World GBC is hiring Senior Policy Advisor for the Europe Regional Network

January 25, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Posted in General, Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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Green Building Councils in Europe are getting more active with their policy work at the EU level! World GBC is looking to hire a resource with a solid policy background and experience with EU lobbying. The location is flexible, but the new resource has to be able to travel easily to Brussels. For more information please check the WorldGBC website here.


Romania to present at top conference in Istanbul

January 25, 2012 at 6:38 am | Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Steven Borncamp has been invited by the Turkish Green Building Council to speak about green building activities in Romania and the Central Eastern European region.   The conference will present a variety of international speakers including Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman of the World Green Building Council and Founding  President and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, Minister of Environment and Urban Planning of Turkey Erdogan Bayraktar, Prof. Michael Braugart – co-author of Cradle 2 Cradle, and leaders of Europe’s Green Building Councils among many others.

Details of the 20-21 February conference are here.

Energy Efficiency Directive: Potential for job creation and green growth – how is the European Parliament going to achieve it?

January 16, 2012 at 5:57 am | Posted in Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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The negotiation on the upcoming Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) is at stake in the next coming months. I wrote in a previous article about the proposed text of the European Commission and how it will impact the building sector and I also promised to come with more updates.

Last fall, MEP Claude Turmes (the Rapporteur assigned in the European Parliament to lead the negotiations on this file) came with a much clearly defined legislative proposal on the binding measures to be implemented by the Member States in order to achieve the voluntary 20% energy efficiency target. The measures that have most impact on the building industry are the ones regarding the 3% yearly renovation target for public buildings (Art.4) and the Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes that Member States have to put in place (Art.6).    The European Parliament (through its Rapporteur, MEP Claude Turmes) came with some significant changes that could transform the Directive in a powerful policy that would create jobs and stimulate green growth.

Why is the proposal of MEP Claude Turmes, more powerful?

It introduces a new article on Member States having to set in place financial facilities to aggregate multiple streams of financing, which would be the major source of funding for implementing the measures in the Directive. The article is essential since without securing proper funding, the implementation of the measures at the national level and the Directive’s potential for creating jobs and trigger innovation are questionable.

For the section on public buildings renovation ( Art.3a and Art.4) MEP Claude Turmes’ Draft Report:

  • Sets as general objective for the Member States – to reduce by 31 Dec. 2050 the energy consumption of the existing building stock by 80% compared to the 2010 levels
  • Member States should submit by January 2014 national plans that should include:
    • A record of buildings differentiated by category
    • Deep renovation targets for 2020, 2030,2050 differentiated per category of buildings (all buildings are included, not just the public owned)
  • Priority  for deep and staged deep renovation should have:
    • Residential and commercial buildings with worst energy performance
    • Buildings that are owned or occupied by public authorities
  • In order to implement the plans Member States shall ensure that starting with January 2014 at least 3% of the total floor area owned or occupied by public bodies is subject annually to deep or staged deep renovation (where deep renovation is defined as refurbishment that reduces both the delivered and the final energy consumption with at least 75%  and staged deep renovation  is a refurbishment that reduces in stages the delivered and final energy consumption of a building by a total of at least 75% during a normal renovation cycle, while ensuring that any stage does not preclude or increase the costs of subsequent stages)

Another important provision is also the one on Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes – the supplier obligations.  According to the European Commission’s proposal Member States are supposed to set up an energy efficiency obligation scheme. This would oblige either all retailers or all energy distributors to annually save an amount of energy which equals 1,5% of their totally energy sales by volume in the previous year, but there are opt-out clauses. In his proposal, the Rapporteur wants the introduction of energy saving obligation schemes that would ensure that energy distributors and/or retail energy sales companies achieve cumulative annual end-use energy savings of at least 1.5% of their annual sales. The savings should be additional and to already existing programs and implemented measures and be accomplished among the final consumers.  Also Member States should ensure that the yearly energy savings of the obligated parties are achieved for at least 50% through long term saving measures such as deep renovation of buildings.

Next steps:

The European Parliament is expected to adopt its final position on the Energy Efficiency Directive in April. However the most challenging part will be the negotiations with the Council of Ministers (that represents the voice of national governments) that are supposed to happen also in the next coming months.

What do you think about the proposed measures for buildings? Will they stimulate the market? 

Do you see the deep renovation  and staged deep renovation standard (as they are defined now) achievable for public buildings in Romania?

Looking forward for feedback and opinions….

Anca Bieru

RoGBC founding member, Epstein Begins Construction Phase for Star Foods New Warehouse

January 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Green Building Projects, News from Members | Leave a comment
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RoGBC founding member, Epstein Engineering & Architecture has recently started the Construction phase of the new finished goods warehouse for Star Foods. Epstein is providing full architecture, engineering and construction project management services for the development of the new finished goods warehouse expansion. The facility will be delivered by mid 2012 and is located in Popesti Leordeni, on the southern outskirts of Bucharest.

The new 2,5 million euro development will be an extension of Star Food’s existing manufacturing and will include a finished products warehouse, in connection with the existing facility, an expediting area, and office and employee welfare areas, totaling approximately 4, 500 sq m.

