Sustainable Building Commission founded at Federal Environment Agency (KNB)

Interdisciplinary panel advises UBA on expert issues of sustainable building such as the use of environmentally compatible building products and construction methods that use fewer resources

building products in an unfinished buildingClick to enlarge
Sustainable building: a passport to more climate, resource and health protection.
Source: Jürgen Fälchle /

The newly appointed Sustainable Building Commission at the Federal Environment Agency (KNB) will consult the Agency (UBA) on expert issues of sustainable building. In addition, the fourteen experts of the KNB from science and specialist authorities will serve as UBA's platform for scientific debate. The interdisciplinarity of the members of the ecologically focussed KNB reflects the status of the Federal Environment Agency among the stakeholders on this cross-cutting issue. The members of the Commission elected Ms Iris Behr of the Institut Wohnen und Umwelt (IWU) as Chair. Deputy chair is Mr Burkhard Schulze Darup, a pioneer in the area of energy efficiency improvement.

The Commission will issue recommendations to the UBA on where there is a need for research, on the development of legal instruments and for the identification and communication of sustainability issues. In addition, the KNB aims to help establish a more holistic, ecologically-minded attitude among the players in sustainable building in Germany and internationally.

Building and living both have a significant impact on the environment, climate and health. Buildings consume a large share of the raw materials and energy used in Germany. One third of total national energy consumption is used for indoor heating and warm water heating in private homes, industry and commerce. A rigorous programme of energy efficiency refurbishment would reduce the demand for non-renewable primary energy by 90 percent. The manufacture of building products also influences the energy balance: the prodcution of cement clinkers, for example, has the potential to save about 50 percent energy and CO2.

Energy efficient refurbishment of buildings, material efficiency and the production of building materials are only a few of the areas in the sector which need improvement as concerns environmental protection and the preservation of resources. The new research fields and solutions identified by the KNB will be crucial to coping efficiently with such complex problems and the issues which arise from the climate and energy policy goals set by the Federal Government.

The Federal Environment Agency has recruited the following experts for the first, three-year term of office:

  • Iris Behr, Authorised Officer, Institut Wohnen und Umwelt (IWU) e.V. (Chair, KNB)
  • Dr. Burkhard Schulze Darup, Schulze Darup und Partner (Deputy Chair, KNB)
  • Jun.-Prof. Dr. Fazia Ali-Toudert, TU Dortmund
  • Dr.-Ing. Tanja Brockmann, Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR)
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Burkhardt, HSR Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil, Switzerland
  • Annette von Hagel, Institute for Federal Real Estate (BIMA)
  • Ajo Hinzen, Büro für Kommunal- und Regionalplanung (BKR), Aachen
  • Theresa Keilhacker, Vice-President, Berliner Architektenkammer
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Thomas Lützkendorf, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Wolfgang Misch, Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik (DIBt)
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Anette Müller, Weimar Institute of Applied Construction Research
  • Prof. Dr. Riklef Rambow, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Jun.-Prof. PhD Dirk A. Schwede, Stuttgart University
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Sedlbauer, Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP

The inaugural meeting of the KNB was held in Berlin on Friday, 14 February 2014. The offices of the KNB are part of Division III "Sustainable Production and Products, Waste Management".

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