Key Themes at BAU 2009: Energy-Efficiency, Universal Design...

Some topics are so important that they will shape the future of building and construction. No investor, no planner and none of the building trades will be able to ignore them. And top of the list of themes these days are energy efficiency, universal design and renovation & modernisation. At BAU 2009 these will be reflected in almost all sections of the exhibition. The exhibiting companies will be offering their individual solutions, and comprehensive information will be supplied in a range of forums, special exhibitions and congresses at the trade fair.

Energy-efficient construction
'Klimakatastrophe' (easily recognisable as 'climate catastrophe' in English) was named as 'Word of the Year' in Germany in 2007. The worldwide debate about energy-saving, energy acquisition and CO2 emissions is summed up in this evocative word. The building industry cannot remain immune. No less than 40 percent of the energy consumed by end customers in Germany is used for space-heating and hot water in buildings. In the other countries of the EU the picture looks very similar.

Rising energy prices, diminishing raw materials resources and increasing global demand – all of this is increasing the pressure on the building industry to look for energy-saving solutions and concept. Energy-efficient construction and energy-efficiency improvements to existing buildings are therefore key themes at BAU 2009. Much time is being devoted to this whole topic, not only at the exhibitors´ stands, but also in many events in the accompanying programme:

In the new forum 'Future of Building', in Hall C2, planners and architects from all over the world will be presenting current projects on the theme of energy and architecture, and solar design. BAU is putting on this forum in cooperation with the German Chamber of Architects (Bundesarchitektenkammer) and publishers Bauverlag. It is being supported by the Informationszentrum Beton, Saint-Gobain Isover and Deutsches Steinzeug Agrob-Buchtal.

To kick off BAU on 12 January 2009, the German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs is organising a congress in the International Congress Centre Munich (ICM) on the subject of 'Sustainable, energy-efficient building and modernisation'. The opening address will be given by Wolfgang Tiefensee, the German Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs.

The architectural journal DETAIL, in its symposium on Energy and Sustainability, which takes place on 14 January 2009 as part of BAU, is exploring current issues in energy efficiency in architecture and creating a platform for information and exchange. Through lectures on specialist themes given by architects, engineers, energy experts and industry representatives, the aim is to take a comprehensive approach and point out perspectives for sustainability.

Improving energy efficiency is also a focal theme in a forum dedicated to ways of dealing with existing building stock, in Hall B0. A series of lectures is also planned for this forum.

Universal design
Demographic trends indicate that by the year 2050 the number of over-80-year-olds will have almost tripled. Attention is therefore focusing on the needs of the aged and the infirm, but not exclusively on this group. The term 'universal design' covers design that meets the requirements of all people, regardless of age, ability or physical condition.

In relation to architecture and planning, the aim is to design the home environment in such a way that people with or without a handicap, the old and the young, the tall and the small, can live as independently and comfortably as possible within that environment. At BAU, too, this theme is attracting ever more interest. More and more manufacturers are ensuring that their products and systems are usable by people of all ages and abilities.

Together with the initiative 'Leben ohne Barrieren' (Living without Barriers) BAU is putting on a special display on this subject in Hall A4. This display is intended as a joint exhibition featuring a range of companies and company presentations. 'Leben ohne Barrieren' is doing the overall organisation and ensuring that independent advice is available to the trade audience.

The display, to be set up on a 350 m2 park-like landscape, looks at the design of individual rooms, and also at new forms of living, such as the 'generation house'. Other themes include control and automation, security and innovation, bathrooms and wellness, and design of outdoor spaces. In addition, in a joint presentation of products, visitors will be able to take a look at a wide range of products specifically designed to suit the needs of older people or people with a physical disability.

Renovation & modernisation
Against a background of stagnating population figures, an adequate supply of housing and – in many countries in Europe – a slowdown in new residential development, the subject of renovation and modernisation is gaining ever more significance throughout Europe.

For the building industry, the theme of modernisation and renovation of existing housing stock is playing an ever greater role. Currently around 60 percent of all investment in housing in Germany is in existing stock. Whole sectors, from large companies to small builders are now making the majority of their turnover in this segment.

In Germany the opportunities in this field are wide, because about two thirds of apartments are older than 25 years. In Europe the proportion of building services delivered to and for existing stock is around 50 percent. Small and medium-sized building firms can benefit from this attractive segment, which holds great promise for the future.

BAU is dedicating a special exhibition area to the subject of renovation and modernisation, in Hall B0. Grouped together here are all the initiatives and activities at national and European level.

The themes include: Buildings diagnosis, Universal design, Identifying and rectifying problems, Energy-saving building, Legislation and regulations governing building modernisation, Finance and grants.

Each day, under the motto 'Renovation and Modernisation Marketplace', there will be a series of lectures, seminars and workshops. In total, there will be over 50 lectures on the programme – and all of them are free and open to BAU visitors. Simultaneous interpretation (German/English) will be provided for all the lectures.

At BAU 2009 an award for product innovation will again be presented – this is aimed at spotlighting product innovations that meet the needs of R&M particularly well. The partners in this project are the German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs and the Bundesarbeitskreis Altbauerneuerung.

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