IFA 2023: German electrical associations show solutions for more sustainability and energy efficiency in buildings

Joint Press Release of VDE, ZVEH and ZVEI

At this year's IFA, the three associations VDE, ZVEH and ZVEI are once again presenting themselves together. In the "House of Smart Living" they will show how energy can be saved using building automation solutions and what hoe electrification, digitalisation and modern building technology contribute to a climate-neutral future.

At IFA, which opens its doors in Berlin from 1 to 5 September 2023, the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE), the German Central Association of Electrical and Information Technology Contractors (ZVEH) and the German Electrical and Digital Industry Association (ZVEI) will once again present themselves with the "House of Smart Living". This year, the 100 square metre smart model house will be part of the new Sustainability Village in hall 2.2.

Buildings as the backbone of the energy transition
The location in the newly established sustainability area of IFA underlines the importance of modern and innovative building technologies for a sustainable, climate-neutral future. The three associations and their members are actively working to shape this future. Because through consistent electrification and digitalisation as well as the use of smart technologies, energy consumption in buildings can be reduced by up to 65 percent and the CO2 footprint can be significantly reduced. Considering that existing buildings in Germany account for 35 percent of total energy consumption, there is enormous potential here regarding climate targets.

Buildings are increasingly becoming the focus of political and public debate, which is right, because they are the backbone of the energy transition: Energy is no longer only consumed in buildings, but also produced, stored and distributed; energy consumption is controlled sustainably. The House of Smart Living vividly demonstrates how this works: Here you can see how a photovoltaic system, heat pump and storage system can help to reduce energy consumption and dependence on the electricity grid.

An integrated energy management system, which in addition to these components also includes the charging infrastructure for the e-vehicle, household appliances, roller shutters and air conditioning, ensures that the e-car is always charged with solar power and the washing machine is only switched on when there is still enough PV power available or the electricity drawn from the grid is particularly cheap at the moment. The intelligent system considers weather influences - the dishwasher only switches on when there is a high level of PV generation - as well as the habits and requirements of the people living in the house (e.g., heating starts one hour before returning to the house and ensures the desired temperature until then). The applications shown at IFA are not dreams of the future, but "state of the art" and visitors are invited to test them playfully.

Technologies of the future are available, but their use requires the right framework conditions

The energy and heat transition in the building sector has been the subject of much discussion in recent months. However, it is important to note that the building sector is an important lever for achieving the climate targets and that the potential for more efficient use of energy and resources is huge. The corresponding technologies are already available and must be used comprehensively. Therefore, it is important to speed up, especially in the so important renovation of the building stock.

Currently, uncertainty about the national Building Energy Act (GEG) is slowing down manufacturers, trades and consumers. This is bad news for the climate. This is one of the reasons why the three associations are formulating their positions clearly in the run-up to IFA: The decarbonisation of the building sector affects the broad population and must therefore be implemented in a way that is as socially compatible as it is ambitious.

Voices from the associations

“Sustainability has a high priority in the VDE's scientific specialist groups. After all, this is where the future of electrical engineering is shaped, and it is inconceivable without the aspects of environmental protection and resource conservation. In the VDE Institute, we offer a wide range of tests and services in the field of sustainability. The DKE is working internationally on the "All Electric Society", the scientifically based vision of a CO2-neutral and sustainably developing world," says Sven Öhrke, Member of the Executive Board at the VDE Institute. "That's why we're pleased to join the other two major electrical associations at IFA to show how buildings can be made sustainable and safe."

"The electrical trades are climate trades. By installing PV systems, storage units, heat pumps, charging infrastructure for e-mobility and energy management systems, the electrical trades make buildings more climate-friendly and energy-efficient. With the House of Smart Living, we also show how buildings can become safer and more comfortable. For example, you can experience smart health applications that take care of the health of the occupants and enable age-appropriate living," says ZVEH Managing Director Alexander Neuhäuser.

"Through the clever interplay of electrification, digitalisation and automation in the building sector, we can save up to 65 percent primary energy. If we cleverly generate, use, store and distribute electrical energy in buildings and neighbourhoods, we will not only permanently reduce operating costs, but also make a significant contribution to achieving the climate targets. However, this also means that the electrical infrastructure in older buildings must be upgraded," says Wolfgang Weber, Chairman of the ZVEI Board of Directors.