e3building - ecology, economy, efficiency: An International Network for the Entire Building Industry
The objective of E3Building within the last five years was it to organise co-operation and exchange between researchers, architects, building owners and other stakeholders of the construction sector and the building industry. On the one hand, the results should be analysed by this exchange, on the other hand new aspects and ideas are provided for research and politics on sustainable construction. The emphasis of the national network activities in the present report are recommendations for the implementation of innovation and "measures for sustainability" into the Austrian system of grants for the housing-sector. If this important instrument is concentrated on targets for a sustainable construction sector, there is a good chance for a trend reversal of the comprehensive resource consumption in the medium term. At the international level, E3Building is primarily intended to bring in results of the "Building of Tomorrow" programme line into the discussions.
E3Building has organised several national and international workshops within the last few years (e.g. National Expert Workshop "Housing policy and system of grants: Quality for the future" - Vienna 2004; International Expert Workshop "Sustainable Construction in Europe" - Bilbao 2004). In addition, oral presentations of results from "Building of Tomorrow" were held at international conferences and meetings (e.g. during the "Housing 2003 - The Future of Social Housing in Europe - Innovation through Ecological Housing" conference (Vienna 2003) and "SB05 Tokyo World Sustainable Building Conference" (Tokyo 2005). At all of these events, recent results of "Building of Tomorrow" were presented and new innovations in the field of sustainable construction were collected and prepared at the same time.
- Through the processing of the results, they shall be made accessible to a wider public.
- The prepared results are provided in the form of reports on the project web page.
- In addition to this, a strategy report was prepared. This report includes the possibilities for an improvement of the innovation activities of the Austrian construction sector within the next years.
Results and conclusion: International activities
Existing thematic topics on the European level: At present, energy optimisation of buildings and technologies is represented overweightly in European research projects. This is due to the EC building directive becoming effective in January 2006. The European construction research traditionally shows a focus in the area of energy technologies. Furthermore, considerable research activities are still observable in the area of the material technology (insulants, concrete). Additionally, there are comprehensive efforts for the development of indicator systems and building assessment systems. "Building of Tomorrow" can refer to a system (TQ) lined up comprehensively in the international comparison in this research area. The realised demonstration buildings (e.g. S-House, Schiestlhaus, Kindergarten Ziersdorf, ...) offer the possibility for an attractive dissemination of the research results: These results prove the feasibility of the innovations genuinely and comprehensively. Summarising: Beside the energetic optimisation of buildings no recognisable topic of the European research activities has taken place with reference to a sustainable construction sector within the last few years. Within this concentration, the Austrian and German efforts around the passive house topic take a special position. There is a second unique selling position too: Only a few countries have been concentrating on an sustainable construction sector with lots of different aspects - Austria ("Building of Tomorrow") is one of them.
Improving the name recognition of "Building of Tomorrow": The international publicity of results of the programme line would be increased fundamentally, if selected project reports were also translated into English (in addition to the abstracts). Another measure consists the specific funding of participations in international congresses: Based on the experiences of E3Building (several participations and presentations in international meetings and congresses) we state the following: A lot of projects and results of "Building of Tomorrow" are competitive with comparable international projects. We can assume: Such a consistent orientation towards the "triple bottom line" for the construction sector has internationally taken place only in few research programmes. In connection to this, to announce results of the programme line is relatively simply and associated with proportionally low effort (English translations!).
Results and conclusion: National activities
Networking / Workshops: In principle, the organisation of E3B-workshops was complicated by the fact of the increasing variety of information events, further educations, specialist conferences, congresses and comparable activities in the field of "Ecological Construction". This circumstance is not at least a success of the programme line, however, also numerous other organisers appear. This "information flood" naturally leads to a saturation of the receptiveness of the target groups. From the point of view of E3Building, it has to be pointed out that it is necessary to concentrate on a few, essential activities by the programme line. High-quality documents as a preparation for the events (e.g.: guides, handbooks), professional execution and last but not least a high-quality post-event support (support of target groups, information desk, public relation) can increase the interest of the target groups decisively.
Contents and topics: What is recognisable on the international level, is also valid in Austria (although in smaller dimensions): At present, the discussion of a sustainable building and construction industry is concentrating strongly on the increase of the energy efficiency. We can assume the following: Without the undertaken efforts of the programme line in the areas of renewable primary products, socio-economic research, participation (renovation and refurbishment) and with restraints also in the area of residential building politics, the mentioned topics would take only a very subordinated position in the construction research. This cognition is one of the central results of all E3Building workshops. Questions beside the energy topic have not yet been added to the political level (construction and housing laws, system of grants) or other decisions makers (property developers, investors). Although "Ecological Buildings" can be considered, similar effects compared to the case of reduction of energy consumption for the construction sector are not yet existing.
Therefore a two-day expert workshop with experts of the construction sector has been organised by E3B. This expert group discussed and developed recommendations for a quality and innovation oriented Austrian system of grants for the housing sector. Additionally, a developed strategy report - which is the core synthesis of the work of the last five years - contains recommendations for a possible broader research within the area of sustainable construction.
Austrian Institute for Applied Ecology
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