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.
On the bump of green round which the brae twists, at the top of the brae, and within cry of T'nowhead Farm, still stands a one-storey house, whose whitewashed walls, streaked with the discoloration that rain leaves, look yellow when the snow comes. In the old days the stiff ascent left Thrums behind, and where is now the making of a suburb was only a poor row of dwellings and a manse, with Hendry's cot to watch the brae. The house stood bare, without a shrub, in a garden whose paling did not go all the way round, the potato pit being only kept out of the road, that here sets off southward, by a broken dyke of stones and earth. On each side of the slate-coloured door was a window of knotted glass. Ropes were flung over the thatch to keep the roof on in wind.
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