Until the end of World War Two, Berlin’s population heated their homes almost exclusively with brown and hard coal. Since then, other types of fuel have been added to the pool of heating energy sources with fluctuating numbers for each individual energy source. Today, residential heating is predominantly provided by natural gas, heating oil and district heating (BDEW 2019 (only in German)).
This shift was brought about mainly by the Berlin Senate’s energy policy measures for climate protection starting from 1989. In addition to instruments supporting the energy-related refurbishment of buildings – especially old buildings – programmes were launched to modernise heating systems focussing predominantly on the eastern part of the city. In particular, the aim was to replace the high-carbon energy sources coal and fuel oil with district heating from cogeneration and natural gas wherever possible.
And it worked: while in 1994, 17 percent of residential and commercial spaces were heated with coal, this number had shrunk to two percent by 2005. In the same period, natural gas as a source for heating energy rose from 21 to 34 percent.
The Environmental Atlas maps illustrate this change process nicely. You can easily detect the distribution of the main sources of heating energy within individual blocks of houses at different times. Discover also how the use of individual sources of energy in major heating and heating power plants for the generation of district heating changed between 1994 and 2005.