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The building battlefield : (in)consistencies in German policies for sustainable living

  • "400,000 new homes per year are needed in German cities." This figure has been cited repeatedly in political discussions, media, and statements of different groups for a couple of years now. Living space is needed to mitigate the (further) inordinate increase of rents in some cities and regions and to ease finding appropriate flats at affordable prices for low- and medium-income households. But how to activate investors and the real estate market? Having the triangle of sustainability in mind with its ecologic, social and economic cornerstones the discussion - metaphorically spoken - currently pulls the three corners: Which should have the highest priority? The economically driven most favourable solution is lowering the requirements"400,000 new homes per year are needed in German cities." This figure has been cited repeatedly in political discussions, media, and statements of different groups for a couple of years now. Living space is needed to mitigate the (further) inordinate increase of rents in some cities and regions and to ease finding appropriate flats at affordable prices for low- and medium-income households. But how to activate investors and the real estate market? Having the triangle of sustainability in mind with its ecologic, social and economic cornerstones the discussion - metaphorically spoken - currently pulls the three corners: Which should have the highest priority? The economically driven most favourable solution is lowering the requirements for new buildings such as the energy performance to make building cheaper. The social perspective prefers an increase of public social housing investments regardless of efficiency standards. And the ecological side argues that a high performance is needed to reach energy and climate targets in the buildings sector. Starting at this point of discussion, firstly, the paper reflects the assumptions behind the numbers of new homes needed against a sufficiency background. Secondly, it presents current changes in German building policies: a new legislation for energy supply and efficiency is currently in preparation. It discusses the potential to integrate sufficiency aspects in building policies, focussing specifically on the new regulation, financial incentives, and energy advice. The paper analyses if and to what extent it is likely to balance the three cornerstones of sustainability by integrating sufficiency aspects into efficiency policies. Household experiences with prepayment meters are used as an example to illustrate the potential for tapping efficiency and sufficiency potentials in low-income households considering social, economic, and ecological aspects. Based on the identified (in)consistencies, thirdly, it suggests further development in German policies to make better use of synergies between the ecologic, social and economic demands on buildings.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Conference Object
Author:Oliver Wagner, Anja Bierwirth, Johannes Thema
URN (citable link):https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:bsz:wup4-opus-73305
Publisher:European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
Place of Publication:Stockholm
Year of Publication:2019
Language:English
Source Title (English):Is efficient sufficient? : ECEEE 2019 Summer Study ; 03-08 June 2019, Presqu'ile de Giens, France ; proceedings
First Page:439
Last Page:446
Division:Energie-, Verkehrs- und Klimapolitik
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Politik
Licence:License LogoIn Copyright - Urheberrechtlich geschützt