The European Institute for Climate and Energy takes a look at how Germany’s experimental taxpayer-paid “energy-efficient home” is doing. The home is a project by the German Federal Ministry for Transportation, Construction and Urban Development (BMVBS). As you can see, it leaves little to be desired aesthetically.
The ugly-duckling energy self-sustainable home that isn’t. Erected in Berlin. Price tag: € 2.2 million
The home was opened by Chancellor Angela Merkel late last year amid much media pomp and ceremony and is intended to serve as a model for clean, environmentally responsible living. Strangely, Merkel has recently cut back solar subsidies specifically designed to achieve the aims of the house.
The energy efficiency home – the latest act of foolery
by Michael Clemens for EIKE
In the story of the fools of Schilda, the citizen fools built a city hall but forgot the windows. So they put sunlight inside bags and carried it inside. Now a new episode of the fools of Schilda has been written in Berlin. Today’s fools are in a state of panic over the world’s energy reserves and dangerous atomic radiation. And so they’ve built a house that produces more energy than it can use and is supposed to fulfill the dream of “100% supplied by renewable energy”.
When it comes to transforming its energy supply, no cost is too high for the German government. As a flagship project, the shimmering blue “Efficiency Plus with Electromobility” was ceremoniously opened on 7 December 2011 by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a Federal Minsiter, and has been recently occupied by a test family.
Federal Minister Peter Ramsauer said, “We want to show people that a completely renewable energy supply is already possible today and is an every-day thing. Our motto: ‘My home is my petrol station.’ The house should not and will not stay a prototype: What we are presenting here is the home of the future.“
In a brochure issued by the Federal Ministry for Transportation, Construction and Urban Development (BMVBS), we find the following technical information, data and claims:
The surplus energy the house produces is stored in a house battery and in an electric car, which acts both as a storage and user of energy. Both home and mobility are thus independent of the power grid.
The house is ecologically sustainable, fully recyclable and highly energy-efficient. No fossil fuels based energies are needed and no CO2 emissions are caused.”
The monthly energy need is given by the following chart:
But a check of the data yields a different picture
Misrepresented in the chart of energy demand given by the BMVBS is the monthly power generation of the photovoltaic system. In the wintertime when you have the highest demand for electricity and power, only 10% of the energy needed is generated. Using the monthly averages for PV generation in the region of Berlin in 2011, the following monthly energy budget results:
Thus the house is not energy independent and self-sufficient. By taking a close look at the daily amounts one sees that in the winter months the photovoltaic system delivers no energy. The planned batereries with a capacity of 40 kWh barely suffices to cover the night in the summertime. The necessary capacity for the wintertime would have to be more than 100 times greater, i.e. 4500 kWh (approx. 30% of the annual need). For this no technology is in sight.
The heat pump and electromobility increase the winter peak demand for electricity by a factor of 4 with respect to purely conventional power need. The niche technology of photovoltaics cannot replace a single kilowatt of power plant output.
The price tag for the”energy efficiency home” is pegged at 2.2 million EUR.
With this BMVBS project, the day-in and day-out supply of energy and independence from the power grid is an illusion. A layman cannot recognize that it merely exists in a worthless annual energy balance and that there often shortfalls at various times of the year.
Indeed the house proves the opposite: it is not energy independent. Despite the massive deployment of resources and technology, the laws of physics could not be ignored and the supply of renewable energy suffices only for a shed in the summertime.
The energy efficiency house is a symbol of a failed energy policy. It represents misguidance and deception of the citizens by ideologues, lobbyists, media and politicians, as well as a huge waste of resources.