Sustainable building – top theme at Bau 2011

Sustainability is a word that is on everybody´s lips. In the field of architecture and construction, sustainability means building in a way that is cost-efficient, environmentally friendly and sparing on the use of resources, to create buildings in which the users feel comfortable, healthy and secure, and which blend well into the socio-cultural environment. To what extent this can be successful, and how to turn this into reality will be a top theme at BAU 2011, the World´s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials, Systems.


In the exhibition halls and in the accompanying programme at the event, which takes place at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre between 17 and 22 January 2011, interest will focus on the sustainable design, planning and management of buildings. For Bau sustainability is not a new theme. It has been focusing on this important topic now for some years. "We are simply continuing the theme of energy efficiency at Bau 2011," explained Bau´s Exhibition Director, Markus Geisenberger. "The umbrella term of sustainability now covers themes such as careful use of resources and cost-efficiency, but also health and social aspects, too."


Industry reacts to demands from investors

Bau 2011 will be demonstrating the contribution being made by the suppliers, i.e. the manufacturers of building materials, technology and systems, to the theme of sustainability. Almost all the 1900 or so companies exhibiting at the fair (Bau is again fully booked) will be offering solutions in this area: whether it be innovative materials, intelligent building technology or specific management models for cooperation with building firms and real-estate experts. The exhibiting industry is thus reacting to demand from investors and real-estate owners, because one thing is clear: More and more investors in the coming years will want to invest in sustainable buildings. Experts expect that property that does not meet certain minimum standards will soon be much more difficult to market.


Sustainability is also in the spotlight in Bau 2011´s accompanying programme

The accompanying programme of events and lectures at Bau 2011 will also focus on the theme of sustainability in all its facets. In the forums at Bau, in particular in the forum called 'The Future of Building', there will be many lectures on the theme. "Together with our partners we are inviting high-ranking experts to talk to this audience about the specific requirements of sustainable building and to illustrate these with examples of projects," promises Exhibition Director Geisenberger.


Special shows on the subject of sustainability

The special shows at Bau 2011 will also be concentrating on the theme of sustainability from a range of angles. The ift Rosenheim, for example, is teaming up with leading manufacturers to show how the use of high-performance, innovative windows and facades can contribute to sustainable buildings and 'energy-plus' houses. The Fraunhofer Allianz Bau will be putting on a special show on intelligent building, spotlighting innovative technologies emerging from building research. Sustainability is the top theme here, too. And sustainable building is also the focus of a special display on 'Building for the generations – economic, flexible, universal', being put on by Bau in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gerontotechnik (GGT).


Solar Decathlon Europe

Just what is involved in detail in designing and building sustainable buildings will be on show at Bau 2011 in the entries to the competition 'Solar Decathlon Europe 2010'. Nineteen different universities from Europe, America and Asia are taking part in this competition. The challenge facing the student teams is to design a building which derives its energy solely from the sun. The buildings of the four German universities taking part in the Solar Decathlon Europe will be featured at Bau 2011 and presented to the public for the first time. This is certain to be a highlight for the trade visitors. In addition the other competition entries will also be featured, at least as models. "With this display Bau is providing an excellent overview of just what is possible in solar architecture and how the latest findings from research can be implemented in real buildings," said Geisenberger.


Research projects on energy-optimised construction

The German Ministry of Economics is planning an event on the subject of 'Energy-optimised construction' (for more information, go to:, which will be held within the framework of Bau and report on the latest findings from research on energy-efficient technologies.


The rapid rise of sustainability

Themes like environmental protection and low energy consumption have been a concern for the real-estate and building industry since the 1970s. Now these themes are being given top priority by politicians and business, not only in Germany but around the world. The term sustainability, originally from the field of forestry, was quickly extended to cover whole areas of society – with perhaps the exception of banking. Today virtually every product must be able to present sustainability credentials, and every production process is being correspondingly optimised. The reason for the rapid rise of sustainability is the continuing irresponsible consumption of resources and energy, combined with rising prices, climate change and the debate about carbon emissions.


Competing evaluation systems

The building industry has a special responsibility here, because studies reveal that in Germany alone between 30 and 40 percent (the figure differs from study to study) of the energy resources used in the country are used in buildings. In other countries the figures are no better. To help bring structure to the efforts towards more sustainable design and building, a number of countries have developed certification systems. The forerunners were Breeam (England), Casbee (Japan), Leed (USA) and Green Star (Australia). Germany also now has its 'Gütesiegel Nachhaltiges Bauen'. The certificates are awarded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen (DGNB, German Sustainable Building Council). "More and more suppliers, building companies, planners and real-estate experts are wanting to shape the future of the sector and are helping with the design and awarding of the certificates," said Professor Bernhard Bürklin, Head of Corporate Projects at Hochtief and Vice-President of the DGNB.


Today almost all major construction projects around the world are subject to some kind of sustainability testing. The systems are competing with each other, and no global certification system is in sight, also because of the different building standards, regulations and cultures. Another problem is that precise evaluation methods for individual elements such as windows, doors and facades are not yet available, and will only be finalised during the course of 2010. Already we can predict that the result will provide much material for debate in January 2011 at Bau.

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