The fellow projects BUILDSMART, DIRECTION, NEXT-Building and NEED4B, celebrated an international conference to show how possible it is to achieve real results on new buildings having in mind sustainability and energy efficiency, through the experience gathered by these demonstrative projects.
The event took place during the European Sustainable Energy Week 2014 (EUSEW) at the Committee of the Regions, in Brussels. Experts from the different fellow projects lead discussions to explore the technical, strategic, financial and policy spheres shaping a new generation of near zero-emission buildings.
Joining them for a round table session, Dr. Herbert Dorfmann(Member of the European Parliament) and Ms Aurore Brunson of Bruxelles Environment brought their policy perspective and challenging questions to the floor for a final round table session.
Different innovations for achieving the same goal
The four fellow projects work on energy efficiency in buildings and, despite addressing specific areas with their own distinctive targets, they have an overlapping scope: achieving very low energy buildings. This way the conference presented the solutions that projects from different regions in Europe have adopted to reduce their energy consumption, according to their buildings typology and their climatic conditions.
The NEED4B partner Ozygin University was in charge of presenting the key aspects of the project to the audience, as well as its 5 demo sites. Specially the latest developments of the students’ residence being built in Turkey, where cooling earth tubes, photovoltaic panels and passive light reflection are some of the solutions adopted. “The technology is there, we know how to combine engineering and architecture to minimize energy loss,” said Professor Pinar Mengüç, “…we must also now consider social innovation, behavioural and social sciences and communication techniques to ensure lasting change”.
In Malmö, home display applications inform residents and capitalize on smart grid synergies while at Munich, pre-emptive heating or cooling actions are automated depending on the incoming weather report. In Amsterdam, self-organizing groups of citizens will occupy building constructed with a state of the art shells and smart connectivity complemented by a “menu” of building features to compose their own energy neutral dream house.
In addition to these developments, a total amount of 22 demo sites allocated in 11 European countries were discussed, opening the door for the exchange of opinions and new ideas.
Europe improving Europe
Besides facilitating the sharing of ideas and best-practises, and to encourage networking, the conference also aimed to gave examples of how EU support (in economic and policy terms) can contribute to achieve further goals than the ones achieved by each Member by its own.
One of this examples is the Lyon Confluence, a major urban renovation project aiming to deliver 1 million net square meters of building space over 150 hectares. By 2020, its ambition is to provide space for 20,000 residents and 22,000 jobs.
Laying the foundations of the future buildings
The event addressed European political decision makers and public authorities at regional and local level, as they are key players able to increase awareness among policy makers or support favourable legislative framework creation and public procurement
The final goal of the conference was to demonstrate how low energy efficient buildings can be achieved at affordable costs for the benefit of a sustainable environment and how the users of the buildings can enjoy a comfortable environment at work and in everyday life.