Every year the European Union hosts its Sustainable Energy Week, the largest annual green energy event in the EU, to showcase the themes of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in Europe. This year, from 18-22 June, more than 990 events across Europe, including 150 in Brussels, were organised aimed at informing the general public and stakeholders in an engaging, accessible and interactive way. The importance of both polyurethane and passive housing to the themes of EUSEW 2012 made it an easy decision for us to join the festivities and host an event at our own Polyurethanes Passive House project.
On 18 June, ISOPA and Bostoen opened the doors to the Polyurethanes Passive House for a unique information-gathering session with close to 50 EU and national policy makers, engineering experts and key players in the sustainable energy sector; our aim was to examine practical ways of reducing energy consumption in Europe’s housing sector following the adoption of the new Energy Efficiency Directive just five days earlier (see our thoughts on the EED here).
During our open house, we highlighted the growing role passive houses and polyurethane will play in the future of Europe. Passive houses, like the one we’re building, are the construction standard of the future and meet today’s environmental challenges by providing the most energy-efficient “low-energy” building possible. Given that the housing sector consumes 40% of all energy consumed in Europe, the choice for the passive house standard is made easy; the construction/renovation of the existing building stock will not only allow Europe to lower energy bills, but will also provide benefits such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and green, local jobs. Dr Wolfram Frank, Secretary General of ISOPA, added that “80% of today’s buildings will still be in use in 2050; therefore, improved energy efficiency standards are essential”.
We followed our presentation with a site visit to provide our participants with a living, breathing example of the environmental and economic benefits of passive housing. At the house, Bostoen architect Christophe Debrabander gave a tour and explained why polyurethane is the material of choice. “Polyurethane”, according to Debrabander, “is both cost and space-efficient, using only an 18cm layer to provide optimal insulation”. Polyurethane, which keeps heat in during winter and out during summer, retains its energy-efficient properties as long as the building exists; it also makes an excellent choice for retrofits, and thus allows an increasing number of existing buildings to reach passive house standards.
Our Polyurethanes Passive House project was very well received by our guests, and the event proved to be a successful demonstration of how polyurethane insulation can achieve unparalleled energy savings without sacrifices on comfort and design. With the house set to be completed around the turn of the year, we’ll look forward to hosting old and new friends at the celebratory opening of the house in 2013.
Thanks again to all that attended and other dedicated readers that were unable to make it. See you at EUSEW 2013!
The Polyurethanes Passive House Team