The Living Building Challenge Certification

August 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Certification, General | Leave a comment
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LBC logo

Considered a “manifesto in the form of a certification standard”, the Living Building Challenge stands out through a stringency meant to inspire new solutions in order to minimize the negative impact that construction has on the environment, maximize the positive impact and insure the building’s independence from the point of view of resources. This system’s mission is not a mere certification, but performance and the opening of new paths towards excellence in the green building field.

The certification incorporates four main social and environmental problems – climate change,persistent toxic chemicals, loss of habitat/ extinction of species and global inequity, problems that it addressees through seven categories, named Petals, which will be discussed in the further on. The association to the flower comes from the concept of grounded, an organic development which supports the system it belongs to. Thus, the certification’s Petals refer to the various aspects of such a living construction, namely to Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity and Beauty.

The first Petal, related to the Site, aims to rebuild the connection between the urban and natural environments. Consequently, an essential aspect is that of not restricting the natural habitat, allowing the construction only on brownfield; additionally, a surface equivalent to the built area has to be devoted to ensuring the species’ freedom in nature. Also, the Living Building Challenge targets the creation of pedestrian areas, through efficient use of infrastructure and the proximity to facilities.

The Petal referring to water seeks to inspire the creation of places, buildings and communities relying on water independent systems that reuse water by filtering it without employing chemicals, gather the rain water and reduce the water consumption. This request is one of the main challenges for the design process, especially in residential areas, where water consumption is higher than in buildings with a discontinuous program. In the end though, this challenge is the first step towards innovation and more and more ingenious solutions custom made for each location.

The energetic request refers to a net zero energy consumption, the building relying on alternative forms of energy. Regarding the Health Petal, this is mostly concentrated on a civilized, healthy environment, and biophilia. The inhabitants need to be able to control air quality, thermal and visual comfort through windows that can be opened. In order to fulfill the biophilia standard, the design needs to be inspired from the elements of nature, helping create the human-nature connection.

The most consistent request of the Living Building Challenge is the one related to Materials, by recognizing and using strictly materials safe for all species in the long term. Thus, a Red List has been constructed, together with a document that inventories safe products – Declare, initiated by the Living Future Institute. Also in the Materials section, the reduction of carbon footprint, the local procurement of materials, the use of responsible industries and a waste recycling and reuse plan are included among the requirements.

Regarding Equity, the Living Building Challenge certified construction needs to be accessible for all social classes, maintaining an equitable life standard, to establish a proportional relation between the human scale and that of the building, all the while ensuring the right to nature, natural lighting and visual comfort for the inhabitants and the surrounding buildings. The Beauty Petal brings up discussions on the education and inspiration of future projects through esthetics and the harmonious integration of the project.

Currently there are 4 Living Building Challenge certified buildings worldwide, with another 40 registerd. Romania applies to this certification with 3 projects initiated by the Romania Green Building Council, who starting February 2011 has been a Living Building Challenge Ambassador. The three projects registered for certification are ecoBiblioteca, The Calnic Project and the RoGBC headquarters.

Do you want to certify a green building project and don’t know how?

January 31, 2013 at 11:00 am | Posted in Certification, General, Training | Leave a comment
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Do you want to become a BREEAM or LEED assessor?

RoGBC just prepared for you a brief presentation about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method).

This LEED information package summarizes what LEED is, measures and delivers, which the rating systems are, the steps to achieving certification and also how to become a LEED professional.

This BREEAM information package tells you about what BREEAM provides, its objectives, types of projects and buildings that can be assessed using BREEAM. You can also find out the main things regarding BREEAM certification and how to become a BREEAM assessor.

 

Sustainable Urban Building Contest 2013

January 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Posted in Academics, Certification, Events, General, Green Building Projects, Member Projects | Leave a comment
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Construction21 and Metropolitan Solutions are organising a new European online contest

Cities and local authorities worldwide have something in common: they have to become so called “Smart cities”. The intensifying trend of urbanisation forces cities to upgrade their existing infrastructure and to completely develop new forms of infrastructure. Therefore city planers, architects, technical experts and decision makers need smart and practicable solutions that are resource efficient, secure, low in emissions and reliable at the same time. Future infrastructural systems have to be intelligent, autonomously and interlinked to insure the provision of rapidly growing urban populations alongside a high quality of life.

