When we hear the term, “Building for the future”, the first thing that pops up in our minds is probably bridges on top of the other, flying trains and extreme high rise buildings. These are all the philosophies and technological advances that have lead the humans producing approximately 10 tons of CO2 emissions per day alone in Germany. Focusing in depth on the sources of the CO2 production, 60% of the emissions produced in Berlin come from the resources to provide for housing and transportation.

Diving deep into Germany and foremost focusing on Berlin, the low temperatures in winters makes heating a basic necessity for the locals and cooling in the summer. Whereas not only the winters, but the temperature increase in summers of 2020 to 34°C was a bit too exorbitant for the residents. This is the biggest indication of global warming and therefore prompt action needs to be taken.


Electrice vehicles is part of a carbon neutral future

Since housing and transportation count for the biggest chunks in the effects of global warming, these two sectors need to be focused on while building for the future. Due to this, Germany has been very conscious about reducing its emission over the years. The carbon neutral act of 2050 adds to one of the biggest milestones which needs to be achieved: A high percentage of electric vehicles which are now seen on the streets of Berlin in private and public transport both for aiding to the cause. In addition to this, the German government votes to ban the registration of all combustion cars by 2030.

building for the future

Electric buses as a means of public transport in Berlin (photo by Nora Manthlay)


Building for the future

Electric car charging station as a means of private transport in Berlin (photo by Cat Distasio) 


“Energy house plus”

With respect to housing, Germany has been trying to conclude a perfect utopia for the buildings of the future for over 30 years which aims to be climate neutral to live in. An example of such an ideal building is called by the name of “Efficiency house plus” in Berlin. This project is a perfect specimen of amalgamation between technology, architecture and human needs. It is located in the heart of Berlin as a show piece and as an experiment for the future inaugurated in 2011.

The external construction of the house is mainly layered with the photovoltaic cells to convert the solar energy for the house hold use, heating and for a car charging station. This neutralizes the production of the energy by the consumption of the user whereas the most interesting thing is that the excess energy can be given back to the transportation grid. If this technology is implemented in the residential compounds of the future, this shall save and protect the environment from the CO2 emissions as these two sectors with the maximum CO2 production are catered for.

Building for the future

Rear view of the efficiency house plus in Berlin (photo by Schwarz) 


Sustainable living – affordable and reduces the energy use with 15%

Keeping up with the energy house plus vision and targets, the first smart city quarters are inaugurated by the name of “Future living” with the mutual vision of climate neutral housing in Berlin. This specific project is sustainable and provides a solution to the social differences as they are approachable and affordable to all income groups. The quarters provide smart customization in every apartment with added facilities like community car sharing, e-mobility, photovoltaic cells and battery story which results in a 15% energy reduction compared to a normal apartment.

Building for the future

Isometric view of “Future living Berlin” quaters (photo by futureliving) 


Tecnological solution with an eye on the needs of the locals

Initiated and constructed as a project of 90 residential units in a high technology zone, Adlershof Berlin provides the perfect setting for the smart city quarters along a collaboration with Panasonic. The project not only provides a technological surface solution but allows the residential space to be molded for the needs of the locals with providing solutions for a specific age requirement. The agendas for the Future living Berlin includes providing a barrier free architecture for the resident, mobility concepts with minimum emissions and individual systems. Apart from the technological advancements inside and out, the prior goal of the quarters is to promote sustainable living producing minimum CO2.


Building for the future

Future living in Berlin (conceptual 3D, project by GSW Sigmaringen) 


Older buildings with new heating systems are as efficient as new buildings

The above projects are just a minor insight to what is currently going on in Berlin over the past decade to achieve the carbon emission goals of 2030 and 2050. Since most of the buildings in Berlin are dated back a century or so, the statistics show that the new heating systems installed in the older buildings are working as efficient as the one in the newly constructed ones. Lighting, heating and cooling are the main factors in the building sector which accounts for 35% of the total energy consumption in Germany and 30% of the CO2 emissions come from it. If the construction efforts and new projects like above keeps on evolving to a greener, sustainable and responsible future, Germany will surely be able to achieve a carbon neutral vision soon.

Are you interested in learning more about the sustainable Berlin, we offer 1 hour public Live virtual education for only 9 euros – next date is 19th June https://greenbiketours.org/tour-1-copenhagen-berlin-and-malmo/ . Or you can take a public tour 1 with us https://greenbiketours.org/berlin-public/


Written by green guide and architect Amna Aslam