New graduate school for climate-conscious construction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP) intends to address sustainable and climate-conscious construction in different climate zones more strongly in the future. A fundamental part of this research project will be formed by an international graduate school – Climate Culture Building (CCB) – which is to support implementation of the relevant basic research.

Through support from around ten PhD students in different countries within various climate zones, the basic scientific principles for climate-conscious construction are to be researched as part of the CCB graduate school’s activities. “Modern architecture frequently disregards basic climate-conscious principles and is then forced to counterbalance the structural-physical consequences with highly technical and often not particularly energy-efficient constructions. The aim of the CCB is therefore to harmonise socio-cultural circumstances and climatic conditions in such a way that – by observing the local building culture – architecture is created that is typical of the country in question and is accepted by its inhabitants,” the Fraunhofer IBP explains.

The inpidual work is to be carried out and supported primarily by two universities, the University of Stuttgart and the respective university in the country of origin. Ultimately, the aim is to produce engineers with sound expertise, who can work independently and subsequently implement the principles of climate-conscious construction in their home countries over the long term. “Through this project, we would like to obtain important findings on traditional and climate-conscious methods of construction in another climate zone, among other aims,” stresses Prof. Dr. Klaus Sedlbauer, Head of the Fraunhofer IBP.

A year ago, the Fraunhofer IBP had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sana'a University. The objective of this scientific cooperation is – on the one hand – to develop an understanding of Yemeni building culture and to analyse traditional materials and structures, so as to learn from this in order to adapt it to other regions. On the other hand, researchers want to evolve concrete concepts for restorations and country-specific sustainability criteria for new constructions.

A Fraunhofer IBP conference this October in Berlin signalled the start of the international CCB project. Through papers on climate-conscious and sustainable construction, and referencing concrete experience with construction products in the area of façade insulation, the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, the Fraunhofer IBP, the Deutsche Umweltstiftung environmental foundation and Sto AG brought participants up to date on current research and presented their initiatives and plans.

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