Using building physics to find solutions to climate change

Members of staff from the Institute for Acoustics and Building Physics at the Un
Members of staff from the Institute for Acoustics and Building Physics at the University of Stuttgart are presenting an interactive online series. Events open to the public on the theme of ’Building a climate-positive future together’ will be held until April. The opening event on February 2, 2021 urged participants to tackle urban building physics and climate change at a political as well as a personal level. [Picture: Philip Leistner]

"There are a lot of ways to get active", reminded Linda Meier , research assistant at the Institute for Acoustics and Building Physics at the University of Stuttgart, when addressing her audience. What she means is the choices we can make to help combat climate change. The choice of whether to just set up a barbecue on the balcony or to plant some flowering herbs. The choice of whether to spend money on a new bathroom which you can see the benefits from now, or to invest in protecting the climate for the long term. The choice of whether to plant a tree in front of the façade of our home, and what type of tree and what position to plant it in.

Food for thought, exchange, solutions

These are just some of the issues which were discussed on the evening of 2 February, when Prof. Philip Leistner invited interested parties to the first of an online series of dialogs on the topic of climate-positive construction [de] . The invitation to the event billed it as "providing food for thought, proposing solutions, and encouraging exchange between different groups in a motivational way". The interactive survey at the beginning of the event showed that more than a hundred people were in attendance, which included students but also a lot of people in employment in particular. Many were from Stuttgart, as well as a sizable contingent from across Baden-Württemberg and beyond. They considered themselves well-informed about climate change in general, as well as about its consequences. However, they were less well informed when it came to actual opportunities to take action. The online series, which runs until April and is also open to new members, focuses on exactly this issue.

Using climate-positive construction as a tool against the extinction of species and social inequalities

Leistner and members of academic staff at his institute - including Adrian Eitle and Pia Krause as well as Meier - list some specific ways people can take action. "There’s not a lack of knowledge, there’s a lack of action", summarized Meier on the first evening, and used numbers and calculations to show what kind of measures were both necessary and possible to reduce CO2 emissions, and as a consequence for example preserve species which may otherwise be threatened with extinction. She also went on to say that climate positivity in construction clearly dovetails with social justice issues around the world. This naturally relates to the political sphere as well as the personal sphere. The results of this can already be seen in some of the measures taken by the University of Stuttgart. These were presented by David Kopp, who as well as giving us a student’s perspective as the Head of Sustainability at the Student Council stuvus also gave us a good overview of the University’s sustainability strategy.

Invitation to take part

With a great deal of commitment, the organizers have created a space for information and exchange. "It’s an open-ended experiment", said Leistner, who said he could easily imagine that networks would be formed and initiatives created as a result of the online series.

Online series in German

Other events in the series [de]

  • March 2, 2021, 7 pm
    Social justice
  • March 23, 2021, 7 p.m.
    Living structures in the built environment (Flora).

  • April 13, 2021, 7 p.m.
    Living Structures in the Built Environment (Fauna)