Building insulation: Is hydrogen our get out of jail free card?

  • by Build Up
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  • 2021-05-12 09:59:42
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  • International
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Author: Jan Rosenow 

Source: Energy Monitor

Energy experts that advocate heating homes with hydrogen rather than turning to deep renovation and building insulation as their first port of call will make the energy transition more expensive for everyone, says Jan Rosenow from the Regulatory Assistance Project.

In the board game Monopoly, an important feature is the ‘get out of jail free’ card, which allows players who end up in jail to avoid paying a fine to get out. In recent months, gas industry representatives have suggested that, when it comes to decarbonising buildings, hydrogen is their get out of jail free card. They argue that eliminating emissions from buildings is possible by replacing existing heating fuels with hydrogen or other gases without having to insulate the building fabric first.

However, rather than looking to expensive technologies, Europe should focus efforts on insulating buildings to ensure they are as energy-efficient as possible. Such an approach would save money, energy and leave green hydrogen from renewables to help decarbonise industries for which there are few other solutions.

A transformational change in both the rate and depth of building renovation is needed for Europe to meet its climate targets. The European renovation wave aims to at least double the renovation rate. Analysis by the European Commission suggests the average energy renovation will need to reduce a building’s energy consumption by between 52% and 66% in the residential sector and by more than 40% in the services sector.

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