Fields of business activities

IWU's task is to research - in interdisciplinary cooperation - present forms of housing and living conditions. A particular goal of the research work is to contribute to improving the housing conditions of weaker groups in the society. Moreover, the possibilities of minimized, efficient and environmentally and socially acceptable energy use are investigated.



Demographic change, increasing individualization of society, rising energy costs and a widening gap between the rich and the poor lead to a differentiated housing market. IWU contributes to transparency on the housing market by offering research and forecasts on supply and demand, market prices and housing vacancies. 

Main goal is to provide the federal states and towns with concepts and recommendations on how to avoid segregation and how to adjust to housing demand patterns on the one hand, and recommendations for energy efficient building refurbishment on the other hand. These analyses and forecasts are to be offered not only to public institutions but also to private institutions such as professional housing suppliers, real estate associations and financers.

IWU’s competences are primary data collection, representative samples, econometrics, microsimulations and geographic information services. With this knowledge base IWU is able to face new challenges and research topics day by day.



Climate protection is in need of resolute, target-orientated measures to reduce the use of fossil fuels. The building sector is one area, where massive savings can be achieved alone by technical measures without reducing living standards or established comforts. Highly effective thermal building insulation reduces the energy demand to a level so low that the energy demand can be met by using renewable energy sources on a wide basis.

IWU is active in developing a wholesome strategy to reduce the energy consumption of buildings on a regional, national and international scale. The existing instruments to reduce energy consumption and protect the climate (i.e. aid programs) are evaluated and various scenarios are analyzed by the institute, resulting in recommendations to improve these instruments.  

IWU also analyzes the general conditions of the decision making of players in the building sector (such as owners who rent their units or use them for their own purpose or persons interested in buying or renting). Goal is to develop concepts for improvements on all levels. In addition, methods and tools are created to support the implementation of energy reduction aspects in the daily planning, consulting and real estate business.

IWU sees the contribution of significant research results to these fields as one of its main tasks. It plays a role in developing adequate technical solutions and supports their introduction on the market. Pilot projects test the new technologies under real conditions for their actual energy efficiency and their gain for users in buildings.


Integrated sustainable development

IWU’s research is based on the general principle of sustainable development, where social, economic and ecologic needs are combined. We believe that sustainable development can only be successful when integrated processes of development and transformation are governed by interacting public and private players.

The implementation of this general principle is linked to urban spaces shaped by demographic, economic and ecologic changes in a special way. Cities are the driving forces behind social and economic growth and at the same time they are the central place for their surrounding region. They claim a disproportionately high amount of natural resources and produce up to 80 % of the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide.

The various dimensions of sustainable development are integrated in analyses, concepts and pilot projects. Solutions based on different scales – from single buildings to urban districts to regions – are developed and set in relation to one another. IWU combines strategies on efficiency, sufficiency and consistency.

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