prefab and reuse from Greek history

Last week I traveled Sicily , and visited some interesting sites from the Greek & Roman period.

greek quarry iAWglgXAAA_CE4

First of all a quarry, with column elements (unused) for a Greek temple : Amazing how big these elements are, and I realized this could act as a reference for prefab construction, and for 0-fossil fuel production as well , since made only with labor investments…. (not counting labor for Embodied energy…)


But even more astonished I was when visiting the Duomo in Syracuse: I knew a mosque that became a church , the famous Mesquita in Cordoba, Spain, but here I ‘found’ a much older Greek temple preserved as church ! Somewhere at the end of the Roman period it was reused as a church, by closing the openings between the columns with masonry, and redecorating the church from inside. This way it more or less has become the best preserved Greek temple , since the columns and friezes are not a rebuild construction, as in most historic sites , but still standing! Already 2500 years. Unique! And is a reference for long term reuse of buildings….




Video pres.: sustainable built environment

Some time ago I was invited to present on a national conference about sustainable urban area development, by Urgenda.dgo presentatie 2

The video of that presentation is still on line, and can be found in the link below. The slides are not visible, but can be downloaded in the second link, to open parallel to the video. The presentation however is in Dutch. And I should mark here as well, 2,5  years later,, that some of the initiatives mentioned in the end discussion have been delayed or canceled. Transition remains a difficult process with many interests conflicting. On the other side, a large national project has started to retrofit houses for 0-energy ( in the social housing sector , see the paper below) and a biobased material strategy is gaining ground .

link PPT:  dgo dordrecht rorovers 200613 pdf 2

linkpaper BRI journal:’Renovation_trains’_for_mass_housing

see for the research on the 0-impact district the docs in Dutch and English here



Conference “Transition-0”

Last week I was involved in the international Conference “ Transition-0” , (perfectly hosted by Utrecht UAS) , aiming at 0-energy built environments, and part of a global series of events, creating regional input for the World conference Sustainable Built environment in 2017. Both world conference and the international regional series are coordinated under patronage of global building related organistions:

utr Transition Zero

The conference was very well received by the participants, and had many eye opening key notes, like the one by Bill Dunster, who set the standard more then a decade a go with Bedzed, 0-energy development in Londen. Recently he has developed a ambitious retrofit plan for a building in the Dutch municipaliy of Amersfoort, but is still looking for support in the realisation ( interested? )

For more info on the conference , and proceedings and presentations, please visit the website of the conference at

A summary of my presentation, as introduction to the scientific program, will be published soon in my blog page at:

Part of the conference was a “ Battle of concepts “ between student teams of several Universities of applied science in The Netherlands. The the aim of the Battle was to develop a plan to transform buildings or neighborhoods to 0-energy, or even 0-impact, with a focus on on social and economic ambitions as well. Students from Zuyd UAS won the batlle.

Both conference and Battle were initiated by 6 UAS Professors in the field of sustainable building, working together under the name of “ Kennissprong” (Knowledge Jump) and supported by the Programme “ energiesprong” . Kennissprong aims to build a bridge between knowledge gained in innovation processes like the large scale retrofit of houses for 0-energy or 0-impact (energiesprong) , and Universities of applied science, to educate students for the massive transformation task ahead of us in the “ Battle to fight Climate Change” . The cooperation will continue, and more initiatives to follow.


workshop Scottish Housing associations

Scotland has the same task as any other country: to reduce CO2 emissions , while housing a growing amount of people at the same time. In a meeting of social housing corporations from the “Highlands and Islands” in Aviemore, I could chair a session to discuss options how to speed up the retrofit of Scottish houses, and at the same time introduce 0- energy concepts, for both new and old houses. Based on the Dutch experience so far, and first initiatives around other countries in Europe. It was a highly motivated meeting, and will have a follow up in finding the right approach for the Scottish situation.


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