When it comes to climate protection, especially at this time of the election campaign, everyone is talking about cars and planes. What many don’t know: If Germany wants to be climate neutral by mid-century or before, construction will also be key. And not only with new constructions, which are now even to be pushed in order to alleviate the housing shortage. But also with existing buildings: the construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure are responsible for almost half of Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions (40%), in particular some 40 million buildings that already exist in Germany. Little is known about this stock, especially about half that is trading.
That is why the chairman of the Bavarian Economic Association (vbw), Wolfram Hatz, demands a “database for a complete digital image of our buildings over the entire life cycle”: “Because only if we know how the condition and substance of the respective building are, we too can plan specifically with it and get the most out of it in a renovation. “
Digitization can help here, but it is not only about digital change, explains Thomas F. Hofmann, president of the Technical University of Munich, but also about “mental change”. Universities should reinvent themselves. Concretely: “The future civil engineer needs new training. And in general, universities need to be ready to offer lifelong learning. It is no longer only necessary to address the students, but in specific cases also the 300,000 people who already work in the construction sector.
Hofmann and Hatz presented the annual report of the future Bavarian Economic Council on Tuesday in Munich. The committee, founded in 2014 and made up of top scientists, aims to inspire and analyze major technological trends that will shape Bavaria and Germany over the next five to ten years.
Also in construction the following should apply: Less tailor-made suits and more standard products
The Future Council has long recognized climate policy as the most pressing issue. Last year’s annual report was already devoted to climate protection, this year more specifically to construction in the era of climate change. There are fewer old buildings in Bavaria than in other Länder, but even here more than three-quarters of all residential buildings are 30 years or older. “The transformation towards climate neutrality requires massive private and public investment,” Hatz explains. The additional investments needed, especially in climate-friendly technologies, are estimated at more than 366 billion euros by 2050.
For the future building, the future council advocates a modular system. “Today, our buildings are generally made to measure,” Hatz explains. “Of course there will always be people looking for something special – if they can afford it.” For more and more citizens, especially in metropolitan areas, home ownership is becoming unaffordable. This is one of the reasons why “we need to move away from bespoke suits and at least get more building parts off the shelf.” If you want to construct or renovate buildings in a more efficient and cost-effective manner, you must progress with series construction with industrially prefabricated modules according to the “modular principle”. “Whether this is the last word of wisdom in design and optics is another question,” Hatz says, and architects are likely to object: “But a lot of people just want their own roof at- above their heads. And it could also be more environmentally friendly than it is today.