Panel 7. Make buildings policies great again

In 2019, 50 years after landing on the moon, we will witness another giant leap – at least according to Article 9 of the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, EPBD: “New buildings occupied and owned by public authorities are nearly zero-energy buildings”. Are they? In 2019?

This is an example of public policies. Yet it needs to be supported by policies of e.g. large corporations who can set examples of how to deal with their building stock. Climate and social science leave no doubt policies really have to deliver now to make buildings adequately contribute to a sustainable pathway as, e.g., set out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. But policies are not there yet.

More and better action needs to be taken much more seriously across the whole policy cycle: target setting, strategy development, implementation, enforcement and evaluation, from both public and private players. Insufficiencies in any of these steps will cause failure. Undoubtedly this is an enormously challenging task in a complex dynamic world: even before 2°C targets had been adequately translated into buildings policies, Paris’ “well below 2 °C” was on the radar; summer 2018 mirrors the urgency to act on cooling; micro-economically “feasible” building concepts lag behind societal targets; non-residential buildings – still a black hole; how to couple the building sector with transport and supply?; how to factor in energy poverty, health, productivity and other multiple benefits as hard rather than soft facts?; how does policy making consider one of the persistent barriers to energy efficiency in buildings – real decision making of actors that affects the building stock, its underlying energy system and their operation?

Keeping in mind the aspects just mentioned, we invite authors to hand in high-quality contributions that cover new perspectives and insights of the following topics or their combinations at regional, national, community or district level for both public and private players – and provided we have a sufficient number of high quality contributions will allow us to launch a special session on this topic:

  • “Paris compatibility” of existing public and private sector policy frameworks’ ambition level (i.e. including private initiatives like “sustainability” certificates, Science Based Targets etc.)
  • Public and private sector policies that deliver real and sufficient savings in buildings: strategy, implementation, monitoring, verification and evaluation
  • Public and private sector policies and programs to specifically support reduction of absolute rather than just specific (e.g. per m2) energy demand (sufficiency) in buildings
  • Examples of public and private sector projects/programs/hard facts where multiple benefits have clearly supported policy-making to increase the ambition towards a sustainable level
  • Climate neutral buildings: how to determine the “right” balance between efficiency and renewable energies?
  • Energy poverty: does it decline or grow in the context of potentially conflicting interests between ambitious retrofit and the provision of affordable living space?
  • Examples of financing instruments to promote “Paris compatible” buildings

Panel leaders

Sibylle Braungardt, Öko Institute, Germany

Sibylle is a Senior Researcher in the Energy and Climate Division at Öko-Institut in Freiburg. Prior to joining Öko-Institut, she worked as a Senior Researcher at the Competence Center for Energy Policy and Energy Markets at Fraunhofer ISI. Her main fields of research are in the area of energy policy analysis with an emphasis on the design and evaluation of policy instruments for renewable energies and energy efficiency in buildings. Sibylle has coordinated and participated in numerous research projects at international, European, national and community level. She obtained her PhD at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) in Barcelona in 2011 and holds a diploma in Physics and a Masters degree in Environmental Sciences. Since 2015, Sibylle is a lecturer at Freiburg University in the field of energy policy.

Andreas Hermelink, Navigant, Germany

Dr. Andreas H. Hermelink is an Associate Director with Ecofys, a Navigant company. He has a background in Business Economics (Dipl.-Kfm.) and Civil Engineering (Dipl.-Ing.), and holds a PhD on Sustainability Evaluation of Buildings (Dr.-Ing.) Being a certified consultant for rational use of energy in buildings, he has 18 years of professional experience in energy related user behaviour, environmental life-cycle assessment, cost-benefit-analysis and application of passive house and very low energy philosophy in new and existing buildings and neighbourhoods. He was awarded the European Solar Prize, the Energy Globe Hungary and the 3rd prize in the International Energy Globe for a first time very low energy renovation of a large multi-family building in Eastern Europe ( As Associate Director Dr. Hermelink has managed several cutting edge projects for both public and private clients worldwide. Before joining Ecofys, a Navigant company, in 2008, Andreas worked as project manager at the University of Kassel (Germany) and research manager at the Florida Solar Energy Center (USA). Dr. Hermelink frequently supports conferences as a key note speaker, session moderator or member of the scientific committee.

2019 Partners