The new warehouse area features state-of-the-art logistic center technologies including high bay rack storage and ESFR25 sprinklers, and T5 fluorescent lighting with photocell control. Additionally, the project includes upgrades to the fire water supply and protection systems for the entire manufacturing campus, a new guard house, new truck scale and truck maneuvering areas.

Randy Tharp, Managing Director of Epstein Architecture & Engineering

This new facility will contribute to the further development and expansion of Star Foods in Romania. Our architects and engineers have designed the new facility focusing on the functionality of the building from logistics operations perspective while maintaining close attention to keeping the project within the investment goals,” declared Randy Tharp, Managing Director of Epstein Architecture & Engineering.  “Our extensive logistic experience in the U.S. and Poland leads us to successfully apply the latest approaches and methods to similar projects here in Romania.”

Epstein is a Chicago-based architecture, engineering and construction company, active on the Romanian market for more than five years, developing successful projects for international clients like Lufkin Industries (manufacturing facility of 35,470 sq m located on an approximately 33.32 hectare site within the Ploiesti West Park in Romania), Cameron (12,500 sq m manufacturing and office facility in Ploiesti), Emerson (6,500 sq m production facility with an additional 1,800 sq m of office space completed in mid 2010, in Cluj Napoca), WDP Development (6,000 sq m automotive plastic injection molding plant for Röchling-Automotive in Oarja), and Petrom.

For nearly 90 years, Epstein has been associated with landmark design and engineering projects throughout the world. Epstein is a founding member of the ROGBC (Romania Green Building Council), providing sustainable design, engineering and construction solutions for clients in the commercial, industrial and public sector.

Star Foods is the Romanian snack food division of PepsiCo International and this facility produces Lays Potato Chips and Star brand popcorn, nuts, and other snacks foods.

PepsiCo entered the Romanian market in 2004, acquiring the market leader of potato chips, the company Star Foods, present in Romania since 1993. Thus, PepsiCo became one of the most important players, within snacks market in Romania.

Congratulations and good luck going forward!

Cristina Siu


Epstein has been a leader in the area of Sustainable Design and LEED Certification. Epstein currently has 28 LEED Certified projects and 28 LEED projects pending. Our LEED Certified projects account for over 1% of all LEED Certified projects in the world by with a total area of 1,432,548 sq m (15,419,810 square feet).

Which cities in the world are the leaders in implementing green building policies?

January 10, 2012 at 1:06 am | Posted in Certification, Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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World Green Building Council, partnering with ICLEI International and UN Habitat, announced the winners of the first annual World GBC Government Leadership Awards, last December in Durban, during the climate change negotiations. Over 80 Green Building Councils around the world together with  ICLEI and UN Habitat network  members, had the chance to nominate local government policies implemented in their countries that should be considered best practices for the way they maximize the opportunity of building green.

There were 22 nominations made and 6 prizes awarded. The Best Green Building Policy was awarded to the city of San Francisco for the “San Francisco Green Building Ordinances” – considered to be the strictest, most ambitious and most comprehensive policy approach to the build environment yet undertaken by any US city.

The main tool used by the city to encourage green building development/ rehabilitation is  the implementation of very strict standards  for energy, water management, recycling. All municipal buildings have to attain LEED Gold Certification, while private buildings (new commercial and residential) must meet LEED or California-based Green Point rated standards. Certification for private buildings is not mandatory, but projects committing to LEED Gold receive priority in permitting queues.  The performance of existing building stock is addressed through requirements for annual public disclosure of energy label, energy audits every 5 years, water efficiency retrofits at time of sale and mandatory  recycling and composting. Financing mechanisms such as Green FinanceSF Pace program, were also put in place to assist building owners with implementing the policies.

Birmingham from UK received  the Urban Retrofit Award, being the only European city from the several nominated to get an official prize. Birmingham City Council’s Energy Savers Program demonstrates how the famous UK Green Deal initiative is implemented at the city level .The Green Deal will allow householders to improve energy efficiency in their homes and pay off the costs of this measures from savings made on energy bills over time. Birmingham’s Energy Savers Program has as an immediate objective to fund the energy efficiency improvements of 15.000 houses and 40 public buildings by 2015, but the program is expected to lead to green retrofit for 200,000 buildings in the next 15 years. The green retrofits will include installation of energy efficiency measures and renewable solutions, and the target beneficiaries will be mostly the households from Birmingham affected by fuel poverty (spending more than 10% of their monthly income on energy bills). The program is expected to create over 60,000 green jobs at the local level – from installation engineers to designers etc.

WorldGBC made available a special report where you can find details on the other cities that received awards and the ones that were nominated. You can find out :

  • how did Tokyo implement the world’s first Carbon Trading Scheme for reducing CO2 emissions from large commercial and industrial buildings
  • details on the New York’s Greener Greater Buildings Plan – the set of policies that deals with reducing energy and water consumption in city’s largest existing buildings
  • how Mexico City’s integrated policy – Climate Action Plan 2008-2012 – is supposed to reduce the city’s green house gas emissions with 12% by 2012
  • what are the other European cities nominated for their ambitious local policies

…any many other details in the report here and on World GBC website here.

Also, if RoGBC was to nominate a city from Romania for the Leadership Awards in 2012, which city would you suggest us to pick?

Looking forward for your feedback!

Anca Bieru

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