The building sector plays a key role in climate protection because buildings consume a tremendous amount of resources during construction and operation. In Germany alone, heating, cooling and lighting of buildings accounts for a quarter of annual energy-related gas emissions. Of the total annual greenhouse gas emissions caused by buildings, three quarters are caused by their use, but also one quarter by their construction. The Award, launched in 2020, is therefore intended to honour beacon projects in sustainable building that show how sustainable building can be realised today, especially in existing buildings.
Parliamentary State Secretary Florian Pronold said, "Not least due to the recent floods, the issue of climate, environmental and health impacts of buildings and their construction has taken centre stage in society. The energy-efficient refurbishment of existing buildings in particular remains a daily challenge for private and public sector clients. This is where the greatest need exists for action to protect the climate. Topics such as primary energy demand, grey energy or healthy building are no longer the province of experts alone, but are also attracting the attention of more and more private and public sector clients. And with good reason, because the building sector consumes tremendous raw material and energy resources. The building sector is therefore the key sector for achieving climate neutrality. Moreover, sustainable building and renovation are not only of enormous importance for climate protection, but also for social cohesion in Germany."
Dirk Messner, President of the German Environment Agency said, "Extreme weather events such as the flooding in western Germany are stark examples of the impacts of unbridled global warming. Building materials play an important role in the fight against climate change: steel and concrete are energy and resource-intensive in their production and thus warm the earth's climate. We need a change in building materials towards climate neutrality. I am delighted that the jury has selected the vocational school centre in Mühldorf am Inn as an award winner which, in addition to its outstanding energy concept, uses a mix of wood and concrete with recycled content in its choice of building materials. The Federal ENVIRONMENT & BUILDING Award is our way of giving more visibility to holistically outstanding projects and inviting imitation."
State Secretary Pronold and UBA President Professor Messner awarded the prize in four categories and conferred four additional awards, each of which was selected by an independent jury. The awards ceremony concluded with a dialogue on Germany's future whose participants included State Secretary Pronold, UBA President Messner, jury co-chair Professor Christa Reicher and Ms Susanne Wartzeck, President of the Federation of German architects (Bund Deutscher Architektinnen und Architekten BDA). The participants emphasised the importance of maintaining and developing existing building stock to reduce CO2 emissions from operations to near zero as quickly as possible and to move forward on climate change adaptation. The projects and the award ceremony can be found online: Bundespreis UMWELT & BAUEN 2021 (in German)
In the "Non-residential building" category, the supplementary building of the vocational school centre in Mühldorf am Inn by ARGE Schmuck-Anglhuber Architekten was awarded the Federal ENVIRONMENT & BUILDING 2021 Prize. The school centre, which provides classrooms and other space for 1,400 students and 100 teachers, such as a bakery, cold storage rooms and canteen kitchen technology, has an innovative energy concept. The building generates more energy than it consumes in total, that is, even taking into account user electricity. A heat pump concept with ice storage combines efficient heating and cooling with the use of waste heat, for example from the bakery. The sophisticated ventilation system enables in-school learning, also under pandemic conditions.
In addition to the main prize winner, another four projects were awarded recognitions, including two in the newly created category "climate-friendly refurbishment":
- The redevelopment of the listed restaurant "Gasthof zum Rathaus" with a citizens' hall of the municipality of Denklingen will lead to a renaissance of the village centre - and will keep a building that is more than 300 years old in operation.
- Stadtquartier Margaretenau, Regensburg, Bavaria (climate-friendly refurbishment):
- The project succeeds in taking into account the social aspects of a refurbishment while keeping rents and through active involvement of the tenants.
- Child day care centre, Waltenhofen, Bavaria (non-residential building):
- The use of carbon-neutral building materials was achieved through the timber construction, where deliberate attention was paid to the use of regional timber and the avoidance of glue-based constructions and products containing solvents.
- Werk II, elobau company factory, Leutkirch im Allgäu, Baden-Württemberg (non-residential building):
- The project shows that even a large industrial building can be realised in timber construction. The extension to the logistics centre of the elobau company was built to the energy-plus standard with about 3,040 m² of solar panels on the roof surfaces.
A total of 29 projects were submitted to the Ökozentrum NRW GmbH project office as entries for the Bundespreis UMWELT & BAUEN 2021 award. The winning projects were selected by a 12-member jury comprising architects, sustainable building experts, and institutions such as the Deutscher Mieterbund e.V. and umbrella associations. Excerpts from the award ceremony, such as the keynote speech by Susanne Wartzeck (BDA President) will soon be available on the website of the Bundespreis UMWELT & BAUEN. Furthermore, all award-winning projects will be presented in a book, which will be available at UBA from November 2021.