Prof. Dr. Lamia Messari-Becker: Sustainable thinking and building are in demand

22. September 2023 – Katharina Schlangenotto

Lamia Messari-Becker: “Germany has made gross mistakes in energy policy.”

Since the flood disaster in Germany in 2021, Lamia Messari-Becker, a professor at the University of Siegen, has been a familiar face on expert panels on the topics of energy, climate protection or sustainable building.

The Moroccan-born professor of building technology and building physics at the University of Siegen doesn’t mince words when it comes to Germany’s energy policy and “the gross mistakes” that politicians have made in the process.

In an interview in November 2022, she told Manager Magazin clearly what she thinks is going wrong: “Germany has made gross mistakes in its energy policy. The dependence on Russian gas is one, but just as short-sighted was the exclusive focus on electricity. Germany has a final energy demand of around 2330 terawatt hours in 2020. Of this, electricity as a form of energy accounts for only 20 percent, with the rest divided between heat and fuels. Many politicians and experts have conveyed the image that we can not only replace existing electricity generation with wind and solar power, but that electricity will also take over the function of all other forms of energy, i.e. supplying industry, buildings and transport. That’s wishful thinking.”

Because Lamia Messari-Becker is not one of those experts who only point out the difficulties and do not offer solutions, she also provides concrete approaches:

Energy transition: Solar and wind power can’t be everything

She says: “The goal must be to produce electricity, heat and fuels in a climate-neutral way. Wind and solar power must be joined by other options for generating heat, such as solar thermal energy, geothermal energy and biomass. Deep geothermal energy can be used to generate heat and electricity. Hydrogen, too, could be used not only in industry but also in buildings. We need to do better in terms of energy efficiency. Billions of liters of wastewater flow into the sewage system every year without using the heat it contains. We simply throw it away. It’s similar with industrial waste heat.”

As if that weren’t enough of a challenge, construction costs have also shot through the roof since the pandemic and the start of the war Russia is waging against Ukraine. Interest rate policy has also moved to the detriment of home loan savers and willing home builders, and inflation continues to rise.

Prof. Dr Lamia Messari-Becker takes a critical view of the situation.

Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?

In a recent interview with tagesschau24.de, she openly expresses her concerns: “In addition, the industry is suffering from a shortage of skilled workers and an increasing number of specifications, for example in noise protection and energy-efficient construction. Some of these even contradict each other.”

In addition, there are home-made problems, according to the professor, for example, the industry is acting far too slowly because it has apparently slept through digitization.

Sustainable building and thinking are needed

With all these challenges, it almost sounds like cosmetics when Lamia Messari-Becker talks about her heart’s desire: sustainable construction. Among other things, this involves the Building Energy Act, which envisions reducing CO2 emissions from buildings by a whopping 40 percent by 2030. In seven years, what previously took 30 years is supposed to happen, and the Building Energy Act is supposed to ensure that the “necessary heating turnaround” and the switch to renewable heating is realized from 2024.

How realistic is that? As it is her way, Lamia Messari-Becker speaks the truths that politicians are likely to find rather unpleasant.

In a guest article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, she makes a case for municipal heating planning, which the German government sees as the basis of the Building Energy Act, but at the same time she names conditions for clean implementation. There is talk of a “policy from a single mould”, of flexibility, more personnel and knowledge transfer among each other, of long-term thinking instead of thinking in terms of legislative periods, reduction of bureaucracy and much more.

It is important that someone who is heard and recognized by the public speaks truths openly. This is exactly what Lamia Messari-Becker does.

Her lectures resonate. She speaks of a world that should actually be normal. Lamia Messari-Becker wants to make sure that this normality becomes reality again. That is what she does. Publicly and in her truthful keynotes.

Book Prof. Dr. Lamia Messari-Becker for talks at Premium Speakers: +1 (704) 804 1054 or welcome@premium-speakers.com

Lamia Messari-Becker

Expert Sustainability, Energy transition, Circular Economy & E-mobility