Energy & Buildings welcome speech by Annika Glader

18.3 2016

Annika Glader

Both at EU and member state levels, targets have been set to promote economic growth and more jobs. A more efficient usage of resources, including energy, forms the basis for financial growth and sustainable development. One important factor when it comes to stopping climate change is the energy efficiency of buildings. Energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings represents around 40 % of total final energy use.

One threat when trying to maintain sustainable buildings is moisture and mold problems. The neglected building maintenance is currently estimated to 30-50 billion euros in Finland. Neglected building maintenance and postponed repairs leads to aggravated user health problems and more extensive need and increased costs for repairs.

The Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences in Sweden (called IVA) points on strategies to reduce energy use in buildings. Sweden has 4.4 million residences, of which 75 % is estimated to need significant measures until 2050. The costs of increasing the energy efficiency in buildings could be significantly lowered if coordinated with necessary renovations. One main problem, according to IVA, is insufficient expertise in how to perform energy efficient renovations. They recommend the establishment of a Renovation Center as a means for achieving the energy goals. The center should promote research and innovation, strengthen education and information and gather already existing knowledge and convey it on a practical level to relevant stakeholders. Lunds Tekniska Högskola has responded to the IVA initiative and started a Swedish National Renovation Center.

The main goal for the RC project is to increase the number of skilled professionals needed to perform resource and energy efficient renovations within the Botnia Atlantica region. This would improve the overall quality of our building stock and promote the development of more sustainable buildings. One way to reach the goal is to establish a Nordic Renovation Center. The center would be a Nordic knowledge network that would share best practices and support regional stakeholders with information, education and new pedagogical tools on how to perform sustainable renovations.

The primary target groups are companies within the building sector, municipalities and house owners. In order to provide relevant information to the target groups we will first gather information on their needs. The information gathered from house owners will help companies and policy makers to understand their client’s concerns and expectations. It will also bee a tool when developing appropriate strategies to increases the rate of adoption of energy efficient renovations.

Interviews will also be conducted in order to assess the companies and municipalities needs and perspectives. Initial visits are conducted during the first year of the project. Based on their needs, simple and pedagogical tools will be searched for and translated or developed. During the second and third year, the information material will be discussed and tested.

A successful renovation should result in a building with a healthy and comfortable indoor climate, safe moisture performance of structures, improved energy efficiency and improved resource efficiency in the form of recyclable materials and elements. The RC project will compare different national approaches, develop comparable data and tools and share best practices.

To be able to educate different stakeholders, the project also needs to increase the availability of innovative and flexible pedagogical tools. Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching and learning as well as for research purposes.

Bergö skola

Bergö skola

In order to increase the understanding of advanced technical building processes the project will compile different types of digital case studies. One example is the Case Bergö skola study, that is the first attempt to learn how to use the Swedish method ByggaF in practice in Finland. The Swedish Building Regulations recommend all major construction projects to hire a moisture safety expert. The purpose of ByggaF is to highlight moisture issues at an early stage in both new construction and renovation and refurbishment projects and to document the activities that are required in a structured way to ensure a moisture-proof building. Case Bergö skola will be presented next month here in Vasa on 14 april.

All project must have a dissemination strategy as part of the project plan and this seminar during the Energy Week is our first event. Here we have been able to gather a group of dedicated professionals that will give you an update regarding sustainable renovation. I hope you all have an interresting day with a lot of new valuable information.