Green revolution in construction

Directives of the European Parliament and European Council about energy characteristics of buildings impose new requirements on member states. Is Poland ready for upcoming changes?

EU struggles with climate changes

 

Climate and energy policy conducted by European Union is mainly associated with renewable energy sources. In reality, it includes a wide spectrum of issues and it has a crucial impact on economies of the member states. Some people think that it is quite restrictive. Others treat it as a remedy for problems related to i.a. global heating or energy security.  

 

One of the sectors which is actively engaged in the EU climate and energy policy is construction. At present, buildings are responsible for over one third of the total energy consumption. According to the report conducted by RenoValue, in order to achieve the UE long-lasting goal in the area of low-carbon economy till 2050, the construction sector should substantially limit the emission of greenhouse gases till that time. However, it is related to the necessity of renewal of 80 per cent of existing buildings. In result, one building should be modernized per minute within next 40 years.

 

EU requirement

 

One of the first revolutions in the construction sector is the UE directive adopted in May 2010 concerning energy characteristics of buildings. According to its assumptions, buildings of public utility are to be energetically self-sufficient from 2018. This requirement will also concern all newly built structures from 2021. In result, energy coming from conventional sources has to be replaced by an alternative, gained from i.a. renewable resources such as the sun, water or wind generated in a building or in its neighborhood. It will be related to the necessity of application of solar installations, heat pumps and innovative solutions aimed at reduction of energy consumption in newly realized structures which signs itself in the conception of sustainable construction.

 

Is the native market ready for upcoming changes?  

 

According to the report of RenoValue published in June this year, there is still low awareness in Poland concerning energy effectiveness and green construction among representatives of the construction sector and its experts. Ecologic solutions are not so popular in the country and required legal regulations have not been introduced on time. The report shows that the lack of proper legal environment may be one of the main limitations in the area of sustainable construction on the native market. One of the solutions of this problem are educational activities and changes in law which simplify and encourage to application of green solutions.   

 

Office market sets an example 

 

The other way of propagating green construction are ecological certificates which are becoming more and more popular on the Polish office market. Developers more frequently decide on such certificates as BREEAM or LEED for their offices. Restriction requirements in the area of ecology, which have to be met by each investment applying for a certificate, guarantee that the structure will be characterized by low energy consumption and it will have green solutions allowing to reduce costs of functioning and mainly they will contribute to reduction of negative influence on the environment.

 

Increase in awareness concerning advantages of having environmental certificates among developers functioning on the residential, service and warehouse area market may contribute to application of these certificates on the greater scale in the Polish sector of construction. In effect, it will be more green and ecological.  

 

New requirements in the area of energy efficiency of structures will certainly contribute to enhancement in state of the environment and protection from negative climate changes. Implementation of these requirements in the native construction industry requires cooperation of developers and experts functioning on this market. Moreover, it is important to adopt proper legal regulations which will create an investment atmosphere in the area of green structures.  

 


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