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Discovering common ground

Jul 08, 2010 / Anita Wyss
Liechtenstein is a small country, so you’re always bumping into people. And although everybody sort of knows everybody else, they don’t really. Energy-efficient construction is a bit like that. Or rather, it was until October 2009. It was then that CIPRA, which is better known for using its climalp project (see box) to circulate know-how on energy-efficient construction and renovation throughout the Alps, brought its own people together for a change.
passive house
Image caption:
Build a passive house like the Carlo family’s detached home in Schellenberg/FL, and you’re acting sustainably, protecting the climate and contributing to regional development, as advocated by CIPRA across the Alps with climalp.
So for the first time virtually all the key players involved in energy-efficient construction in Liechtenstein sat around a table together. Political and local authority representatives and experts in the areas of energy, architecture, science and education exchanged their views as part of the CIPRA workshop on “Obstacles and opportunities for energy-efficient construction in Liechtenstein” and got to know their respective viewpoints.
What are the obstacles to the development and expansion of energy-efficient construction in Liechtenstein? What obstacles have the biggest impact; which ones are the easiest to eliminate? How can developers be motivated to carry out the energy-efficient renovation of their buildings? The consensus was that Liechtenstein is doing rather well as far as the legislation on new builds is concerned. But there were calls to gradually tighten up the regulations to preserve this pioneering position. It was felt that the technical development of energy-efficient new buildings had progressed at a high pace, but that it was not being followed through, either by planners and architects or by the population at large. There was a lack of technical know-how among building specialists. There was also a need for action regarding the regulations on building renovation and energy provision. And also with regard to consulting. The participants at the CIPRA meeting mentioned that there were still cases where architects would advise willing developers against an energy-optimised design. There was a need for more information and consulting so that word could get out that energy-efficient construction and living are possible, cheap and pleasant.
Many participants only found out at the workshop that their fellow countrymen and women were promoting the issue of energy-efficient construction either individually or within an organisation. For example, representatives of the Liechtenstein Chamber of Architects and Liechtenstein University realised that, in terms of content and programme, they had much more in common than they had previously imagined. The key players in politics, administration, energy, architecture, science and education also realised that joint lobbying would be in everyone’s interest and help bring about the vision of energy-efficient construction more quickly. CIPRA will continue to promote this exchange within Liechtenstein – as well as many other projects and activities on energy-efficient construction and renovation throughout the Alps.


For the benefit of comfortable living, the climate and the regional economy
CIPRA wants to use the climalp project to demonstrate to a wide audience that energy-efficient houses built using timber sourced from the region help to protect the climate and drive the regional economy. For this reason field trips are organised on a regular basis, such as the one to Vorarlberg in 2009 for representatives of municipalities in the “Alliance in the Alps” network of communities and the national association of French municipalities with forest ownership, FNCOFOR. The background report “CIPRA compact – Construction and Renovation in Climate Change”, which was published in German, French, Italian and Slovenian as part of the cc.alps project (see page 8), also draws on climalp’s knowledge base. The climalp project is subsidised by Liechtenstein with funding of CHF 100,000 a year.
Source: Annual Report 2009 CIPRA International