energy savings are already taking place.

The book suggests a new policy paradigm that would encourage a better balance of partial and comprehensive retrofits, utilizing household behavior changes based on a better understanding of fuel saving motivation and fuel price elasticity. In this approach, the thermal building regulations would be made more flexible so that policymakers would:

-          Promote partial, transitional and cost-optimal retrofits, which are more certain to pay back through fuel savings if they are appropriate to building typology and homeowner budgets.

-          Promote comprehensive retrofits for reasons other than economic gain, focusing instead on the comfort and environmental benefits of energy-efficient homes.

-          Invest more heavily in educating households to heat economically, learning from the prebound effect so as to maximize the utility of the homes they currently occupy, and base payback time calculations on actual consumption.

The results and findings of this book would be of interest to policymakers, researchers and graduate students alike.


Germany’s Retrofit Policy Heating Fuel Consumption Home Fuel Savings Thermal Retrofit Policy User Behavior in Pre/Rebound Effects

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of ArchitectureUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Dr Ray Galvin has an interdisciplinary background in engineering, social psychology, climate change science, and environmental policy studies. He seeks to bring together theoretical approaches from the physical and social sciences, in order to develop trans-disciplinary frameworks for environmental science research. Over the past four years, at East Anglia, Cambridge and now RWTH-Aachen University, his research focus has been on thermal retrofits in Germany. He is especially interested in how government policy, the physical properties of buildings, and household behavior interplay to inhibit or enable fuel savings. He also has 30 years practical experience managing a portfolio of rental housing.

Dr Minna Sunikka-Blank is a Lecturer at the Department of Architecture at Cambridge University and a Fellow and Director of Studies in Architecture in Churchill College. She specializes in comparative policy analysis, and over the past 15 years she has published several books and scientific papers on the subject. Her research focuses on how national governments can improve their sustainable building policies so as to increase feasible, cost-efficient and genuine carbon reductions in the housing stock, supported by behavioral change. She is a registered architect and has worked on environmental impact assessment and practical building projects in Finland, the Netherlands and the UK.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title A Critical Appraisal of Germany's Thermal Retrofit Policy
  • Book Subtitle Turning Down the Heat
  • Authors Ray Galvin
    Minna Sunikka-Blank
  • Series Title Green Energy and Technology
  • Series Abbreviated Title Green Energy,Technology
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag London 2013
  • Publisher Name Springer, London
  • eBook Packages Energy Energy (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-4471-5366-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-4471-7018-1
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4471-5367-2
  • Series ISSN 1865-3529
  • Series E-ISSN 1865-3537
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 148
  • Number of Illustrations 16 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Energy Efficiency
    Building Physics, HVAC
    Environmental Economics
    Civil Engineering
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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