The 21st Century has seen a step change in addressing the impact of human activity on the Earth’s climate and the planet’s ecological balance. Our built environment is a manifestation of a way of life that is no longer sustainable and the EU has been at the forefront of developing a new legislative framework to drive forward its transformation. Moving away from a reliance on fossil fuels and the short-term exploitation of natural resources towards clean energy sources and an ecological use of materials have been at the core of emerging policy.
EU-wide, building energy consumption represents 40% of Europe’s total energy needs. Manufacturing and construction is responsible for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions, construction and demolition activities for 33% of waste generated annually while. Construction generates almost 10% of GDP and provides 20 million jobs. The need to upgrade existing infrastructure and stock to comply with new energy targets means that it is likely to remain a key growth area even during times of economic downturn.
The ESA Work Group promotes the creative synthesis of technologies, construction processes and supply chain solutions that are required to achieve transformation at such a vast scale. Architects are uniquely placed to translate complex problems into integrated solutions that compel fundamental business and lifestyle changes. The group focuses on communicating the architect’s view on forthcoming policy and legislation and informing the profession of related opportunities and best practice.
Cities are the place where the large majority of the European population lives and works. They are the engines of development, research and innovation, but also heavily challenged by increasing unemployment, poverty and segregation. European cities are a more or less compact fabric of buildings, infrastructures, economic activities, natural and artificial environments, social and behavioural patterns which together gave birth to our civilisation. Buildings, and the spaces between them, are a central concern of the architectural profession. The quality of buildings and urban spaces has a major impact on the well being of individuals, economic development and social cohesion. As a matter of fact almost all European policies have an urban dimension.
For these reasons, the ACE pays particular attention to urban issues and all European policies that impact on the urban environment. ACE’s aim is to ensure that architecture and urban design are recognised as a significant contributor to sustainable urban development and regeneration.
This panel was set up by the Executive Board to:
- Evaluate requests to participate in EU-funded projects,
- Advise on existing project work and seek closer work groups and Member Organisations involvement,
- Disseminate the results of all EU-funded projects related to energy efficiency in buildings and districts and deliver content for the ACE CPD Platform
- Spread information about opportunities for Architects and Member Organisations (calls for EU projects, calls for expert evaluators, etc.)
The panel addresses two EU funding programmes:
- Horizon 2020 programme, the new EU framework programme for Research and Innovation for the period 2014-2020, which inter alia addresses energy efficiency in buildings, nearly zero energy renovations and sustainable urban development
- Creative Europe Programme, that aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors