Green buildings and lived sustainabilities in Germany and Luxembourg (LIVEABLE)


In 2019, the European Union (EU) adopted the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. In implementing this ambitious goal, the building industry plays a central role due to its high proportion of CO2 emissions and its significant savings potential. In the EU, buildings alone are responsible for around 40% of the energy consumption and 36% of the CO2 emissions. Research endeavours to date focused primarily on examining the building industry through innovations and adaptations in the planning and construction phase. However, a significant challenge is the existing, largely energy-inefficient building stock. There is a lack of knowledge on "green" buildings after commissioning, their forms of use and their effects on users.

Research Objectives

The LIVEABLE research project investigates everyday usage practices of green buildings through the interdependencies between conception and realization and daily practices of living and working in green buildings. For this study, we define green buildings as buildings and building ensembles that are designed and built to reduce environmental impact both during construction and in operation encompassing green technologies, design features and building materials. The focus is on the transformation of the users' everyday "lived sustainabilities" and the resistance to change that characterizes interdependencies between discourses of green building (perspectives and interpretations), activities of building, living and working, and the green buildings themselves. This perspective focuses on the potentially transformative role of green buildings and their specific material manifestations through changing behaviours, social values, and norms. Building traditions, the buildings themselves, and social conventions influence perceptions, expectations, and lifestyles. Beyond using buildings, living and working practices are interwoven with other areas of life, such as mobility, education, and health.

Project duration: 2023-2026

In the case studies, mainly qualitative data collection examines usage practices in green residential and office buildings in the Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany) and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (LU).

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)


Prof Dr Julia Affolderbach, Trier University, project management

Dr Paula Hild, Trier University, project collaborator

Dr Kirstie O'Neill, Cardiff University, scientific collaboration

Prof Dr Christian Schulz, University of Luxembourg, scientific collaboration


Affolderbach, J. and O’Neill, K. (2023) Everyday sustainability transitions through using green buildings: Spatial perspectives on materiality, discourses and lived sustainabilities. European Urban and Regional Studies. DOI: 10.1177/09697764231216407