research field: Build sustainable???

  Roofbuilding © Ivan Radic (CC BY 2.0)  

Who actually decides how I build sustainably?

As a company, we are currently pursuing (among other topics) two outstandingly important
goals: On the one hand, there is a great need to create living space quickly, on the other hand
reduce our CO2 emissions as quickly as possible. Two concerns that, at first glance
seem to be fundamentally contradictory at first glance. The fact that energy-efficient refurbishment and redensification of existing buildings play a key role in this transformation.

The current pressure for transformation offers us the opportunity to transform often banal, and in some cases socially difficult residential environments in Germany into livable and attractive neighborhoods.

That sounds like a win-win situation. Many people are currently dealing with different questions on this topic. Nevertheless, one gets the impression that in in practice, progress is slow or unsatisfactory in terms of key quality features. Why is that? Technically and in terms of planning, many functioning principles are available. There are excellent references of successful projects. Political will and financing possibilities would actually also be available.

This seminar is dedicated to the question of who are the actors that need to drive the above described
process and what their decision criteria, constraints and driving forces are. According to what do different representatives make the most important decisions.
For example, on the following questions:

1) Abandonment or retention 2) Which socio-economic mix is being sought?

3) What are the construction costs: Low-budget, mid-range or high-end.

4) What density makes sense at the site.

5) What energy source should be incorporated.

6) What mobility service should be provided.

7) What construction method should be used etc.


Together, we will look at the different criteria of four different (we have identified in advance) and map them. Furthermore, we will look at the results.On the one hand, we will take a neutral and scientific look at the criteria and on the other hand we will look for practical approachess that have proven to meet our social goals in the field of transformation of the existing stock quickly and in a quality manner.

Four fractions and their decision criteria:

1. Faction: building culture and building industry

As an architect or planner, you will always have the task of taking into account the interests and goals of all the parties involved, and goals of all parties involved and to create a coherent whole. To be able to follow an inner line, you have to be clear about what your own primary goals are, what sustainable means to you at its core, and what we need to do to build in a truly sustainable way. For this we need working principles of how qualities are created, an idea of the possible building techniques, their costs and effects on people, nature and climate.

2. Fraction: The drivers from the economy Housing companies, owners and investors

The large housing construction companies, which are currently often in the media and in some cases are even listed on the DAX, have the cash flow and the incentives to convert their stock quickly. But do they also create vibrant neighborhoods and optimize their construction activities with regard to the carbon footprint? In any case, they are pursuing a coherent business model.
And there are many other business models with which investors, developers, and smaller and and municipal housing construction companies are active in the market. In this block we want to explore how the entrepreneurial aspirations of the various market players can be integrated into the larger goals.

3) Governments, institutions and funding bodies

The big issue for the German government, the EU and other countries is the absolute need to quickly reduce CO2 emissions. Other goals are also being pursued and promoted: Preservation of ecosystems, biodiversity, social coexistence, use of transparent supply chains, and many others.

What criteria are currently used to distribute funding? What does sustainability mean for the German government, the KfW Bank, the Bafa or for the DGNB? Do complicated certification systems and the various criteria of the different funding pools really help to get the money to the right projects? How useful are the current criteria? How
could these criteria perhaps be better designed?

4) Legal and standards apparatus

If we have managed to bring the fractions 1-3 sensibly on a good line, comes another challenge: German laws, regulations, and standards. These are quite binding for planners and executing companies. What regulations are there that already help with the transformation? Which ones stand in the way


Places are allocated via the faculty's central registration procedure in RWTH online. Place acceptance of the allocated places until 03.04.2023 via email to (mailadress will follow)

Block seminar over two days each.
Kick-off date on 13.04. at 14:30-16:00
1st block date on 27/28.04
2nd block date on 25/26.05
3rd block date on 15/16.06
4th block date and delivery 06./07.07.


Reseach field
M.Sc. all semester


Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Raabe
Dipl.-Ing. Architekt Laurits Stahm M.A.

*** FF23 Nachhaltig Bauen ***