One of our focus topics for 2023 is Sustainable Building and Housing, a subject that is derived from one of the six transformation areas of the German Sustainable Development Strategy, making some of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more tangible. We have planned various activities on the topic of Sustainable Building and Housing. Furthermore, in our How-to Guides we will also present options for how you can become active yourself in your organisation.
Focus on Sustainable Building and Housing
Why Sustainable Building and Housing?
The building sector, both in Germany and around the world, is one of the main headaches affecting the transition to sustainability: some 40% of greenhouse gas emissions are incurred by the construction and operation of buildings and the associated infrastructure*; half of all waste produced by western industrialised countries comes from construction and demolition; and the renovation of existing building stock has stalled at lower levels, despite being vital for climate change mitigation. In short, we need the transition now more than ever – towards climate neutrality, a circular economy and efficient use of resources!
Housing has for years been one of the most pressing issues in Germany – and the housing crisis is only getting worse: while in city regions, prices for both rental and home ownership are soaring, some rural areas are seeing more and more properties lie empty. Social divisions are becoming entrenched. At the same time, we are taking up more and more living space in terms of square metres per person, while Germany’s overall population is growing in numbers but also in age. Clearly, we must provide more affordable housing and ensure both city and countryside are worth living in.
The impact of investment decisions vis-à-vis building and housing will be felt for decades to come – and this applies globally too. Where will our raw materials come from – and how do we make supply chains sustainable and resilient? Whether locally grown wood or rare raw materials from the Global South – good, decent working conditions and operating in harmony with nature must take centre stage here.
Initiatives to get involved
To examine the topic from all sides, present best practice examples and explore new solutions together, the Joint Action for Sustainable Development has planned the following initiatives:
Also coming up, in partnership with the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), is the “Bauwende unterwegs” [Building transition underway] series. Beginning in May 2023, this will see us visiting and profiling selected pioneering projects for sustainable building from all over Germany and discussing how we can scale up their innovative solutions for wider use. Our next stops:
- Darmstadt, Alnatura Headquarters / May - Focus Topic: "Sustainable Building Materials" / Event report
- Dresden, CUBE / June - Focus Topic: "Carbon Concrete" / Event report
- Bad Aibling / July - Focus Topic: "Simply Building" / Event report
- Freiburg, Neues Rathaus / September 15, 2023 (1- 4 pm) - Focus Topic: "Climate Positive Building"/ Event report
- Bonn, GIZ Campus / November 16, 2023 (4-6 pm) - Focus Topic: "Space Concepts" / Event report
- Berlin, Wilmina Hotel / December 14, 2023 (4-6 pm) - Focus Topic: "Conversion of Use" - fully booked
- Closing Event: Berlin / December 15, 2023 (from 9:30 am)- Focus Topic: "Looking back. Broaden the scope. Looking ahead"
Are you interested in finding out about exciting projects on this topic in your area? Just drop by at one of the stops near you!
Under the sponsorship of the Federal Minister of Housing, Urban Development and Building, as part of the National Urban Development Policy, we have launched an innovation contest in autumn together with the German Sustainability Award. This year's Transformathon focused on four major challenges in the field of building, housing, and urban development.
The winning team of the #Transformathon was announced on November, 23. The team "WOHNEN+ wohnraum geben - wohnen nutzen" first convinced the expert jury and then the audience at the German Sustainability Day in Düsseldorf. The participants of the challenge from our host, the University City of Tübingen, on the topic of "Invisible living spaces" can look forward to receiving the prize money.
We would also like to thank the other hosts and all participants!
- Team Match Maker: hidden potentials-hidden functions-hidden spaces" part of the challenge „Solving competition for spaces” from the host National Urban Development Policy
- Team "circumovi – Circular Building“ part of the challenge "Circular Building” from the hosts Kreis Lippe and WILA Bonn
- Team "Small City Life - Quarter" part of the challenge "The 15 minute- city“ from the host DBU Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt
You can read all about the hackathon weekend in September here.
The event report on the finale will follow shortly.
Does your organisation want to play an active part in the building transition?
Here are some ways you can get involved:
Share your best practice examples with the community
Organise your own event on the topic of Sustainable Building and Housing in your region
Get the building transition started in your organisation – whether a museum, sports club, local authority or family business
Here you can find How-to guides for getting your organization started on our way to the sustainable transition in the Building and Housing sector. If you happen to know about more material that you would like to share with us, you can write us an email.