Building and infrastructure

Planning and structural design

Considering sustainability and user requirements when assessing the need for construction measures and when planning construction projects

What do we mean by this?

The sustainable provision of areas, infrastructures, and resources required by users and stakeholders starts with the plans for developing properties and building stock and the preparation of new construction, expansion, and modernisation measures for buildings and facilities. This ranges from master planning and requirements planning to execution planning. The structural design largely influences the quality of the built-up area and the surrounding environment as well as the acceptance of (building) measures.

Planning determines the current and future fulfilment of functional and technical requirements as well as the urban development, architectural, ecological, social, and economic quality of properties, building stocks, infrastructures, and individual structures. It also influences the energy and material flows, the use of land, the effects on the local and global environment including flora and fauna, the health, safety, and satisfaction of users, as well as the costs of construction and utilisation.

While planning the further development of properties and the construction, expansion, or modernisation measures for buildings, structural facilities, or infrastructures, the principles of sustainable development can be integrated into the plans, in particular, by

  • analysing current and future requirements for buildings and infrastructures,
  • formulating planning objectives, following the precautionary principle,
  • carefully planning and evaluating requirements,
  • holding competitions, where possible and appropriate,
  • involving users and operators in the early stages,
  • applying life cycle analysis when comparing variants,
  • concretely and appropriately applying the guidelines for sustainable construction as well as the basic principles and tools for assessing the sustainability of buildings and outdoor facilities.

Subtasks of all this include the elaboration and complex assessment of variants with regard to sustainability strategies or goals, the documentation of planning results, and constant quality assurance.

How could a research organisation implement this?

  • Analyse the existing stock and the current and future need for construction (comparing with existing structural and development plans) in a systematic approach that takes current and future uses and user requirements into consideration
  • Integrate and adhere to the building certification systems of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) or the Sustainable Building Rating System for Federal Buildings (BNB) from the early stages
  • Integrate sustainability aspects into the master plans (e.g. concepts for a climate-neutral energy supply, requirements for biodiversity, and aiming for inner development before outer development)
  • Formulate and observe all requirements for building qualities over the entire life cycle
  • Formulate fundamental planning goals for environmental compatibility, economic efficiency, and social quality
  • Plan for long-lived structures with a high degree of flexibility, adaptability, and reusability, accounting for options of dismantling and recycling

Practical examples

Innovative energy concept for a new building at the Fraunhofer IWES

© Foto HHS Architekten

For the new building of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES, current objects of knowledge from the work of Fraunhofer IWES were implemented in an exemplary way during a collaboration between the Architecture and Energy System Technology business units for the design of a future place to work and live. In addition to architectural and urban development quality, importance was given to the highest standards of an innovative and sustainable energy concept.

Read the article [in German]

IWES website

Virtual Engineering at the Fraunhofer IAO

Foto: Christian Richters, © Fraunhofer IAO, UNStudio, ASPLAN
The Center for Virtual Engineering of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) is a visionary example of future-oriented planning and sustainable building. The scientific know-how of Fraunhofer IAO in the fields of virtual engineering and workspace innovation was continuously incorporated into the design. For exemplary economic efficiency, environmental friendliness, and resource conservation, the ZVE received the platinum certificate of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).

Visit the website

New energy-optimised building for the Leibniz Association's Potsdam Institute for Climate Research
In September 2015, the new energy-optimised building for the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research was opened, housing offices for 191 employees and the new mainframe computer. The building was developed together with the TU Dresden in the project "EnEff:Campus: Science Park Telegrafenberg Potsdam" for the overall energy assessment and optimisation of the new research building as well as the development of an energy network solution for the user community on the Telegrafenberg.

Visit the website

Brief reports

Target setting, Special buildings/exempt buildings, Flexible building structures, Maintenance planning, Barrier-free building, Future working environments, Life cycle costing, Benchmarks, Consequences of climate change, Certification systems, Added value of addressing sustainability issues in terms of overall quality

Show details [in German]

Further information

  • BNB System Variants
  • DGNB System
  • DIN 18205
  • ISO 15392
  • ISO 16813
  • BMUB (2013): Guideline for Sustainable Building
  • RIBA Plan of work – green overlay
  • SIA 112-1
  • SNAP Recommendations
  • VDI 7000

Sustainability reporting

DNK criteria

  • 12 Resource Management
  • 13 Climate-Relevant Emissions

GRI indicators

  • Economy: G4-EC1, 2, 7–9
  • Ecology: G4-EN1–3, 5, 6, 8–11, 13, 26, 29, 31, G4
  • Society: LA 6, 7; SO1, 2, 8; PR 1–3, 5, 9