Buildings are an important factor in this urban development, and the “Sustainable Urban Building Contest” seeks to address this aspect. With a view to promoting Best Practice solutions, we ask applicants submitting buildings to the contest to showcase

solutions that are already feasible and have been made reality today. For buildings you have already completed, show us:

1. How buildings can be integrated into the infrastructures of the “city of the future”

2. How buildings can make a positive contribution to infrastructures of the “city of the future”

3. How buildings can help improve quality of life in a city

Applications can be submitted online from the 21st of January 2013 until the 22nd of February in 2013.

The voting phase starts at the 25th of February until the 13th of March of 2013.

Read more about the Contest and the rules at Construction21.eu .

The winners will be awarded to present their Best Practice Solutions at the Metropolitan Solutions Fair in Hannover (8 – 12 April 2013). Metropolitan Solutions has developed as platform for applications and solutions for cities and megacities, and has grown significantly since its launch in 2011. In April 2012, more than 70 exhibitors showcased their offers on 3,000 square meters. Beginning in 2013 the trade show has more space in Hall 1 and an innovative concept of immersion in the “city of the future”. Instead of the usual exhibition passageways, for example, visitors walk along streets lit with streetlamps. Panoramic wall images display forward-looking products and urban development solutions. Visitors are brought to Hall 1 in electric cars.

“Renewed” legislative framework on supporting the renewable energy production in Romania

November 29, 2011 at 2:26 am | Posted in Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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What’s in it for the small producers?

After a long consultation period with the European Commission on how to structure and organize the system for supporting the production of electrical energy from renewable sources (RES), we finally have a revised law (OUG 88/2011 – text in RO here)  that is supposed to unlock the market in Romania.  The support system for RES producers was finally structured as following:

  • green certificates allocated to big RES producers per each MW of electricity sold – number of green certificates varies based on type of  renewable source used for production
  • specific regulated prices for the energy sold by small RES producers (less than 1MW installed)

I won’t go through the changes brought by the OUG 88/2011 for the big producers since I think they were well detailed in this article ( text only in RO).

For the building industry the most interesting part is Article 14, that explains how the system should work for the small producers:

  • the renewable energy produced can be sold by the small producers (less than 1 MW installed) to the energy distributors that have licenses in that area, at special regulated energy prices (unique prices per  type of technology)
  • the  energy distributors are obligated to buy the RES energy provided by the small producers (per their request), according to the conditions established by ANRE (National Authority for Energy Regulation)
  • the special regulated prices are established by ANRE based on a specific methodology and notified to the European Commission
  • the physical persons with production units lower than 50Kw  (electricity produced at the building site, mainly for own consumption) and public authorities that own production units (funded partially or totally by Structural Funds) may benefit of special quantification/control service offered by the distributor that allows leveling the differences  (financial and quantitative) between energy delivered and consumed (net metering)
  • the  RES energy produced by small producers will have priority access to the grid

The changes for the small producers (mostly net metering and priority access) sound promising but we still have to wait for the secondary legislation mainly the methodology for establishing the energy price and technical and commercial rules that define the priority access to the grid that should be developed by ANRE.

Hopefully the full development of secondary legislation will take less than 3 years –  what we waited for the famous Law 220 to become operational. For an updated list of secondary legislation that was developed so far around Law 220 /2008 modified by OUG 88/2011 please check here (in Ro only).

Anca Bieru

Green energy export

March 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Posted in General, Member Projects, News from Members | Leave a comment
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We would like to introduce a state of the art technology elaborated by one of our members. There is a linkage between the energetic and the construction and building sector, so this might be relevant new information.

