MountEE project reflection by Wolfgang Pfefferkorn (CIPRA International and Leader of the project)
After three years of very successful work and collaboration between all project partners and stakeholders of the building chain in the six partner regions from Northern Sweden to the Pyrenees, the MountEE project came to an end in April 2015. Now it’s the time for a short conclusion on the project results:
The MountEE project has shown that sustainable construction and renovation in different climate zones, from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean Sea is possible. Almost 30 pilot buildings including the new town hall in the Swedish city of Kiruna, the office building of the National Park in the French municipality of Olette and a school in the Italian municipality of Sagrado have been realized.
The key to success was the service package from Vorarlberg (Austria) which was improved in the context of the MountEE project and transferred to the partners´ regions. In this service package experts provide advice and support from first concepts to the construction in the fields of energy, ecological building, procurement and quality control, and building management. The services offered have been adapted to local needs in the different regions. Continuous exchanges between the principals and the experts helped to further improve the services offered.
The Local Authority Service Package for Sustainable Construction comprises five modules. From the free kick-off counselling session to the implementation and follow-up stages, local authorities and environmental consultants receive advice in the fields of energy, ecological construction, procurement and quality assurance. A combination of intelligent planning, optimised building envelope, and efficient and continually monitored heating and ventilation systems delivers up to 80 percent savings in energy and running costs.
But it’s not only the service package and the realized pilot buildings, I personally have the impression that the topic of sustainable construction and renovation has been brought to a higher level of acceptance in the last three years, also due to other projects operating in this field. When we organized transfer activities like workshops, dialogue events or study trips, participants like mayors, officers on local level, stakeholders from the building chain, etc. were very interested on the topic and motivated to start their own implementation work.
With our project results they now get the knowledge to start, and avoid making the same mistakes others have already run through, again.
Finally let me mention some lessons learned:
- Mountain municipalities can overcome the challenge of sustainable construction and renovation, they are able but they need guidance (e.g. Service Package).
- Renovation is the big issue of the future, because nearly each municipality has an inefficient building stock.
- Decision makers who are not yet convinced, can be convinced with cost analyses showing that their buildings are getting cheaper and cheaper over their lifetime.
- Bringing all involved parties like architects, energy manager, building owners, handicrafts men together in regional platforms when planning a sustainable project helps a lot to resolve doubts or problems at early stage and during the building process.