climate protection and sustainability in the building sector

    Many people' and companies' biggest concern this year, and for the foreseeable future, is how to deal with the Corona virus. But even though it poses major challenges to many business models and individual lives, it is not comparable to the effects of climate change, which threaten society as a whole.

    One might think that due to the Corona crisis and the enforced interruption of the international movement of goods and people, caused by the collapse in demand and the loss of production, it has been a good year for the world's climate. Nevertheless, the so-called Earth Overshoot Day was already reached on August 22: By that day, humanity had consumed as many resources as the Earth can renew in an entire year. "Therefore, climate protection remains the central task of our time, which does not allow any postponement," warns the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), the largest network of its kind. Since the construction and real estate sector is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, there is massive potential for savings here. As key players in the building life cycle, facility managers have a special role to play in implementing measures for greater sustainability.

    Already during design and construction, the right course can be set for a sustainable building life cycle. But facility managers can also do a lot during the operation of existing properties. At least climate neutrality, or even better a positive energy balance, should be the goal of every building operator. A building is considered climate-positive if it makes a positive contribution to climate protection through a balanced or negative annual CO2 balance. In addition, intelligent building planning for energy efficiency, regenerative energy sources, and the feeding of self-produced energy into the grid are other important factors for being classified as climate positive.

    The DGNB provides employees in real estate management with various aids, toolboxes and offers - such as the guide to climate-neutral buildings - to help them make a contribution to greater sustainability. Often, they benefit in many ways, as, for example, savings and greater efficiency reduce energy costs. The DGNB publication "Climate Positive: Now!" also shows concrete and easy-to-implement options for existing properties, such as which fields of action need to be taken into account and how to draw up a climate protection roadmap. It explains which measures can make the biggest leaps toward greater sustainability. The DGNB certification system rewards successful implementations, for example with the certificate for buildings in operation in levels from bronze to platinum.

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP also has aids and instruments for life cycle assessment at the ready, so that emission values, life cycle costs and energy efficiency can be taken into account - for example, in the design of building and system technology. The IBP's Energy Efficiency and Indoor Climate and Life Cycle Assessment departments also have concrete offers for this purpose. In particular, the Institute supports architecture, planning and engineering offices in planning buildings ecologically with the GENERIS® web software.

    In the long term, there is no way around the real estate industry undergoing a green transformation. To this end, there is already a wide range of offerings to help companies navigate this path. From planning through operation to the end of the building's life cycle, all areas of ecological, economic and social needs must be considered in a balanced way.