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Build Green Cee Conference Opens

Buildings account for 37 per cent of overall energy consumption. In fact, buildings and transport collectively emit 50 per cent of overall green emissions, participants in the Building Green CEE: Energy Efficient and Ecological Design for the Region conference concluded at the opening panel on April 23. The two-day conference, ending on April 24, is taking place in Bucharest, Romania.

Participants agreed that constructing "green" buildings is an essential element of an overall strategy to reduce growing energy consumption and greenhouse emissions, both identified as the main drivers of climate change.

To steer changes in buildings' consumption and emissions parameters, all parties involved in the construction of the entire scope of developments must be involved, said Joanna Barrata Korreia, who presented the Vision 2050 of the World Building Council. The council currently implements a project identifying buildings' impact on environment. These involve not only developers and financiers, but also both government and non-governmental institutions and assessors of buildings, among others.

To ensure a concerted approach to the issue, Steven Bornkamp, CEO of Sopolec, the conference organiser, called for creating a Green Building Council, following the example of the US and UAE. Such an entity, which would have companies and non-governmental organisations as members, would approach public authorities to push through regulatory changes that would ensure the green concept takes root.

The idea has been warmly received by the local environment and public housing ministry and has been on its way to implementation in Romania, just like it has been in Turkey, Greece, Israel and Poland, Bornkamp said.

Anna Surgenor, working for BREEAM, a UK charitable organisation, and one of the first officially recognised assessors of buildings Europewide, said that all new buildings should be tailored to this new green standard. The association has drawn up a weighted scoring system to judge the adherence of new buildings to criteria such as energy consumption, environmental performance, health and wellbeing, access to amenities. An internationally recognised score, based on compliance with guidelines, will be allocated to each building.