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BIPE publishes papers on issues of relevance to sustainable construction

On 17 June 2015, the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) made available online 4 papers on Indoor Air Quality, Energy Performance Certificates, renovation strategies and fuel poverty. These were presented during the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE) Summer Study conference held at the beginning of June.

European Standardisation Summit spotlight on buildings

On 4 June 2015, the European Standardisation Summit was held in Riga under the auspices of the Latvian Presidency of the European Union. Much of the summit was dedicated to discussing ways in which standardisation can contribute to a cleaner and smarter economy in Europe, with a particular emphasis on construction.

Affordable housing – a pipedream, or a future reality?

According to Habitat for Humanity’s 2015 Housing Review1, the cost of housing places a heavy burden on over 10% of European households.  Of this 10%, more than 39% of families are also at risk of poverty. This is further backed by Eurostat figures which note that nearly 10% of EU citizens live in severe “material deprivation” – in new Member States this figure is almost double (18.6%). And it seems that the situation is not improving.

An energy efficiency mortgage for greener buildings

On 20 September 2016, the building sector joined forces in the launch of a new mortgage scheme offering lower rates to buyers opting for more energy efficient buildings. In order to be eligible, buyers would need to commit either purchasing more energy efficient homes or to carrying out energy-saving retrofits to the property purchased.

Brede School Zuidhorn

  • Case Image:
  • Key Facts:
    • Country: The Netherlands
    • Project: Brede School Zuidhorn
    • Client: municipality of Zuidhorn
    • Architect: KPB architecten, Groningen (until mid-2015: Team 4 architecten, Groningen)
    • Project team: Paul Klaas de Boer and Tom de Vries (KPB architecten), Dagmar Munneke (3DM ontwerp, Groningen; BIM), Gert Wage and Gerko Pit (Team 4 architecten)
    • Structural engineer: ABT / Wassenaar, Haren
    • Contractor: Friso Bouwgroep, Sneek
    • Building physics engineer: DGMR, Drachten
    • Landscape architect: MD-landschapsarchitecten, Groningen
    • Floor area: 6500 m2
    • Design period: 2012-2014
    • Start of construction: Summer 2014
    • Completion of project: July 2015
    • Photo credits: Mark Hadden
    • More information
Brede School Zuidhorn is a community school used for primary education (public and private), after-school care activities, sports, physical therapy and facilities for assisted living and working. During the design of the building, much attention has been paid to the different functions and to the different users of the building. The various program components are cleverly combined in a lens-shaped floor plan. Open spaces and squares connect the spaces and floors with each other.

CO2 and the built environment - The positive role of concrete

Concrete is a versatile, durable and resilient building material that is locally available across Europe. What is more, concrete buildings can deliver the lowest overall CO2 impact.  This is because, in order to realistically quantify the CO2 tag of a construction material such as concrete, it is important to look at the whole-life impact.  This includes extraction of raw materials, production & transport, building in use, lifetime and durability, and end of life.

Concrete Dialogue 2016: Responsible solutions to Europe’s housing challenges

There is a growing need for more affordable, energy efficient, comfortable housing, especially in our cities. We need innovative new collaborations from key players with scalable responses to these pressing challenges. This event provided a shared space for a range of stakeholders to consider what more the construction sector can do to help deliver solutions.

Driving sustainable building practices

With the aim of supporting sustainable property development,  the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Europe Regional Network of the World Green Building Council (WGBC) have joined forces to work on improving energy and resource efficiency, whilst at the same time reducing CO2 emissions.

Energy efficiency: Encouraging investment in building renovation

In order to increase the amount of buildings which are renovated in a way which makes them more energy efficient, financing and investment needs to be made available. With this in mind, the    “Investor Confidence Project Europe” (partially funded by Horizon 2020) aims to identify ways in which financing for the building renovation market can be unlocked.

Energy efficient & low CO2 buildings with concrete

The review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) provides us with an opportunity to raise the bar in terms of reducing the impact of buildings across Europe by making them more energy efficient. Whilst stakeholders agree that the existing Directive, dating back to 2010, has increased awareness about the importance of this issue,  experience in using the Directive has provided us with some food for thought as to how it could be further improved. With this in mind, the concrete sector has outlined the areas which it would like to see tackled and prioritised.

Energy poverty: evaluating and understanding the current situation

Energy poverty is an issue which is moving increasingly to the forefront of the wider EU debate on energy. Against this backdrop, the Commission is looking at ways in which it can support the Member States in protecting vulnerable consumers.   Areas in which it plans to take action include identifying good practices and facilitating an exchange of information. But first of all it is important to understand what is meant by energy poverty and what the extent of the problem really is. 

Energy producing, storing and supplying buildings

According to a paper published by the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) on 29 June 2016, buildings can play a very important role in a decarbonised energy system.  This is because buildings are increasingly capable of producing, storing and supplying energy, which allows for a more flexible, and less fossil-fuel based system. 

Energy storage in buildings – the potential in the Energy Package

Increasing renewable energy uptake will bring the need for greater energy flexibility and storage in order to match supply with demand. What if buildings could play this role, by offering thermal storage capacity that is currently untapped? This event will explore this concept, and make the link between the different elements of the Energy Package, from energy performance of buildings (EPBD) to electricity market design.

EPBD consultation preliminary results

On 3 December 2015, the preliminary results of the public consulation on the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) were made public by consultants Ecofys. 

Financial boost to sustainable urban development

With the aim of boosting investment in start-ups and sustainable urban development, the European Commission has recently launched two new financial instuments. One of the aims of these is to encourage the regeneration of urban areas.

German College of Madrid

  • Case Image:
  • Key Facts:
    • Country: Spain
    • Year of completion: 2015
    • Owner: German Government
    • Construction : Formento de Construcciones y Contratas S.A. & Viasy Construcciones S.A.
    • Architect: Günlucht Ernst Planungsgesellschaft Berlin GmbH
    • Engineering: BBR Referat IIIS2 Sra Brod, Sr. Ott
    • On-site Manager: BBR Referat IIIA1 Sr. Machens
    • Budget: €56m
    • Concrete volume:
      • Standard concrete 33900 m3
      • White SCC: 7500 m3
    • Total surface: 27063m2

German College was built with architectural White Agilia concrete, exposed white Artevia pavement and Hydromedia.

Global Alliance on Buildings and Construction launched

On 3 December 2015, the Global Alliance on Buildings and Construction was launched under the leadership of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  It gathers together countries, cities and public and private organizations from the building sector value chain, in order to scale up the implementation of ambitious actions towards the "below 2°C" pathway in buildings and construction sector.