Expert group: New housing creation campaign must become greener

Commission for Sustainable Building presents proposals for climate-friendly building and future-proof urban development

Baustelle mit Baukränen in der InnenstadtClick to enlarge
New, affordable housing must be built in many cities and regions.
Source: ZDM /

The Commission for Sustainable Building (KNBau) at the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has issued a plea to the federal government, the Länder governments and local authorities to establish greener standards in the campaign to create new housing. “This is a unique opportunity to anchor climate-friendly building and future-proof urban development on a broad basis and to make up for lacking measures to protect the climate in the building sector in the past with adapted KfW programmes for energy-efficient construction and retrofitting,” said Dr. Burkhard Schulze Darup, deputy chair of KNBau. He warned against establishing outdated standards, for example in the draft German Energy Act for Buildings (GEG). The KNBau is an advisory body to UBA consisting of external experts from science, administration and practice. The Commission is independent and is not bound by instructions from UBA.

“Public-sector funding for building must – despite the apparent urgency in some conurbations – be consistent with our international climate action agreements. Only climate-friendly building of high-quality design can guarantee attractive housing in the long term. Expert planners are achieving high efficiency standards in zero emissions building technology for an additional investment of only 50 to 100 euros per square metre of living space,” said Mr Schulze Darup.

“Urban planning is also crucial for the creation of sustainable, attractive and future-proof housing – a lesson which we are still learning from the mistakes made during post-war urban development and building, which focused on large, purely residential and ever more compact settlements and the predominance of car traffic,” says Dr. Matthias Lerm, Member of KNBau and city architect of Jena. The recommendations presented by KNBau consist of eight points which aim to increase and sustain the attractiveness of living space in urban areas. It is particularly important, says the Commission, to focus more strongly on quality-based development of the building stock, residential areas and urban districts, perhaps through levying a tax on vacant dwellings and second homes. This would still allow for the construction of attractive housing while maintaining the density necessary for quality of life in cities. Compact, mixed-use urban neighbourhoods ought to become the standard – they have higher quality of life to offer and are more easily accessible on foot, by bike or public transport than sprawling settlements. Such measures would make it possible to maintain the attractiveness of shrinking cities and break the vicious cycle of outmigration - of young people in particular - and thus prevent the further aggravation of the housing shortage.

Umweltbundesamt Hauptsitz

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

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