Impressions from the “Sustainable Construction Materials” Workshop

March 26, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Events | Leave a comment
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Motto: “Buildings account for one-sixth of the world’s fresh water withdrawals, one-quarter of its wood harvest, and two-fifths of its material and energy flows” (Roodman and Lenssen, 1995).

On March 19, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bucharest, the Romania Green Building Council organized a full day course on “Sustainable Construction Materials” to assist manufacturers, designers, and other solution providers in understanding the options available, necessary steps and opportunities related to green construction principles.
With more than 60 participants, the event was a great success.

Key representatives from the construction sector attended the event, including: constructors, architects and engineers, real estate developers, manufacturers and providers of construction materials, public authorities, academia, etc.

The main objective of the course was to highlight the challenges and opportunities on the building materials market, in the context of the rapid changes in the European legislation towards a more ecological and sustainable framework. Speakers included: Florin Dobrescu – Technical Consultant for the Romania Green Building Council, Anamaria Stroia and Iulia Degeratu – Public Managers for the Ministry of Environment, Steven Borncamp – President of the Romania Green Building Council, Anna-Maria Schiau and Alina Cristea – Holcim Romania.

The course discussed the implications of the European Directive regarding the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD), of the development of criteria for obtaining the European Eco Label in the construction sector (M350), of the Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production/Sustainable Industrial Production (SCP/SIP), of the Directives regarding the Green Public Procurement (GPP), Ecodesign, etc. Another important Directive is the one regulating the Construction Waste, which launches a new challenge for the entire construction industry: By 2020, a minimum of 70% of construction and demolition waste will need to be re-used, recycled or otherwise recovered.

Other topics included: sustainable development, green building, regenerative design, or “cradle to cradle”, as well as the transformations that these concepts bring to the building materials industry and to the way in which buildings are designed, constructed, operated, renovated and finally deconstructed.

Florin Dobrescu also illustrated the green buildings voluntary certification schemes: LEED (US), BREEAM (UK), HQE (France), Green Star (Australia) and CASBEE (Japan) – through representative projects. Moreover, Mr. Dobrescu highlighted their role in educating the public, in auditing the sustainability and quality of the constructions and in developing industry standards and legislation.

The workshop also described the characteristics of the sustainable construction materials in the context of sustainable usage (in terms of durability, ecology, flexibility, reuse, recovery, recycling, etc.). The discussions continued with the presentation of the ways in which a toxic product can be transformed into new, viable products, that meet global and EU environmental standards and qualify for inclusion in green certified buildings.

The trainers also offered a brief description of the construction materials and technologies, including:

  • widely used materials: ecological cements, with a carbon footprint reduced by 40%, reinforced concrete with natural or artificial fibers, lightweight aggregate concrete, etc.
  • traditional construction technologies that undergo revolutionary transformations and have an exceptional green potential: the earth based construction techniques used in office, tourist and commercial buildings
  • construction materials used in aerospace that begin to be used in construction as well: from aerogel (the lowest-density solid-state material, with high performance insulation properties), to electrochromic and thermochromic windows
  • the ordinary materials, usually ignored, from pipes, cables, air-tightening materials, etc, that have an important impact on the environment and on the natural resources
  • construction materials with recycled content: non-woven geotextiles, polyester cotton insulation, recycled PET products, etc

The attendance of public authority representatives, as well as the discussions among participants illustrated the involvement and the preoccupations of the industry in sustainability and ecology.

The event ended with a networking cocktail meant to facilitate the interaction and the collaboration among the workshop participants and the RoGBC members.

More photos will be soon published on the event website.

Laura

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