OIES Podcast – The challenges and the practicalities in the decarbonization of heat in the European buildings sector

In this podcast, David Ledesma discusses with Alix Chambris, Christoph Riechmann and Aksana Krasatsenka some of the challenges and the practicalities in the decarbonization of heat in the European buildings sector.

Alix Chambris argues that the current crisis may have presented Europe with a unique opportunity. Overnight, the replacement of gas for space heating became a top priority for energy security, next to climate goals. Changing consumer preferences, the investment readiness of the private sector, and the new policy framework could constitute a critical mass for exponential change and unleash a green swan (unpredicted event that positively transforms the economy) for buildings. Christoph Riechmann then focuses on one of the key features of the buildings sector, which is that heating demand is highly seasonal and argues that because of the presence of externalities and the maturity of some of the technologies, policymakers will need to support low-carbon heating options, will benefit from adopting a portfolio of heating technologies, should be as technology-neutral as possible, and should just ensure coordination where needed. Finally, Aksana Krasatsenka focuses on District heating systems arguing that they help save natural and financial resources by enabling the integration of heat from sources that are otherwise lost, such as waste heat and deep geothermal heat. The use of these heat sources can also help to keep energy prices low. Heating and cooling are the next frontier for renewable and sustainable energies growth, and Europe is in a pole position to lead this global race. Locally owned district heating and cooling networks providing sustainable heat are a perfect illustration of this.

The decarbonization of buildings will need to have a central role in the European transition to a zero-carbon future, but the task is enormous and lacks implementation speed. Read more in our latest edition of the Oxford Energy Forum: Issue 135Decarbonizing heat in the European buildings sector: options, progress and challenges


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