EC Sustainability – the Basics (Green2Construction)

  Graphic with green houses © BB  


What is sustainability? What does sustainability have to do with architecture? How can I, as an architect, influence the sustainable performance of a building? What are the individual aspects of sustainability and how do they relate to each other? What are the requirements for sustainability in building design around the world?

The course is aimed at students in the master's program. Students will get to know and apply the methods, the tools, and the set of standards of sustainable building design in an international comparison, in the situation of a real project.

The course is divided into three modules that build on each other:

Module 1 - Sustainability - the basics

In the first module, the basic concepts and fundamentals of sustainability in general and sustainable building design are explained. Many important aspects of sustainability such as climate change, energy demand, and certifications are covered with associated methodologies such as life cycle assessment (LCA), energy accounting, resource efficiency, and circularity, etc.. The differences and interrelationships between these will be explained in detail. Also in this module, the most common building sustainability certifications (e.g. DGNB, LEED, BNB), their scopes and differences are explained.

Students will be given the opportunity to choose the specific sustainability topics, which will be the focus of the work during the term and for which a detailed sustainability concept for architectural competitions will be developed at the end of the class.


Module 2 - Sustainability as a system

A very common problem in near-sustainable building design arises when considering, focusing and solving a few isolated parameters of individual aspects of sustainability without considering the context and impact on other sustainability aspects. The resulting "isolated solutions" effectively solve the problem of focus, but in the process cause a host of other critical problems. An example of this are products and construction methods that have very high efficiency and performance in terms of energy balance and building energy performance, but at the same time cause critical environmental impacts, are not recyclable and lead to an enormous waste of resources and pose a risk to humans and the environment due to the content of substances and materials of concern. In this module, the focus is on the principles of systematic consideration, the interrelationships between the measurable parameters of the individual sustainability aspects and the avoidance of isolated solutions and greenwashing. Other aspects of sustainability, both "classic" and "future-oriented", are presented and observed in their context and interaction.

Module 3 – Development of a sustainability concept for architectural competitions

Developing sustainability concepts as a part of an architectural competition has become one of the key tasks for every architect, both in new building projects as well in refurbishment projects. Based on the knowledge gathered in the previous modules, the student will have the chance to develop their own sustainability concepts for two real competitions projects.

The teaching language is German. Students will work in groups that will be set up in each module. The maximum number of participants is 24.


05.04.2023 – 13:00-15:00 - Intro

12.04.2023 – 13:00 – 15:00 - The sustainability aspects part 1 – lecture

26.04.2023 – 13:00 -15:00 - The sustainability aspects part 1 – group presentations (online)

03.05.2023 - 13:00 -15:00 - The sustainability aspects part 2– lecture

17.05.2023 - 13:00 -15:00 - The sustainability aspects part 2– group presentations

24.05.2023 - 13:00 -15:00 - Sustainability as a system – lecture

07.06.2023 – 13:00 – 15:00 - Sustainability as a system – group presentations

14.06.2023 – 13.00 - 15:00 - Development of a competition sustainability concept –  assignment, lecture

28.06.2023 – 13:00 - 15:00 - Mid-presentations of the sustainability concepts – group presentations

12.07.2023 – 13:00 - 15:00 - Final presentations of the sustainability concepts – group presentations