Speakers Ms Josefina Lindblom and Mr Andres Jaadla
There is no sustainable living without sustainable buildings. This is one of the key messages emerged from the debate of the seminar "Developing EU policy and regional strategies towards sustainable living" hosted by the European Alliance Group (EA) in the context of the Open Days. The EA group members, experts and representatives of the EU institutions concur that shifting towards a more sustainable, low carbon and resource efficient economy is a priority if the EU is to improve its competitiveness while maintaining a high quality of life for the citizens. With the construction and building sectors, making a very intensive use of energy and water resources and accounting for a large share of all extracted materials as well as of the total waste produced in the EU, hhousing needs to adapt to the current challenges and address the increase in construction costs, energy efficiency and environmental concerns.
"Developing innovative techniques, new construction materials and architectural design, exploiting the potential of renewable source of energy and reviewing the way of municipal planning has become crucial", added the EA group President Dr. Uno Silberg in his introductory statement.
Participants also underlined the importance of promoting resource efficient rural areas, in particular ensuring an urban-rural balance in sustainable living. Rural households and small businesses face several disadvantages with regards to their energy use, particularly due to the nature of the building stock. Energy poverty hits more in rural areas, where the dependence on high price fossil fuel is higher than in urban areas and uptake of renewable energy is still lagging behind.
In the concluding remark the EA President reiterated the role of LRAs when it comes to making green public investment in local infrastructure, waste recycling plants and transport systems as well as to help change the citizens' behaviour but he recalled at the same time that LRAs will never be able to make changes happen alone as "the shift to a more efficient economy will not be a reality without a close cooperation between the levels of governments".
Link to more photos on flickr
Living and working in better buildings, Ms Josefina Lindblom, Policy Officer, Eco-innovation and circular economy, DG Environment, European Commission
Energy services for households and the use of renewable energy sources, Mr Paul Minarik - Member of Board of Spravbytkomfort (Prešov), representative of Energiecomfort (Vienna)
Developing Smart Cities and Communities, Mr Andres Jaadla, Head of development and education, Rakvere Smart House Competence centre