Romania and Dutch Green Building Councils organize busy week of knowledge exchange

July 5, 2011 at 10:50 am | Posted in Events | Leave a comment
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(Text prepared by the Dutch Green Building Council )

In the last week of June 2011, no less than 10 Green Building Councils gathered in Romania for the exchange of experiences and for collective inspiration. Initiated by the Romania and Dutch Councils, the three-day event hosted representatives of Turkey, Slovakia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Spain and Serbia. This list excludes the physically absent representatives of the Polish and Russian Councils, who were  thankfully close by through Skype.    The exchange initiative received financial support by the RoGBC, Dutch GBC (DGBC), and  ERSTE Immorent Group and included a “hands on workshop”, team building, and an event organized with the Dutch Embassy and the Netherlands – Romanian Chamber of Commerce.

To everyone’s satisfaction, the initiative proved to be much more than the intensification of acquaintances. Practical subjects such as business development, entrepreneurship and training programs were made sufficiently concrete, allowing a number of councils to implement the event’s results immediately upon their return home. As such, the Dutch GBC will expand its training program based on the existing Romania format.  Many councils will continue to build upon those results, continue to expand and improve them, while continuing the exchange of information and ideas with each other. Dutch GBC has promised sponsorship of five councils for this innovation project. An international Green Building Professional program will be launched which aims at professionals occupied with sustainable developments in the built environment. Due to the collaborative nature of these initiatives, the efforts per council remain limited. Furthermore, the DGBC has offered to build an international website for the exchange of information relevant to each councils’ participants, such as awarded Green Awards, a collective calendar, listed certified buildings and ‘green professionals’.

Many councils, some of whom at an early stage of development, benefited much from the experiences of others. Examples include techniques for the enticing of new participants and formats for the delivery of concrete results to the home market. Or, how does one start without a staff or in some cases, without an office, a website, with only a few participants?

All councils underlined a common ‘sense of urgency’. Travelling throughout Romania, it became clear just how much still needs to be done on the existing housing supply alone. It is an interesting market, in particular for Dutch enterprises specializing in existing buildings. On top of this redevelopment challenge, 1 million new housing units are needed, preferably with building costs around € 50,000. Despite this considerable challenge, there already is one Australian enterprise which claims to be able to deliver the product. Cheap through prefabrication, and very energy efficient. Who will lay their claim on this commercial opportunity?

At the event “Opportunities and Innovation: Dutch and Romanian Solutions for Sustainable Buildings” where the Dutch Ambassador Mrs. Van Gool also spoke, Thermaflex, Hunter Douglas and Schneider Electric all gave a presentation as enterprises already active in the region with green building projects. Grontmij gave a presentation on BREEAM In Use.

Altogether it proved to be a very useful trip, not in the least for the Dutch GBC team. As an extra bonus, the team has drawn newfound inspiration and drive for sustainability. The difficult circumstances in some other nations has led us to realize the privileged situation we encounter in the Netherlands where the DGBC has the overwhelming support of its participants. Their faith makes anything possible, not only on a Dutch scale but – in all modesty – also on an international scale.

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