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The Warsaw Voice » Business » December 21, 2011
Business & Economy
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Greening Poland
December 21, 2011   
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Almost 200 executives from companies and organizations leading the way in sustainable construction and green building certification gathered in Cracow for a three-day conference organized by the Polish Green Building Council (PLGBC) Nov. 16-18.

The conference, entitled the PLGBC Green Building Symposium: Focus on Greening Poland, was a key event in both Poland and the region as a whole.

The conference turnout confirmed the growing interest in sustainability and green building certification.

“The green building market in Poland is absolutely thriving,” said Agnes Vorbrodt, founder, CEO and VP of PLGBC. “With dozens of buildings registered under the LEED and BREEAM rating systems and a number of projects certified, our country is quickly moving towards the 100 green buildings milestone.”

Earlier the PLGBC hosted the World Green Building Council Europe Network Meeting, which took place on Nov. 14-15 and brought together the leaders of the green building market in the region.

Nov. 16 was dedicated to the sustainability efforts of governments in other European countries as well as local efforts. The highlight was a captivating lecture by Jerome Gautier, Director of Plan Batiment Grenelle, who discussed the efforts of the French government in promoting sustainable construction and buildings (French Green Bill – Grenelle de l’Environnement). The presentation followed a welcoming address by Cracow Mayor El¿bieta Koterba. Next, the participants had a chance to listen to an inspiring lecture by Paul King, CEO of the UKGBC, on progress in zero carbon construction in the UK.

On Nov. 17, the focus was on green building rating systems, with global and European leaders presenting their systems (Scot Horst, Senior Vice President of LEED, USGBC; Martin Townsend, Director of BREEAM, Ana Cuhna, Board Member of the France GBC representing HQE). The presentations offered a spectacular insight into the future of sustainability in Europe and Poland.

Scot Horst, during his engaging talk, presented the recent progress of LEED and the development of the new LEED 2012 system. “Green building rating systems like LEED or BREEAM have a proven record of building improvement,” said Horst.

Martin Townsend talked about progress in BREEAM, while Ana Cuhna introduced the French HQE system, a completely new system but one extremely relevant to the Polish market.

This was followed by Alfonso Ponce’s presentation of real estate investment as well as an outlook on certification in Europe—showing LEED as the leading global system, enjoying this position also in Europe. He concluded by presenting a new trend involving multiple certifications in buildings—using the example of a building in Paris pursuing LEED, BREEAM and HQE certifications.

The highlight of the day was a panel discussion moderated by PLGBC President Rafal Schurma. The participants, who included Scot Horst; Martin Townsend; Ana Cuhna; Alfonso Ponce—Deloitte France, UNEP-SBCI and SB Alliance; Sebastian Vetter—UBM Polska – PLGBC 2011 Green Architect of the Year Award Winner as well as Agnes Vorbrodt, discussed the importance of building green as well as the impact of rating systems on the marketplace and shared their recommendations for Poland.

Nov. 17 was also an important day for the Polish residential market. Agnes Vorbrodt presented the LEED for Homes International Pilot program. After months of coordination and discussions with the USGBC, it is finally available to interested developers in Poland and other CEE countries.

Rafal Schurma introduced the PLGBC Green Materials and Green Products certification, which met with a great interest among product manufacturers, many of them already participating in the pilot phase.

Roman Hatossy, VP of PLGBC, closed the symposium with an inspiring presentation about innovation in sustainability. “The systematic approach to innovation is a very interesting concept for both those who are just engaging in innovation as well as for those more experienced in this topic,” said Roman Hatossy, VP of PLGBC. “Sustainable construction is a field filled with innovation. I am sure that the material presented will be of aid in both seeking innovation as well as managing it—in particular in building implementation strategy and in forecasting future scenarios.”
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