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Responsibility: People – Environment – Technology

We live in a crisis-ridden age that is pointing the way to the future. Political unrest, the economic and euro crisis, and not least the planned phase-out of the use of nuclear power are kindling discussion about the topic of “responsibility”. People are currently being called upon to show responsibility and act conscientiously in various contexts. A myriad of aspects are dealt with, including people’s responsibility towards their fellow human beings and the coming generations; the responsibility of policymaking and
economics for environmental and climate protection; the responsibility of industry and research for developing new technologies; and, not least, the responsibility of architects and architecture for creating future living spaces.

People all over the world are demonstrating for human rights and democracy, for socially compatible stock exchanges and stock markets, and against nuclear energy. Discussion continues about the value and costs of environmental and climate protection and about how to protect the people affected. For far too long, an energy concept has been oriented too one-sidedly to pure production costs. Clean solutions have to be found, towards regenerative energies, sustainable protection of natural resources, and a conscientious attitude towards people, the environment, and technology.

For companies and private people, this ultimately means taking responsibility for the environment and for coming generations. Everyone, in all areas, is expected to act conscientiously and sustainably, regardless of whether it is about co-determination in a democratic society, private provision of the individual, or social responsibility of companies. Assuming responsibility means thinking holistically. Some of these aspects are now defined and regulated precisely, while others are still in a process of development. Responsible construction, for example, is often equated with sustainable construction. Certification systems are used to document this aspect of responsibility.

International climate policy is putting high hopes in the construction industry. Whether the CO2 reduction targets can be achieved hinges decisively on measures taken in the building sector, as building maintenance is responsible for a large part of energy consumption. International efforts are putting great pressure on the construction industry. The latter is responding by developing innovative technologies, by getting involved in new fields of research and using future-oriented materials and efficient systems. Areas such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are also becoming more and more important. CSR is based on three pillars – social concerns, economic concerns, and environmental issues. Although there is now an ISO norm that evaluates this aspect, the principle is primarily based on voluntary participation of companies.