Enormous socio-economic values at stake
The Climate Commission's report does not place enough emphasis on the role of solar energy in its otherwise useful contribution to reducing Denmark's CO2 emissions, says the VELUX Group.
People require a good indoor climate and have a basic need to feel in contact with the world about them. Two factors that help with that are daylight and natural ventilation.
"The VELUX Group hopes that Denmark will take these issues politically seriously and, for example, ensure that our building regulations place specific demands on daylight and indoor climate based on human needs, so that buildings in the future will not just become more energy efficient but also healthy places to spend time in – just as the Climate Commission recommends," states Jørgen Tang-Jensen, CEO of the VELUX Group.
"But it is not enough for such demands for daylight levels to apply solely to office buildings and the other buildings we spend time in when we are at work. They should also apply to our homes, so that when we go home we still benefit from a healthy indoor climate with masses of daylight. Specifically, we believe demands should be tightened from the existing 2% daylight in office buildings to a minimum of 5% - and be extended to include the buildings we live in."
The VELUX Group also believes that politicians should ensure that buildings are energy-marked in terms of their CO2 neutrality in order to make visible the contribution of renewable energy.
The Group further hopes that follow-up action will produce specific demands for the establishment of solar thermal heating equipment and use of renewable energy in homes. Current legislation states that solar thermal heating plants that can meet the demands for domestic hot water under normal conditions should be implemented in newbuilding and renovation of buildings outside existing district heating networks. We believe, as a consequence of this, that it is relevant to impose such demands on ALL buildings.
The VELUX Group very much wants to be party to finding solutions to the problems we are facing, solutions that do not result merely in energy-efficient and sustainable buildings but, above all, buildings in which people can thrive. To this end, we have initiated a series of building experiments under the name of Model Home 2020 in Europe – both newbuild and renovation – that will give us greater knowledge of how we can create a healthy indoor climate. In parallel with this, we are working with researchers to compile documentation on the effect of daylight and natural ventilation on human health and well-being indoors.
The Group sincerely hopes that the Danish government and parliament will follow up on that, with the Climate Commission's report as their starting point. It is a report that gives hope that future legislation will give serious and meaningful support to the sustainable development of existing buildings so that they become not just more energy-efficient but also renovated with respect for human health and well-being. This is essential as we spend 80 to 90 per cent of our time indoors.
The VELUX Group is taking a very active part in the World Climate Solution conference on 29 and 30 September 2010 in Copenhagen. This is an opportunity to get up-to-date and follow the debate on building of the future.