Blog 5 - Press release - Green Buildings event in Slovenia - March 2018
Ljubljana, 19 March 2018 – On 16 March, Knauf Insulation took part in the expert consultation on the criteria for sustainable buildings that was organised by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, the Building and Civil Engineering Institute ZRMK and Centre of Energy Efficient Solutions (CER), and took place in the framework of the 57th International Home Fair. Knauf Insulation presented their new educational-information centre in Škofja Loka, which will serve as a reference building to demonstrate cutting edge concepts of sustainable construction.
Boosting demand for better buildings
Wishing to boost the demand for greener buildings the organisers called the consultation with the aim to bring the attendants up to date with national and European efforts in managing, planning and procuring environmentally friendlier buildings. Until now, the investors wishing to build sustainable buildings could lean on various international certification schemes (e.g. LEED, BREEAM, DGNB) based on which they could design and certify their buildings. However, verification through market certification schemes only reached about a percentage of commercial and public buildings. Experts have already pointed out that buildings of superior quality should be appropriately labelled, both for the users’ sake as well as for the sake of nature preservation and cost effectiveness of the investment, and urged the legislator to prepare appropriate criteria for green buildings. In her opening address, Lidija Stebernak, State Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, pointed out that “Green buildings are in Slovenia’s interest. We want to shape the criteria which will help us develop buildings that will exceed the minimum requirements. Buildings that will be beautiful, smart, environmentally friendly and, most importantly, a joy to live and work in.”
National guidelines and European green building indicators
The event also featured a Slovenian study entitled An overview of Sustainability Criteria Systems with a Proposal for Transfer that was commissioned by the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and prepared by the Building and Civil Engineering Institute ZRMK and Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute in 2017, and which represents the first steps towards the development of national green building guidelines. “The study was meant as a proposal for a set of criteria and an action plan for the introduction of a system of national sustainability indicators. The proposal was based on the comparison of existing international rating systems for green buildings by taking into account the options for their transfer into the Slovenian legislative framework,” explained Dr Marijana Šijanc Zavrl from the Building and Civil Engineering Institute ZRMK. Most of the participants agreed that rather than relying on the existing foreign commercial certification schemes national guidelines and indicators for sustainable buildings should be developed.
At the same time as the Slovenian study was conducted, between 2015 and 2017, the Europe-wide system Level(s) was developed as a common EU framework of core indicators for the sustainability of office and residential buildings, which has been available for testing since autumn 2017. It is a method that systematically guides investors and their design teams towards successful completion of those aspects of building construction that are of key importance for people, the environment and cost effectiveness of the investment. ”The system promotes sustainability approach across the building life-cycle – from the design stage to occupancy and the end of life. It is based on environmental regulations and emphasises resource efficiency and circular economy, which are also some of the key priorities of the European Commission”, stressed Saša Galonja, Head of the Construction Department at the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning upon the presentation of the Level(s) system. Level(s) is an open-source system; it is not owned by any company and is therefore freely available. The Ministry finds Level(s) to offer an appropriate method in pursuing sustainability principles in construction and its indicators are already being employed also in Slovenia.
Challenges are still there, but extra efforts pay off
Experience in implementing contemporary sustainability criteria in building design in practice was shared by progressive and environmentally conscious investors, designers and green construction experts. Knauf Insulation presented its new educational and information centre in Škofja Loka, where sustainability principles embodied by the EU system Level(s) have already been employed in practice. Knauf Insulation actively cooperates also with the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, offering the company’s practical experience gained in the course of the project to assist in the shaping of the national green building guidelines. ”Our new educational and information centre in Škofja Loka is paving the way by employing the latest green building guidelines. This approach entails some practical challenges as well, as certified materials that comply with strict standards are not as easily available as those that are commonly used on Slovenian construction sites. Nevertheless, additional efforts pay off with substantially improved quality of the building that is both user- and environmentally-friendly”, stressed Knauf Insulation’sTechnical Manager Primož Bernard. Their educational-information centre in Škofja Loka will serve as a reference building for demonstration of state-of-the-art green building concepts, such as various efficient sustainability solutions for external walls with special emphasis on insulation, green roofs and other green solutions.
Contact: Barbara Hafner, Marketing & PR Director CTN SI & Urbanscape & OEM, Barbara.Hafner@knaufinsulation.com