Final results of the MountEE-Project
Mid April 2015 the MountEE-project on sustainable construction and renovation came to an end. But what has been achieved in the last three years?
All final results, success stories, pilot buildings and the people behind the project can be found in the Public Report of the project.
36 MountEE-Pilot Projects realized
Based on commonly agreed criteria in total 21 renovation objects and 15 new buildings have been realized in the MountEE project. The selected buildings range from schools, cultural centres and town halls to social housing buildings, hospitals and office-buildings. The buildings keep high standards of energy performance and choice of building materials and the majority of buildings use renewable energy as source for heating and warm water. Detailed in depth information can be found here
According to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive of the European Union (EPBD), all new constructions and existing buildings undergoing major renovation will have to meet Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standards by 2018. For many municipalities the transition to NZEB is a major challenge. Especially communities in mountain regions often lack know-how, experience and funding. Some face additional challenges such as extreme climate, low accessibility, small entities, low population density and brain drain.
The project «MountEE – sustainable building in mountain regions» supports communities in Sweden, the Alps and the Pyrenees in order to help them achieve their objectives in the areas of sustainable building and renovation, and transform them into front runners.
MountEE Success Story 1: The more the cheaper
Many buildings in the Norrbotten-Västerbotten region have been constructed to the passive house standard and achieve excellent environment and energy ratings – thanks to enthusiastic decision makers and consistent implementation of the vision of sustainable construction and renovation. The greatest success is to be seen in the fact that, as clients, businesses and tradesmen collect more and more experience, these buildings are becoming increasingly economical to construct. The positive results are additionally supported through programmes for monitoring energy performance and quality assurance along the whole building chain. Construction costs for the Vega School in Vännäs, for example,were 35 percent down on the previous project.
MountEE Success Story 2: Municipalities help municipalities
It is not easy to promote the exchange of experience between municipalities as few decision makers are willing to admit to shortcomings or a lack of knowledge. This obstacle was overcome through a programme of intensive cooperation in Dalarna County with its five MountEE pilot municipalities, with an atmosphere of cooperation and trust created as the key to success. Study trips were organised to enable the municipalities
to lean about new ideas and group discussions held to consider and trigger improvements. On the basis of their positive experiences with the MountEE project, representatives of various municipalities set up their own network. The goal now is a continuous exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of sustainable construction and renovation and the development of support systems for small municipalities (e.g. service packages).
MountEE Success Story 3: Service Package Modul 5 – Service and Maintanance
With today’s increasingly complex construction solutions and the effects of user behaviour on energy consumption, municipalities also
require support after the construction or renovation phase to ensure that the calculated energy values can be achieved in practice. Module
5 was introduced in the framework of the MountEE project and tested on the pilot buildings. The results show that monitoring and optimisation can deliver 10 to 50 percent energy savings without any additional capital outlay. A further objective of Module 5 is to reduce the level of pollutants in the interior. Experience shows that here, too, due attention was paid to indoor air quality during construction. But if inappropriate cleaning agents are used after commissioning, the excellent air quality achieved is quickly compromised. The solution is a cleaning concept covering final clean-up, regular maintenance cleaning and deep cleaning.
Lessons Learned from 2012-2015
- Mountain municipalities are capable of handling sustainable construction and renovation, but they need help like the advisory support provided by the Local Authority Service Package for Sustainable Construction.
- Where cooperation committees are used to involve all actors in the building chain, like architects, energy managers, clients and tradesmen, scepticism and problems can be overcome before the construction work starts.
- The more experience municipalities have of handling construction and renovation projects, the more economical sustainable construction becomes.
- The pilot buildings show other municipalities how to be successful with sustainable construction using ecological materials.
- The exchange of knowledge between regions with a lot of experience and regions with little experience is one of the keys to success.
- The MountEE project showed that it is advantageous to use pilot buildings for workshops and training sessions in order to link theoretical and practical knowledge.
- The idea of organising public project hearings with the cooperation committees for debate and the exchange of experience met with a highly positive response on the part of participants.
- The pilot buildings have had an impact on building strategies in the partner regions.
- The lifecycle costs and regional effects of sustainable construction are often ignored in economic assessments of buildings.
- Knowledge transfer in the form of workshops, events, discussions, etc. is very important for stakeholder awareness building.
Building the future! Sustainable construction in European mountain municipalities.
Construction and renovation of sustainable public buildings is a team-oriented process and requires audacity. This includes decision makers, architects, craftsmen, and of course the local population.
The film “Building the future!” shows how European mountain municipalities from Sweden, across the Pyrenees to the Alps are pioneers in the field of sustainable construction. Good practice examples and inspiring ideas invite to follow! The film is available in German, Italian, French and Swedish and has been produced by the partners themselves under the framework of the EU project MountEE.