SYNERGY Construction established the Georgia branch and started works for the SIEMENS HVDC technology to transmit eco-friendly electric power from Georgia to Turkey, as part of the Black Sea Transmission Network Project – one of the most significant infrastructure projects in Georgia. This project will contribute to the development of the country and will increase its integrity to western countries and market. The goal is to connect the Georgian power supply network with the grid system in Turkey and to transmit controlled electric power generated in various hydropower plants in Georgia to Turkey.

The works have been commissioned on 15.02.2011, as mentioned in the press release from SYNERGY. For more details please click here.

Georgiana B.

News from Cacica. EcoBiblioteca project

October 6, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Posted in ecobiblioteca, Green Building Projects | Leave a comment
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27 september was the date when the local companies from Suceava county and not only learned about the EcoBiblioteca project from Cacica. Through the help of the local authorities, RoGBC organized a meeting with the businesses and explained about the purpose and the intention of such a project. Trying to involve as much as possible local companies is a desirable aspect that RoGBC and biblionet wants to achieve through this sustainable renovation.

The presentation went well and we got positive reactions from the crowd.

The second part of the day was a survey made by the architecture company dicositiganas which will be responsible for the design of the project. We are very glad that we have mr Serban  Tigans, who was recently appointed president of the Romanian Order of Architects, as architect for EcoBiblioteca.

Things are moving in the right green direction.

RoGBC and biblionet make the next step in EcoBiblioteca project

October 6, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Posted in ecobiblioteca, Green Building Projects | Leave a comment
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On 7 september, RoGBC organized at our office an integrated design meeting which  gathered  all the parties involved in the project: RoGBC, biblionet, Corporate Office Solution, WSP, Dexion, B Lighting, InterfaceFloor, Dicositiganas and local authorities from Cacica. The summary of the project is to  renovate the Cacica library in a “green way” by significantly improving the design, energy performance, lighting quality, indoor air quality and comfort of the building. The project will encourage use of the library as a community space increasing visits and participation by the citizenry.   The project will build awareness of environmentally responsible and energy efficient building and renovation techniques and stimulate the creation of green jobs both locally and nationally.

The meeting was definitely a success. We split the discussion in 4 main points, and created 4 different tables;

1. Which are the obstacles encountered and how we overcome them?

2. How do we promote the “EcoLibrary” concept nationally?

3. The objectives of the project.

4. New ideas to overcome the “old” library concept.

All participants had the opportunity to rotate around the 4 tables. All parties expressed their opinion regarding each subject so the discussion was complete from all points of view and valuable information was gathered.

The participants were pleased with the way the meeting went.

The integrated design session is an important aspect for   green constructions, in our case this sustainable renovation.

We want to thank all the participants and for those who want to join this project the “doors” are open.

Catalin Gauloiu

ProLogis forms Global Renewable Energy Group

September 30, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Posted in News from Members | Leave a comment
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Prologis Sant Boi Aerial rendering online

ProLogis Sant Boi Aerial rendering online

The RoGBC member company ProLogis announced yesterday it has formed a Global Renewable Energy Group to procure new business, manage installations and provide development management services for renewable energy projects globally.

“Even through the challenges of the global recession we are finding more ways to create additional value from existing assets,” said Walt Rakowich, chief executive officer at ProLogis. “We are excited to announce the formation of this group, which will enable us to expand upon the proven success in wind and solar projects we already have demonstrated in five countries across Europe, Asia and North America.”

In addition, ProLogis announced a new, 4.8-megawatt (MW) solar project to be installed on eight of its rooftops at ProLogis Park Sant Boi in Barcelona and ProLogis Park Alcalá in Madrid, Spain. ProLogis completed its first solar installation in France in 2005, and now has solar installations on 20 buildings covering 669,000 square meters of roof space.

“Upon completion of the new project in Spain, we will have more than 11 MW of solar installations on our rooftops, which is enough energy to power more than 1,100 homes per year,” said Jack Rizzo, chief sustainability officer for ProLogis.

