In the morning of November 23rd the guests assembled for Swegon Air Academy’s seminar in Martillac, just outside of Bordeaux. Arranged at the beautiful 18th-century Chateau de Lantic, situated right in the middle of the famous vineyards, the theme for the day was not however the cultivation of wine, but rather an exchange of thoughts and experiences regarding sustainable and healthy buildings.
First speaker out was Frank Hovorka, from Caisse des Dépôts – the national French investment organization for long term sustainable development. His presentation evolved around various ways to calculate the total energy consumption involved in a building, taking into account the whole life span and factors which may conventionally be left out of the calculations, such as production and transports, and also soft factors like effects on inhabitant health and owner image. Creating a framework which not only captures the easy identifiable figures in this calculation, but also the more complex ones, is an important step towards linking the building owners with the engineers. The engineers often have a great number of good ideas for how to improve the buildings, but these are not always easily communicated to the building owners, who are naturally reluctant to invest in something that does not have an obvious effect on the standard investment/revenue calculations. This is of course delaying the development of more energy efficient buildings, and as the many questions and the lively discussions revealed, this is a key topic for the future.
Closing speaker for the day was Doctor Suzanne Déoux, with a presentation explaining the impact of indoor environment on the health of the building inhabitants. Beginning with a historic background of the field of research, and moving on to explaining the many different building factors that affect the human being – from light and acoustics to the many aspects of air quality – the guests at the seminar received a thorough description of this complex puzzle. It may be common knowledge that these factors have an impact on our health, but the presentation gave the background to why they are hazardous and how they can be handled and avoided. Some simple guidelines like first focusing on removing and avoiding the pollutants, secondly making sure the air supply is satisfactory and then as a last step thinking about air purification (not the other way around), may go a long way. The presentation also gave insights into new legislation and product labeling relevant to this field, which is currently introduced.
The seminar ended with an informal gathering, mixing professional networking with highlights from the world-renowned local cuisine. A fine conclusion to a very rewarding event!
Image by Henrik Paulsson