Sharing a culture of eco-sustainability

November 18, 2010

A report from the Saso Fair in Split, Croatia

In an address to delegates attending the 'Eco-building solutions: raising awareness for wider application' in Split, Croatia on October 22, 2010, Stefania Romano of the Italian Trust Fund proposed two primary objectives: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the construction sector, and to transform Central and Eastern European industries into sustainable operations.

"What is needed to achieve these objectives," said Romano, "is to reduce consumption and limit further greenhouse gas emissions. This must be combined with clear intent to achieve Kyoto Protocol objectives. But models for daily behaviour, under the banner of a new ethic of universally shared sustainability, may well be another key to success."

Regarding the situation in Croatia, Alessandro Liberatori from the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (Istituto nazionale per il Commercio Estero, or ICE) office in Zagreb noted that Italy is one of Adriatic nation's leading investors. "In conversations between the Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, and his Croatian counterpart, Gordan Jandrokovic, energy policy is one of the leading points envisioned for potential future agreements between our two nations," Liberatori said.

Romano stressed that the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), which organised the Split event, intends to do its part to promote connections between companies in Italy, Croatia and other nations to achieve these objectives.

"Indeed, paying close attention to the use of energy sources in the construction sector will be decisive," Federico Zaggia of Favero&Milan Spa agreed. "Eco-building is a complex process that benefits from the support of long experience in traditional construction, amplified by the results of new technologies applied to modern construction".

LEADING THE WAY: Designed by Italy's Mario Cucinella, the Sino-Italian Tsinghua Environment and Energy-efficient Building (SIEEB), located in the southeast of the campus of Tsinghua University, is a paragon of green building requirements. Photo: Tsinghua University

Among other examples, Zaggia mentioned Italy's Ministry of the Environment Building in China, built strictly in line with eco-building principles and model structure for a counterpart Ministry building to be built in Podgorica, Montenegro.

Ivica Dijanic from St. Gobain Isover Hrvatska Ltd focused her address on the need for greater awareness of the potential of new insulation materials, while Bojan Milovanovic from the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Civil Engineering detailed the current state of energy certification for new construction works in Croatia.

One practical example of how to improve emission balances came from Veronica Czako from Central European University in Budapest. National programmes launched in 2009, which modified initial legislation, are all making substantial improvements because the guidelines themselves are more widely embraced at the national level, Czako claimed.

The event's closing address, from entrepreneur Adriano Ruchini, was particularly inspiring: "In light of its imminent entry into the European Union, Croatia is an important nation from an eco-building perspective," he said. Ruchini, a member of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Budapest, reminded everyone of how Hungary's experiences contributed greatly to a culture of sustainability. "There's a common, precise language we have to learn", Ruchini concluded, "one of sustainability. Putting all these different experiences together in order to work towards common objectives is the way for all our countries to grow."

The ITF's Stefania Romano later elaborated on these thoughts: "Inter-connectedness will be decisive for the future. Individualism will not take us anywhere. We must rediscover the sacred value of nature and the planet's resources, and to implement the actions that we know will defend them in the best possible way."

This project is implemented with the financial support of the Italian Trust Fund.