The Current Situation

We are consuming and overexploiting earth’s resources and are drastically changing the planet. The consequences are climate change, a scarcity of resources, natural disasters, starvation, mass migration and poverty.

The construction industry is a major contributor to these detrimental developments. In 2018, the construction industry accounted for 5.3% of nominal gross value added in Germany, but is responsible for around 25% of CO2 emissions and consumes around 40% of generated energy. This discrepancy alone ought to lead to immediate, concerted action. However, research in this field suffers from severe under-funding . Considering the growing world population, it is clear that we will have to build more in the future, not less. In contrast to this, we must radically reduce our consumption of resources and CO2 emissions. This clearly leads to the conclusion that in the future, construction will need to be completely different – not just marginally, but fundamentally.

These enormous hurdles mean that a sharp increase in construction research both nationally and internationally is one of our most important tasks and is critical for future society. There is an urgent need for action.

A construction research center in the heart of Lusatia would be an important first step towards confronting and ultimately resolving these challenges.

Looking Forward

Future work in construction must focus on the needs of people and society with respect to our infrastructural environment. It must be:

  • Sustainable, climate-neutral
  • Resource-friendly, with recyclable materials on all levels (structures, components, material)
  • Long-lasting and easy to repair
  • Versatile, having various different uses
  • Aesthetically pleasing, secure and valuable (in a value-creating sense)
  • Humane (on a global level)
  • Geared towards people, made to fit human dimensions
  • Inclusive of all age groups

The Mission

In the future, buildings will be planned and built using materials and resources still unknown to us today. They will be planned, designed and measured using artificial intelligence; built taking resource efficiency into account; equipped and operated with AI-supported building technology; monitored and controlled with ultra-high precision sensors; and accompanied by a digital twin. To make this possible, we need to acquire knowledge on a large scale, working towards a completely different way of thinking about construction.

We can assume that the energy problem will improve with time thanks to renewable energies and methods to store them, while the problem of resource use will intensify due to increased resource scarcity. As one of the largest consumers, we in the construction industry need to be prepared and initiate a resource-efficientrevolution in our use of materials. With this in mind, one central objective is that each building must be as durable as possible – either by ensuring a long service life and various uses for the building, or by reusing as many large and small parts as possible. This reuse and recycling must be applied to all scales of the building: the structure as a whole, building parts, and the materials.

This also applies to all infrastructure such as bridges, tunnels, roads and hydraulic structures, where the utilization parameters are determined, for example by digital systems, to create the best possible conditions for users and the environment locally and on a large scale (avoidance of CO2-generating traffic jams, variable use of lanes, etc.).