RoGBC Interview: Class A 2010

February 5, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Certification, Green Building Projects, News from Members | Leave a comment
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This January, the RoGBC suggests a sustainable New Year resolution: turning your home into a greener one. To prove that this is a feasible target, we invite you to take example form one of our very active members: Perry Zizzi, partner within Badea Clifford Chance, who achieved a Class A certificate for his home.

Lestat Monroe, the person behind the retrofitting of the home, as well as Ila Teodorescu, the auditor who rated the energy efficiency of the house agreed to explain the motivation, method and consequences of rating one’s home.

RoGBC: Why did you get your building audited?

Lestat Monroe: We believe in setting an example that green construction is feasible and desirable in Romania. There is also the personal conviction that we must green our homes and workplaces to ensure sustainability. Finally, there is no doubt that a building certified as energy efficient will — at least in the medium term — be more valuable than a building that is not.

RoGBC: What were your expectations and experience with the process?

L.M.: There is very little information on this, available to the average person. It is difficult to find companies that know the range of options available and that have the requisite expertise to properly install photovoltaic cells and other enhancements. We did all the research and educated ourselves, but we were still often told that nobody in Romania builds green, it is too expensive, etc. Because we made improvements that are not generally used in Romania, we expected that the building would get high marks.

RoGBC: Was the result as high as the expectations?
L.M.: The building earned the highest rating. It was gratifying to see so soon a pay-off from all the planning and extra effort to educate contractors and search for materials.

RoGBC: Will you be taking any next steps?

L.M.: We will continue to monitor technological developments and current trends in an effort to maintain an optimal mix of energy-saving features in the building.

RoGBC: Where is the most room for improvement for Romanian homes/buildings? The biggest  ROI?

L.M.: It’s simple: windows need to be closed when the heat or the air conditioning is on. If it is too hot, turn down the heat — don’t open the window. Same if it is too cold when the air conditioning is operating. This behavior is among the most wasteful and inefficient! Besides that, buildings could be better insulated, energy saving bulbs could be used, lights could be put on sensors to turn off automatically when a room is empty and water saving toilets could be used.

RoGBC: How was the process seen from the auditor’s point of view?

Ila Teodorescu: At present, a building is considered to be an organism undergoing permanent evolution, needing to be rehabilitated after a certain time and modernized in order to fit the requirements claimed by the owner, at a specific level.

RoGBC: Where do you think is the most room for improvement in Romanian homes?

I.T.: Improving or increasing energy efficiency has to start as a matter of educating the building users in the spirit of energy saving and has to go through affordable interventions, to energy auditing and finally receiving recommendations for technological improvements of the building. The building envelope is the area where most improvements can be done in order to rehabilitate the building. It is the biggest source of ROI as well. We have to bear in mind the fact that the costs associated with the thermal rehabilitation of a building are lower than the costs of installing a complementary thermal energy capacity.

Common sense and increasingly efficient technology are the two elements driving the future of responsible building. Ignoring either of the two can delay development and have a negative economic impact.

As in any other field, it is the awareness of the possibilities to improve that can transform our reality in a way that could pleasantly surprise even the most skeptical.

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