- by Christine Lemaitre
- 2020-04-23 12:02:00
Any conversation about climate protection and introducing key measures likely to make a real difference quickly moves on to the topic of buildings. Our choices regarding how buildings are planned, constructed and used have a considerable impact on the carbon levels of our planet, which are currently somewhat worrying. But there’s also good news. We can turn things around and make positive contributions to climate protection in the way we need to – but only if we work together, approach things systematically and act as quickly as possible. How specifically this should happen is addressed by a number of services recently announced by the DGNB.
Tirelessly taking a stance on climate protection and calling for more sustainability in the building and property industry can quickly descend into worrying and negativity. It’s important to remain optimistic about managing the paradigm shift – which we need, urgently.
Of course it can be quite challenging with all the advice swirling around at the moment. It’s well-intended, but when you think some of the advice through it often raises more issues than it solves. It’s not enough to say interesting things. Given the fact that we already have the know-how and experience we require, we now have a responsibility to come up with specific answers and lend tangible support – especially given that there are still no sanctions in place for not acting sustainably, neither of a legal nature nor in societal terms. So what’s finally needed – now – is more than coherent arguments. We need suggestions that make a difference, in tangible terms. We need recommendations that really are helpful.
#NoMoreExcuses– why it’s high time we got going
A good two years ago, the DGNB published a booklet called simply No More Excuses. It marked a shift in thinking: no more Mr Nice Guy. We logged all the reservations people kept coming up with, with all their reasons why – yet again – sustainability isn’t (apparently) the way forward, despite little substantiation. We wrote their reservations down and compared and contrasted them to actual facts. What came out? Lots of highly positive feedback. And many indications that some of the sceptics were beginning to meditate a bit.
International awareness of the challenges we face due to the climate crisis has gained huge momentum in recent months and years, and this finally provides a foundation for proper, comprehensive change. People are beginning to question things more. And many are finally about to start doing something and do things differently, in a new way.
#ClimatePositiveNow – the solutions and help we offer
This is precisely where the DGNB now comes in. Climate Positive: Now! These are the words on the front cover of a new publication that not only hopes to achieve many things but also shows all the things that are possible – and, first and foremost, how. All buildings can make a contribution to climate protection. Not just those that are about to be built. Even existing buildings.
The brochure points to a whole slew of concrete actions that can be taken – like the DGNB framework for climate neutral buildings and sites (soon available in englisch), on which it is based. The measures that make most sense – not just in environmental terms but also for economic reasons – depend on a variety of factors. Just some of the important questions that needed asking:
- How is my building doing in terms of net carbon footprint right now?
- How much still needs to be done for it to become climate-neutral?
- Which potential efficiency gains have I already exploited?
- How well suited is my building to generating energy by itself and thus reducing emissions?
In a similar way to our online toolbox (soon available in englisch), the aim of both publications is to motivate people and at the same time take the wind out of the sails of sceptics with their objections – most of which are based on ambiguities and, to be honest, ignorance. Nothing happens until you make the first step. And to make that step, you really don’t need to be all that brave. You just need to be prepared to do something. And you need a just a little sense of responsibility towards the climate, and with that: those around you.
Let’s go on this climate-positive journey together! Climate action now.