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Green Party headquarters: Heat pump as a permanent project

Photo: dts News Agency / IMAGO

In the future, heat pumps will help to reduce CO2 emissions in Germany – this is what the German government is planning. So far, however, no political party in Berlin has used this technology to heat its headquarters. This is shown by a SPIEGEL survey of all parties represented in the Bundestag.

Last week, SPIEGEL research made public how the installation of a geothermal heat pump in the Green Party headquarters has been dragging on for years. So far, the party has been heating there with gas. In addition to long approval periods for the geothermal drilling, the central problem of the conversion in the Green Party office is the planning.

In order to be able to heat the old building from renewable sources, an elaborate system of pipes and cables must be installed. The rooms of the Greens are to be heated with a ventilation system, not with radiators. This system had to be installed everywhere in the office – which is extremely difficult in the old building.

Planning for the conversion began in the summer of 2019, and construction has been underway since the end of 2019. In addition, the building will be extensively renovated. The costs for this are expected to be around five million euros.

District heating is the most widespread

The other parties heat mainly with district heating, such as the FDP. The office in Mitte, a former Dominican religious hospital, was connected to the municipal network as early as 1999. "Energy efficiency and an economical use of resources" is a "fundamental and permanent concern" for the FDP, the party writes in response to a request from SPIEGEL.

The new parts of the building are energetically at a modern level. However, it is not possible to insulate the old walls for reasons of monument protection, but it is not necessary due to the thickness.

The CDU also heats with district heating. In 2000 it moved into its new building on the Landwehr Canal. In order to regulate the temperature in the house, the party says it uses a glass box that encases the core of the building.

In addition, the proximity to the adjacent canal is used to regulate the temperature via automatic window flaps in the roof. During the energy crisis, the flow temperature for heating was lowered by 10 degrees to consume less energy.

The same applies to the CDU's sister party, the CSU. In 2019, the headquarters of the Christian Socialists in Munich was the first party headquarters in Germany to be allowed to call itself "climate neutral". In 2015, the heating system was extensively renovated, a spokesman said.

The AfD, on the other hand, claims in response to a SPIEGEL inquiry that its headquarters are heated with district heating generated by biomass. She declined to comment on further details.

The party simply does not want to say where it is currently based. So far, this has been in Schillstraße in Berlin's Schöneberg district in a former trade union building. Neighbors unanimously report that the party has already moved out there. A Berlin Antifa group had made public last year that the party wants to relocate its office to an office complex in Reinickendorf in the north of Berlin.

Tenants there report increased activity in the party's corridors. For the Reinickendorf site, the statement about the heating system would apply: On the other side of the street is a biomass combined heat and power plant. According to the building's energy certificate, the AfD is also supplied with district heating. So far, district heating in Berlin has mainly been generated from fossil fuels.

The leftists heat with gas

The Left Party and the SPD are currently still heating with natural gas. The Karl Liebknecht House, in which the party headquarters of the Left Party is located, is only rented by the party – the owner and landlord is the party-affiliated owner company Vulkan GmbH, in which the Left Party has shares.

According to its own statement, the owner company commissioned an expert opinion for a new energy supply concept more than a year ago. Whether, when and by which heater the current gas heater should be replaced, the speakers left unanswered. In the past, the Karl Liebknecht House belonged to the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), later to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED).

Since 1999, the SPD has been using the Willy Brandt House in Kreuzberg, an imposing 26-metre-high building made of limestone, glass and metal. Since 2015, heating has been provided by the company's own combined heat and power plant "according to the highest ecological standards": underfloor heating, absorption refrigeration system, metal slats in the window panes.

Since 2015, the party has been using a "state-of-the-art combined heat and power plant" (Eingenwerbung), which is powered by gas. Since 2016, the Chancellor's party has been producing between 35 and 50 percent of its electricity needs itself, a spokesman said on request.

And at the government headquarters? The Chancellery is still heated with oil. But that is about to change: According to the plan, the plan is to switch to district heating in 2024.