Book non nobis from Werner Sobek

How Will Buildings be Constructed in the Future?

In the issue in medias res of Creative Industries in the Stuttgart Region, Prof. Werner Sobek was asked how buildings will be constructed in the future. Here is his answer, which we do not want to withhold from you: “I assume that the fact of global warming, its causes and the consequences it threatens to have for human existence are considered known and accepted. This probably does not apply to the measures required to contain global warming and, in particular, its likely dramatic effects on daily life. These will therefore be briefly outlined with a view to the building industry, which plays an essential role in this context. Three sets of issues are particularly relevant: Energy demand, emissions and resource consumption, including the associated waste. The reduction of energy consumption of buildings in their use phase, which has been strived for decades, is characterised by limited success. More promising seems to be the Climate Protection Act, which also prescribes a binding reduction of climate-damaging emissions in the buildings sector by 57% by 2030. If we look at existing residential buildings, more than one million domestic combustion systems will have to be expanded each year and heat generation will have to be switched to electricity-based systems such as heat pumps. The additional demand for electricity induced by this coincides with an additional demand due to electromobility. The emerging electricity gap is dramatically exacerbated by both. Since it is not possible to transport the additional demand for electricity through the existing grids, it is becoming increasingly important to generate our own electricity locally by integrating photovoltaics into our buildings, along roads or in green and pasture areas, as well as through smart local energy management. The Climate Protection Act also affects the production, conversion and deconstruction of buildings in a roundabout way via the energy, mobility and industry sectors. A reduction of climate-damaging emissions by about 65% by 2030 means that if we do not succeed in bringing about dramatic technological changes in the building sector, in 9 years we will only be building a third of what we are building today. The very consideration that this would also jeopardise the construction of the planned 400,000 additional dwellings per year shows the existing potential for social conflict. So to build with low emissions, we have to build differently. And we have to build with less resource consumption and less waste generation. And we have to do something for the energy supply on site itself.”