The Green Position Building

How we build, how we live, and how our cities develop: these issues have a major and direct impact on our quality of life. Cities and municipalities are spaces for social participation at the local level. Housing is a basic need, but work, learning and leisure also take place in the built environment. Green policy aims to develop solutions that combine social cohesion, environmental and economic sustainability, and architectural design quality.

Restructuring our towns and cities to make them sustainable and climate-neutral is a key pillar of Green building policy: that is a given. Energy upgrading of buildings and social infrastructure plays a central role in making heating and power generation more efficient. This saves money and makes a major contribution to achieving climate goals. We want to increase the upgrading rate to 3 per cent a year, with landlords, tenants and the state all playing their part in an equitable mix of contributions. This will modernise and improve the energy performance of the building stock within 30 or 40 years and cut CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020.

We want to establish annual energy consumption below 60 kWh/m² as the minimum standard for buildings by 2020. Our upgrading policy also aims to bring the energy consumption of older buildings closer to zero wherever possible. Special rules should apply to listed buildings of historical interest. These should undergo environmental upgrading as far as is compatible with their urban and architectural significance.

With newbuilds, a dynamic shift towards zero carbon houses must take place. Our medium-term goal is the 1.5 litre house which requires no more than 15 kWh/m² annually for heating and cooling. As the first step, we want to achieve zero energy houses, with energy-plus houses being the second step, and we intend to provide targeted support for this development.

Work therefore needs to start now on introducing more stringent provisions under the Energy Conservation Ordinance from 2012. In line with a European Parliament resolution which called for an ambitious EU directive on the energy performance requirements of new and existing buildings, we want zero energy to be established as the standard for all new public-sector buildings from 2016 and for all other newbuilds from 2019 at the latest.

Annual funding for the CO2 Building Rehabilitation Programme launched by Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) should increase to at least €2 billion. We also want to provide support for low-income households and poorer neighbourhoods from an Energy Saving Fund with a budget of €3 billion. The comparative rent system and demand-based energy performance certificates for buildings help to create transparency on energy efficiency. The use of sustainable building materials should be given particular support. By expanding training provision, research and advisory services in this area as well, we can harness training and employment potential for highly skilled and low-skilled workers alike.

Green building policy means an approach to settlement planning that avoids traffic and saves space. The ideal that we should aspire to is the city of short distances: compact towns and cities with a vibrant urban culture and outlying areas that are protected from development. Urban development assistance is a good national instrument to put social, environmental and energy restructuring in cities on the right track.

Attractive cities also stand out on account of their social justice. We want to help to achieve this with social housing policies that limit segregation. In attractive locations, there is often a lack of affordable housing and housing that is suitable for the elderly. Cities therefore need municipal strategies for residential areas. Attractive cities create mixed neighbourhoods and open spaces that facilitate communication. There is plenty of scope for creative local policies here; indeed, this is the prerequisite for sustainable, future-oriented urban restructuring. We want to encourage local citizens and stakeholders, in all their diversity, to support and participate in this process – for Green building policy offers opportunities for creative and diverse forms of participation. Here, we are relying on the regions and the development of their own specific potential.

 

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