acatech am Morgen: parliamentary breakfast on sustainable construction and housing
Berlin, 05 October 2023
The German Heating Act (Heizungsgesetz) has been dominating public discourse for weeks and months now. But what do Germans really think about affordable housing and climate protection? And why is digital innovation so slow to make inroads into construction and urban development? In the Bundestag on 28 September, Members of Parliament and their staff discussed TechnikRadar (Technology Radar) 2023 from acatech, Körber-Stiftung and ZIRIUS – Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies at the University of Stuttgart. At this edition of “acatech am Morgen”, acatech President Jan Wörner presented the platform project “Construction and Housing”, which is slated to start in December.
Member of Parliament Kai Gehring, Chairman of the Bundestag Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment prefaced his talk by emphasising the importance of technology assessment for society to accept new technology. Against this backdrop, the TechnikRadar makes an important contribution to balanced debate as it is a regular representative survey.
Since 2018, the TechnikRadar from acatech, Körber-Stiftung and ZIRIUS – Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies at the University of Stuttgart regularly asks the German population what they think about technology. Project Manager Ortwin Renn presented the results of the latest survey. He stated that Germans are very positive about the benefit of renewable energy as well as renovating buildings and the use of sustainable building materials. By the same token, the respondents are much more willing to share their mobility, energy and building data than, for example, their health data. The vast majority of Germans surveyed are in favour of the use of sustainable building materials. This is a finding of the latest TechnikRadar, with which the new acatech platform project “Construction and Housing” will seamlessly tie in. The subsequent discussion made clear how crucial it is to take public willingness into consideration when making political decisions – Germans appear more open to some aspects of the digital transformation than some reports seem to suggest.
The acatech project “Construction and Housing” encompasses three elements: “building materials, construction and energy”, “urban and neighbourhood development” and “implementation and scaling”, said acatech President Jan Wörner. In initiating this project, acatech aims to help solve the innovation backlog in the construction industry. It is particularly important to factor in the transfer of project results at each level and to demonstrate the foundation in reality on the basis of prototypes or regulatory sandboxes. Also, whenever possible, cross-cutting issues must be addressed jointly. Ultimately, involving the population through an active representative citizens’ body is a decisive factor in the success of sustainable construction and housing.
In his closing statement, Kai Gehring thanked acatech for its important input. He said he would work to ensure that the state plays a pioneering role in implementation and uses prototypes more often to show the public the benefit of innovative methods and technologies – both for renovations and for new builds.