Christian Deilemann has a big grin on his face when he talks about the current business. His company Tado has just raised 43 million euros from investors and more than doubled sales last year. Among other things, Tado develops and sells smart thermostats for heating systems. When the window is opened, the thermostat lowers the temperature instead of compensating for the incoming cold like conventional thermostats.

Maximilian Sachse

Editor in Business

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The technology also detects when the last occupant leaves the house and automatically regulates the temperature down. If the first inhabitant approaches again, the algorithm preheats. And with the help of weather data, Tado calculates how the sun will change the room temperature – and turns down the heating if in doubt.

In an average apartment, equipping costs just under 200 euros. On average, 22 percent of heat consumption can be saved, promises Deilemann – and thus of course also cash. "The energy crisis has boosted demand tremendously," he says. Tado sold more than one million thermostats in 2022 – a record. Since the company was founded in 2011, there have been a total of 3 million.

Building sector misses climate targets

It's not just Tado's business that's booming. "The demand for digital solutions for more energy efficiency is increasing," says Klaas Moltrecht, who is responsible for the real estate industry at the digital association Bitkom. This is mainly due to the increase in energy prices. Politically, too, the topic of digital building technologies is increasingly coming into focus – above all for climate protection reasons. "A successful energy transition is not possible without digitalisation," says Philipp Richard, who heads the Digital Technologies division at the German Energy Agency (dena).

The building sector accounts for more than one third of Germany's total final energy consumption. In addition to the transport sector, he is considered one of the biggest climate sinners in Germany. By 2030, the sector is to reduce its emissions by around 43 percent compared to 2020, and by 2050 the building stock is to be climate-neutral.

However, according to estimates by the think tank Agora Energiewende, the sector also failed to meet the legally stipulated savings targets last year. According to Bitkom calculations, the use of building automation could save 2030.14 million tonnes of CO7 by 2, mainly through more efficient heating and more economical hot water production. This corresponds to almost 30 percent of the government-required savings by 2030. However: "We are not yet where we want to be in the digitalisation of the building sector," says Richard from dena. "We have to pick up the pace now."

One example is the sluggish installation of so-called smart meters, i.e. digitally networked electricity meters. In Norway, Denmark or Sweden, every household already has one, even England is already far. According to figures from the Federal Network Agency, just 130,400 of them were installed in German households by the end of 2021, with just under 52 million electricity meters in total. Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) wants to change this with the help of the law already passed in the Federal Cabinet to restart the digitization of the energy transition. For households with a consumption of more than 6000,2030 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, smart electricity meters are to become mandatory by the end of 20. Anyone who wants to voluntarily purchase a smart meter despite lower consumption may pay a maximum of 100 euros per year in the future. So far, depending on consumption, it was sometimes 13 euros a year and thus significantly more than the <> euros usage fee per year, which are estimated for analog meters.