It takes courage for investors to choose innovative methods to raise new structures or to renovate existing buildings. As planners of buildings and building services systems tend to rely on tried-and-tested solutions, the building industry was frequently criticised for being conservative. In Germany and Europe, the aim of transforming the stock of buildings during the next 30 years to achieve carbon neutrality has been politically agreed. At the Paris climate summit, decarbonisation of the industrialised society (low-carbon world economy) has been confirmed as a long-term goal. To reduce the fossil energy use of existing and future buildings significantly, it is however mandatory to find new solutions. In this context, demonstration buildings are of key importance. They point out new approaches, they pave the way for new energy-saving building technologies, and they demonstrate the feasibility and encourage large-scale replication.
The building envelope is the central interface with the external world, which defines the energy demand of a building and the thermal comfort within its individual spaces. Besides, it is a well-known fact that user behaviour has a considerable influence on energy consumption. This is one of the reasons why calculated values of a building's energy demand may significantly vary from actually measured consumption data. Key factors influencing energy consumption include the level of thermal comfort in the respective area of the building and ventilation patterns. Customized measuring programmes enable researchers to investigate specific questions in demonstration projects and to examine the suitability of certain solutions for practical application.
To date, Fraunhofer IBP has implemented and monitored more than 250 demonstration projects worldwide. The EER working group 'Evaluation and Demonstration' therefore has a vast body of practical experience. It also relies on a comprehensive database documenting user behaviour and efficiency characteristics. As early as in the planning stage, the working group advises partners from industry, developers and investors on their novel and innovative technical building systems. This includes quality assurance systems, which should always be applied when realising planned high-efficiency buildings. By applying tools and methods of damage analysis, causes of deficits or undesirable developments can be identified. The experience gained from research and development is incorporated into standards by collaboration with standardization committees.