Home 9 Decarbonization Study

In the context of climate and energy crisis that has led the EU institutions to revise the European legislative framework in order to reach the Green Deal targets for 2030 and 2050, as well as the REPowerEU goals, the report is an important contribution to better understand how these objectives can be achieved in the hard-to-decarbonise building sector in the most cost-effective and socially acceptable way.

In the study, two decarbonisation pathways for the building sector are explored and compared.

Common to both is that increasing electrification will play a key role in short and long term. Additionally, both pathways focus on energy efficiency measures in the building sector, leading to a zero-emission building stock by 2050 (in line with proposed EPBD prescriptions); they include the installation of efficient heat emitters, a sharp reduction of consumption of natural gas compared to today as well as the phase-in of renewable alternatives.

They differ in that the first pathway (A) assumes a very high level of electrification with heat pumps and little space for other technologies or energy carriers. In the second pathway (B), electrification via heat pumps plays a fundamental role, but also a higher heating system replacement rate and the deployment of other technologies and green energy carriers. Additionally, hybrid heating solutions support the fuel switch – especially in buildings that are not yet ready for heat pumps – and a significant contribution of green gases is considered. Green gases are also used in renewable-ready boilers as well as in thermally driven heat pumps, micro-cogeneration and fuel cells.

The study concludes that pathway B achieves the objectives of Fit-for-55 and REPowerEU in an easier, cheaper, more socially acceptable as well as flexible way, with an aggregated cost benefit of over 520 bn EUR until 2050, compared to pathway A.

As a result, a number of recommendations are included in the report to bring the EU on the optimal pathway towards the objectives of REPowerEU and Fit-for-55, such as: enable the use of a broad system mix of highly efficient, renewable ready and futureproof heating technologies; foster fast replacement (around 6% per year) of inefficient heating systems; stimulate the ramp up of renewable electricity and green gases to reach 2030 and 2050 targets.

Download the full report here: EHI Decarbonization study from Guidehouse – Decarbonization Pathway for the Building Sector