VIII International Scientific and Technical Conference promotes innovative approaches to the construction of buildings

Dec 21, 2017

Vladzimir Komashko, Deputy Director of Department for Energy Efficiency of State Standardization Committee of the Republic of Belarus and Zachary Taylor, Deputy Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme in Belarus a minute before the сonference starts.

Buildings of the XXI century were discussed at the VIII International Scientific and Technical Conference in Minsk on December 15. Traditionally, the conference is devoted to the design, construction and operation of buildings. For the first time, three energy-efficient houses of the second generation became the protagonists and the main "speakers". Thanks to the Global Environment Facility’s funds provided under the UNDP project "Improving Energy Efficiency in Residential buildings in the Republic of Belarus" these houses were equipped with innovative engineering systems.

The conference was organized by the United Nations Development Program and the Department for Energy Efficiency of the State Standardization Committee of the Republic of Belarus. The Ministry of Architecture and Construction, the Institute of Housing – NIPTIS named after S. Ataev and the Union of Builders of the Republic of Belarus were the partners of the conference. About 100 specialists from Belarus, Russia and Italy took part in the event.

Opening the conference, Vladimir Komashko, Deputy Director of Department for Energy Efficiency, stated that the scientific and technological progress is not standing still. Zachary Taylor, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, on behalf of the organization expressed gratification to the Government of Belarus for supporting the "green" economy and energy efficiency measures.

UNDP supports the Government of the Republic of Belarus in a variety of areas, including the area of improving the energy efficiency of residential buildings. In Belarus, which largely depends on primary energy imports, the housing stock consumes more than a third of this energy. Thus, the energy efficiency improvement of residential buildings is one of the priorities of the Belarusian economy.

Energy efficiency solutions are rooted from the innovative principles of building design and energy-efficient engineering systems that can reduce households energy consumption almost twice.

Three energy-efficient houses with unique sets of engineering systems were put into operation in 2016-2017. Now, according to the authors of the project, the most interesting begins:  the houses are presented to the academic community, builders, designers as a real and already functioning example of using renewable energy sources, saving energy and improving the comfort of housing. It is just the matter of putting this great experience into practice. Is it realistic?

This is our future, says Alexander Titov, Director of "NanoSpetsProject" company: "In our country, there is neither gas nor oil for our excessive use. We buy everything. Yes, alternative energy is also not cheap today. But it is promising. The cost of energy efficient systems will be decreased significantly as technologies are being developed and opportunities of installing it in all buildings are being progressed, not only in small individual ones but also in standard multi-storey buildings with the number of such houses being increased.

We still have the sun, water and we can get energy from renewable sources. All this must be demonstrated, spoken about, "brought to the heads". There will be not just one or two but tens such projects then. Then people will begin to understand - yes, I spend this money, but I spend it on myself to ensure my health, to provide excellent air and to benefit from consuming part of the energy for free."

Solar collectors on the roof of the house in Mahiliou. The introduction of energy-efficient technologies raises the cost of houses by 15-20%, but in pilot houses it is fully covered from the project budget.

Galina Pavlova, Chief of the Principal Department for Architectural, Research and Innovation Policies of Ministry of Architecture and Construction says: “People thinks that the heat in their apartments will always be cheap. That's why people, buying houses, willingly pay for bricks, for concrete, but not for innovative technologies, for the comfort that energy efficiency promises them."

The system for utilizing the heat of wastewater works as follows: the wastewater warms the water that comes to home owners. In these devices, up to 60% of the heat is collected and used to heat the supply water.

Zachary Taylor, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, called for further work to remove barriers that prevent the introduction of new technologies: "We must find a balance allowing us to build the quality housing that would be affordable for Belarusian citizens and, at the same time, would bring in real profits to construction companies".

It is essential that the understanding has come - in no way we should build as we did before. And this is already not an issue about the comfort for citizens only, but that for the entire planet. In order to obtain heat, it is necessary to burn some kind of fossil fuel. With the current "appetites", it may not be enough fossil resources by the end of this century. But there is one more peril: while burning fossil fuels, the housing sector of Belarus throws out about 30% of the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions of the country. CO2 emissions are a direct threat to the stability of our planet's climate. At the same time, by 2030, at the current pace of construction of residential buildings, the application of the technical solutions proposed by the project will reduce the energy intensity of GDP by at least 5% and the greenhouse gas emissions by almost 10 million tons.

"We must learn to build in a new way," the UNDP project manager Alexandre Grebenkov sums up.  “Now Belarus possesses experience in both construction and design of such buildings. There is an experience of their operation, while small, but this is the starting point. This conference showed the move to the right side, it showed the interest of government agencies, the engineering community and the designers in designing and building energy-efficient houses."

UNDP Press Office

For more information or media interviews, please contact the Press Office of the United Nations Development Programme, email: press.office.by@undp.org , Tel. + 375 17 327 48 76

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