Smart strategies for energy and climate
Energy-efficient and climate-smart built environments is a new area of expertise at Linnaeus University. Participants from the public and private sector want to give the region of South East Sweden a central role when it comes to energy-efficient buildings, which is why the “Goda Hus” Society decided to part-finance a newly-established professorship in the subject.
If we want to meet the EU requirement of a 50 per cent reduction in the use of energy in buildings by 2050, it will not be sufficient to only have a low energy consumption in new buildings. There are also massive gains to be made with regard to the renovation and reconstruction of existing buildings. In order to gather trade representatives, organisations and entrepreneurs in the regions of Kalmar, Kronoberg and Blekinge, the Association for EnergyEfficient Buildings in the South East – known as Goda Hus – was formed in June 2009. Goda Hus invests in research and development (according to the Triple Helix model), by encouraging new research area and financing a professorship, thus creating better conditions for an increase of the market for low-energy buildings.
– We think it is important to find ways for our associated businesses to increase their knowledge about energy-efficient, climate-smart construction. We hope to achieve this by contributing to a good collaboration with the university, says Erik Hallonsten, Chairman for Goda Hus with a long-standing managerial experience in the public housing sector. He hopes that Goda Hus will be able to profit from the network that the Energy Agency for South East Sweden has been building up over the years.
– We have been involved all along in the process of building passive houses and we regard it as a logical next step to also support a professorship, says Stefan Olsson from the Energy Agency for South East Sweden.
The newly-established professorship in Civil Engineering, specializing in energy-efficient and climate-smart built environments, will be held by Leif Gustavsson who has worked as professor in Ecotechnology at Mid Sweden University for many years.
– The challenge will be to build up a research group from scratch. And to raise sufficient funds so that we can develop a strong team of researchers, he says.
Professor in Civil Engineering Anders Olsson is one of the members of the well-established Timber Engineering research group.
– Within a few years, we expect to be able to offer specific courses and items on the subject of energy-efficient construction, during the first-cycle degree programme for Civil Engineering. Later, we plan to start a special second-cycle degree programme, comparable to the one we have for Construction and Timber Engineering, he says.
Apart from financially supporting a professorship in energy-efficient and climate-smart built environments, the members of Goda Hus also participate in various projects which aim to increase the number of energy-smart buildings and raise the level of energy efficiency in the construction sector.
– We have a unique mix of businesses in our group of 24 members, from municipal real-estate companies and construction businesses to planning consultants and suppliers, says Erik Hallonsten.
– Timber and energy are a good match to Växjö, which has been associated with timber and energy for a long time. There is also an active interest here in climate issues, from the private sector as well as from the public sector. The association’s role for other members will be to manage contacts with the authorities and to help apply for subsidies and grants for products and services which help stimulate and develop the market, says Stefan Olsson.
– It will be stimulating for me to lead a team of researchers aiming to find smart strategies for energy-efficient and climate-smart built environments, where promoting widespread smart solutions is more important than single prestigious projects with a limited application, says Leif Gustavsson.
Text: Kia Roman