ProLogis has signed a lease agreement with Recurrent Energy, a distributed power company and a leading provider of solar energy, for 180,000 square meters of roof space in Spain. Recurrent will use the roof space to host its solar installation, and will sell the energy produced to the local utility company through a feed-in tariff. ProLogis will provide construction management services in addition to receiving roof rental fees. Construction is expected to commence in October 2009.

RoGBC signs position paper “Romania and Climate Change Policies – Economic Stimulus from a Green Economy”

September 19, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Posted in Events, Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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Rogbc 1The Romania Green Building Council (RoGBC) along with WWF Danube-Carpathian Romania, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Association of Energy Auditors for Buildings (AAEC) signed a shared position paper, regarding the measures that should be taken in order to encourage energy efficiency. The document, entitled “Romania and Climate Change Policies – Economic Stimulus from a Green Economy”, draws the attention on the economic opportunities associated with the implementation of environment policies, especially in the construction field. Some of the opportunities highlighted are the reducing energy costs, ensuring energy safety, raising comfort and creating new jobs.

In addition, the position paper underlines the necessity of immediate action in order to move towards a greener economy and explains that the practical measures to be applied do not represent budgetary costs, but investments towards a sustainable development. .

The position paper is available for reading here.

Oxford Sustainable Group launches €200 million renewable energy fund

August 25, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Member Projects, News from Members | Leave a comment
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oxfordThe RoGBC member Oxford Sustainable Group, the leading renewable/sustainable developer, announced the launch of The Oxford Renewable Energy Fund 9 (OREF 9) , a closed-ended fund to be listed on the Channel Island Stock Exchange (CISX) seeking to raise €200 million.  OREF 9 aims to add value, achieve capital growth and spread risk though investment in and development of a range of renewable energy projects primarily in Finland, Romania and Estonia.

The fund has a duration of five years and aims to deliver a low-risk 20% per annum return to investors after all costs and fees (net). The return requires zero bank financing, meaning high returns with low risk in the current financial market turmoil. The final development value of the projects generated could reach €2 billion.

The fund is targeting institutional and high net worth investors. The market in Central and Eastern Europe has performed well in the past compared to Western Europe and is expected to again perform strongly in the medium term. European and Global demand for energy is high and forecast to rapidly increase. Within Europe there is a strong government commitment to fixed targets and high subsidies to generate a minimum percentage of energy using renewable sources – some countries need to double their renewable capacity by 2020.

The Oxford Sustainable Group will select and manage OREF 9 projects through a process of careful and detailed analysis, due diligence and active management; this means that investments are selected based on the considerable value that the Oxford team can be add to them, taking account of project specifics, local area effects, general planning, political possibilities and market situation/trends. This is the same investment philosophy which Oxford’s previous eight investment opportunities have followed. To date, Oxford’s independently audited projects have delivered over 50% per annum on average.

Hadley Barrett, CEO, Oxford Sustainable Group said: “We have an impressive track record and years of experience leading our peers in this area. We are therefore delighted to launch OREF 9. In the current climate, the new fund represents a unique opportunity for sophisticated investors to generate strong returns. Our investment model is focused on adding value and does not count on passive asset appreciation. Added to our sustainable approach, we therefore outperform our peers, while preserving capital, even in a falling market, and creating value for our investors. The demand for renewable energy today vastly outstrips supply and the demand is only going to increase, so we are confident that investors are perfectly positioned to make excellent, risk-adjusted returns while contributing to social and economic future stability. I am sufficiently sure about this fund to kick it off with 20m Euro of my own money.“

The Oxford Sustainable Group goes further than other ethical/SRI methodologies in the market by using a proprietary 360 degree sustainable approach. This sustainable approach takes into consideration the effects of Oxford projects on all stakeholders.  Instead of focusing only on an “ethical” formula derived from narrow investment criteria, Oxford is concerned with how a project satisfies the needs of our investors, the environment, society, local residents and the broader economy.

The Oxford Sustainable Group was recently awarded CarbonNeutral status – the only CarbonNeutral renewable energy developer in the CEE region.

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