Sustainability in the German construction market

In the Q3 2015 report of the European Architectural Barometer (EAB) we took a look at how sustainability is developing in the 8 major European construction markets from an architect’s perspective.

In the Q3 2015 report of the European Architectural Barometer (EAB) we took a look at how sustainability is developing in the 8 major European construction markets from an architect’s perspective.

I have highlighted some results from Germany to share with you.

It seems that the number of principals who are not prepared to invest in sustainability have risen considerably in Germany. But when sustainable solutions are asked for, we see that in 48% percent of the cases it’s residential buildings versus 22% non residential. In 29% of the cases it was asked for in both segments equally. The % of projects were sustainability was asked for by the principals has declined from 55% in 2013 to 45% now. We do expect to this rise again towards 56% in 2020. That being said, Germany is not the country with the lowest % of projects were sustainability was asked for. The country with the lowest % was Poland.

 Regarding sustainable certificates, in Germany 46% of the principals don't ask for sustainable certificates. If they do ask for it we see that the majority of the principals ask for either EnEV or Der Blauwe Engel. From the architect’s side, 56% of the architects don't prefer as specific certificate, but EnEV and LEED are most mentioned. German architects are also less interested (or least interested of all of the surveyed countries) in brands with environmental product declarations.

 If we look for explanations we could take a look at the construction volumes in Germany. After a significant growth in 2010 till 2012 the market has stabilized and we predict that the market will grow with roundabout 1% each year until 2017. This could have an effect on the demand for sustainability. The low energy prices could have an effect too. The German construction market is also heavily focused on renovation (almost 70% of the building volume is renovation). Implementing the lastest sustainable solutions might be more difficult.

Furthermore, in almost all European countries half or more of the architects state that sustainable products don’t lead to better margins and that specifying sustainable products don’t lead to more projects. They actually think that green buildings are more expensive than traditional buildings. It seems like there is only a small number of the European architects that look at the bigger picture and take also the long-term performances of the building into account. More insights in paybacks of green investment and long-term performances are therefore the most mentioned ways of how principals can be convinced of sustainable building.

These are some of the results of the latest Q3 2015 sustainability report of the EAB. The EAB is a quarterly cati survey amongst 1.600 architects in 8 European countries. Annually, we do 6.400 successful interviews.

For more information please feel free to contact me at hoogenboom(@)usp-mc.nl