Green Buildings in Europe

The rapid growth in the European green market shows that Europe is much more advanced than the other countries. Europe accounts for 73% of the total market for the Green Buildings. The sustainable goals of Green buildings as said by director of Arup (engineers and planners) are: Carbon-neutral, Water-neutral, Use of Sustainable materials, Flexible design to adapt to future climate change, Make a positive contribution to the local community and Sustainable operations, including monitoring.

The greenest new buildings are located in London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. The European green buildings use 50% to 70% less energy than certified green projects in U.S. Around 20,000 low energy houses have been built in Europe of which approximately 17,000 are in Germany and Austria alone. 

The leading European architects firms involved in green building are Foster and Partners, Ove Arup and Partners and Atelier Ten. Various suppliers are Dadanco, Halton, KaRo Systems, Proter Imex, Sabiana, Swegon, Trox Technik, Uponor, Zehnder group,Elero, Comar and Somfy, Automated Logic Corporation, Delta Controls, GridLogix, Richards Zeta, Honeywell, KMC Controls, Johnson Controls, Reliable Controls, Siemens Building Technologies, TAC and Trane.

Some of the key technologies / methods used in Green Building design in Europe include:

  1. Low carbon design
  2. Use of earth tubes
  3. Active solar control systems
  4. Moveable shades and shutters
  5. Advanced HVAC systems and air-conditioning for ventilation and space conditioning.
  6. Radiant heating and cooling
  7. Active facades and building system user interface and system integration.

The World Green Building Council (GBC) Europe Regional Network brings together bodies representing the green building industry from across European countries. The action plan for sustainable construction consists of a comprehensive list of measures to further stimulate a market for products and services in sustainable construction in Europe. These measures endeavor to build a coherent basis for progressive step changes to regulation, standardization and public procurement practices fostering innovation and sustainability in construction.

In 2004, the European Commission initiated the Green Building Programme (GBP). This programme aims atimproving the energy efficiency and expanding the integration of the renewable energies in the non-residential buildings in Europe on a voluntary basis. As a pilot phase in 2005-2006, the green building infrastructure was set up in ten European countries. The Passivhaus scheme in Germany and the MINERGIE standards in Switzerland provides certification and accounts for strong development.

The European Commission’s Energy Efficiency Plan published the proposal that required the public authorities to improve the energy efficiency of at least 3% of their buildings each year as of March 2011. The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee published a report on the implementation of green building standards in design and construction of Olympic facilities. The report also examines the process of implementing green building standards for the design and construction of Olympic facilities through the prism of their impact on sustainable development in the region of the Games.