Energy transition: the industry is short of 60,000 heating installers

The federal government’s plans for switching to renewable heating energies are technically no cause for concern for the heating industry. “A lot of what you need to know about installing a heat pump has long been known to the companies and is also taught in training,” said Helmut Braman, general manager of the Central Association for Sanitary, Heating and Air Conditioning (ZVSHK) to the newspapers of the Funke media group. However, around 60,000 heating installers would be missing to cover not only the demand in this area, but also that resulting from demographic change.

According to a recent analysis by the association, almost 100,000 additional jobs could already be filled in the sanitary, heating and air-conditioning trades (SHK). Of these, 41,000 are fitters, 27,000 are technical employees and 31,500 are trainees. For the political goal of installing 6 million heat pumps in private buildings by 2030, 60,000 fitters would be missing in that period alone. In addition, there is a need for 26,000 commercial employees.

Last year, the heating industry with its 392,000 employees installed a total of 980,000 heat generators, including 236,000 heat pumps, the ZVSHK summed up in March of this year. In addition, around 1.2 million bathrooms are made barrier-free every year. “Barrier-free bathrooms in an aging society – the demand here will increase significantly in the next few years,” explained Bramann.

The ZVSHK has identified a number of levers that could be used to counteract the shortage of skilled workers in the industry. The training structures should be strengthened, for example by upgrading the profession of vocational school teacher. The image of climate trade training can be improved and existing specialists can be trained. Skilled workers can also be recruited through the placement of training dropouts. The ZVSHK itself runs the “Time to start” training initiative.

The federal government launched the amendment to the Building Energy Act on Wednesday. According to this, from January 1, 2025, built-in heating systems should be operated with at least 65 percent renewable energies. The Federal Ministry of Economics also presented a funding concept for renewable heating. It provides that there should continue to be a basic subsidy for the exchange of heating systems. In addition, there should be climate bonuses.


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