I am currently in debate with some people in the Netherlands, about materials and sustainability. It all started with a interview in the most respected newspaper in NL, the NRC, in which the former director of BREEAM NL, now project leader at “World Business Council for sustainable development” expressed that he was going to work on “sustainable concrete “ . I wrote a reply in the newspaper’s opinion section as follows:
Sustainable concrete is nonsense. As well as sustainable wood is nonsense. If by the use of wood forests disappear faster as they regrow, its unsustainable use of wood. Materials are not sustainable or not, they just are. Its the use that determines if there is a sustainable situation. In the sense that the environmental impact, which is always there , is compensated over the time of use of the original material. And concrete which has a substantial impact, is often used for purposes where a alternative material could have been used with a lower resulting impact.
Last week the first H2020 project started : a project to develop methodology and technology for modular prefab renovation panels ( More-Connect) . Around 10 countries participate, in 5 climate regions. Typologies for housing types will be explored, to be able to draft general guidelines and principles for joint prefab panel development. Since its part of the near 0-energy ambition in the existing building stock, the panels should be part of a total energy concept for houses. A 0-energy approach will become the basis for concept development and modular analyses, whereby each region or country can define how much will be applied in a near 0-energy concept, as agreed in their country. More news as soon as the website is online.
Last week, Kaohsiung city government in Southern Taiwan, and SBS centre signed a MOU to jointly explore the the introduction of zero -impact built environment strategies. Kaohsiung has already made first steps with their LOHAS approach, a set of guidelines for sustainable Building, mainly aimed at energy measures, , and wants to explore further steps regarding material and water management for their current development projects. One of these being the old harbour region, which is under re-development. The cooperation will consist of workshops with stakeholders, training and education exchange and small research projects. The MOU was signed with the Mayor of Kaohsiung , mrs Chen, during the Third Lohas conference, the regional sustainable building event. Before and after the conference a few small workshops where held with stakeholders and the SHU-TE university, to explore some first ideas.