What Role do Tenants Play in the Energy Transition in Berlin?

ElectricityNeighbours at the Berlin ENERGIETAGE

Berlin, Germany
Katharina Umpfenbach

On 30 April 2021 at the online Berliner ENERGIETAGE, the research network Ecornet Berlin presented how tenants can benefit from the energy transition. Members of the research network provided three expert inputs on:

which were followed by a panel discussion with two civil society actors:

  • Rainer Wild, Mieterverein Berlin e.V.
  • Dr. Julian Zuber, GermanZero

Subsidised energy efficiency measures can have a positive financial effect for tenants

Ambitious standards for energy-efficient refurbishment offer financial advantages for tenants if building owners take advantage of available subsiedies. In particular, low-income households, which are often vulnerable to energy poverty, benefit when energy costs fall and rents remain stable. In Berlin, a classic tenant city, however, the abolition of the rent cap means that more costs can now be passed on to tenants, making it less advantageous for many landlords to take advantage of subsidies. In order to ensure that the energy transition does not become a burden for tenants with low incomes and households receiving transfer payments, the federal government should further limit the levies for energy-efficient renovations, concluded a panel of practitioners and representatives of the research association.

Tenant electricity enables active participation in the energy transition

In this context, discussions during the event found that there are still too few opportunities for tenants to actively participate in the energy transition. The researchers showed that tenant electricity, i.e. electricity from photovoltaic systems on apartment buildings that is delivered directly to the residents, can be a remedy. Tenants rate it positively – both ecologically and economically. Especially for households with a low net income, the favorable price is the most important reason to opt for tenant electricity. However, in order for more tenants to benefit from this offer, the framework conditions must be comprehensively improved: The funding framework must be scalable so that systems are economically viable on all technically suitable roofs – even on smaller apartment buildings. In addition, the requirements should be simplified and thus transaction costs reduced without giving up the participation of the tenants.

The event "The role of tenants in the energy transition in Berlin" was organised by the Institute for Ecological Economy Research, the Ecologic Institute and the Öko-Institut within the research network Ecornet Berlin with funding from the Governing Mayor, Senate Chancellery – Science and Research Berlin.

Tenants can benefit from the energy transition – if the framework conditions are right

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Katharina Umpfenbach
Berlin, Germany
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