Feel free to read the transcript of nearly the whole Go4Energy debate “Future of energy-saving building in Poland.” The debate took place on November 7th, 2013 during the Future4Build fairs. The debate is partnered by the Murator Publishing House.
Tomasz Augustyniak: A warm welcome to all of you. My name is Tomasz Augustyniak, I represent Go4Energy, the company that invented this debate. As we are short of time, I will proceed to presentation of our speakers and will start a bit unconventionally, not from a lady. I wish to present Mr. Tomasz Gałązka from the Ministry of Transport, Building and Maritime Economy. You may applaud, of course. I think Mr. Gałązka will tell us many interesting things about upcoming changes in law. Then, I would like to present Mr. Paweł Pucher from the legal office Kancelaria Kaczor Klimczyk Pucher Wypiór Adwokaci, who will most probably help us with interpretation of these regulations. Another person I would like to present is Mr. Michał Marszałek from Skanska Property Poland — an interesting voice in the discussion from a developer. Another person today with us is Ms. Agnieszka Kalinowska-Sołtys from APA Wojciechowski — who represents architects who have to combine all the legal changes with the voice of investors. And another person is Ms. Zuzanna Paciorkiewicz from DTZ — a company that manages real properties. I think we will hear voices a property manager hears from lessees, who are the actual beneficiaries of all our actions in scope of energy saving. And last but not least, I would like to present Mr. Piotr Bartkiewicz from the Warsaw University of Technology — the school that teaches future specialists, engineers who will have to find their way in this market, somehow. Students who start now, will be graduating around 2020. Which is exactly when the main changes will have to come in force. I give a warm welcome to all of you. Thank you for accepting the invitation to this debate.
Now, I will start the subject of obstacles in development of energy-saving building. A subject that may seem strange to you — why do we talk about obstacles in the first place? Everyone knows there are obstacles. We know that too, but we started to think whether the obstacles we identify are really obstacles that concern us all, (…) or whether obstacles we see are actually the same obstacles against which other builders throughout Poland hurt. Therefore (…) we had a survey conducted, which we addressed to 2000 developers in Poland (…), asking them to identify problems or challenges that they face. As part of the report, which is available on our website, the basic obstacles have been identified (…)
(Note: at this moment of the debate, survey results were presented. More»)
Right now, I have no time to discuss the whole report, that is why I encourage you to read it on our website, and now, I would like to start the debate by asking our participants four basic questions: what do we expect, what consequences of the EU directives (stating that by 2020 all new buildings in Poland should meet energy saving requirements) will be for Poland? What will be the reaction of the building sector? What does this look like from the point of view of a single building and economic effect related to energy-saving activities? How do our speakers expect the building market to look after 2020? I would like to give the floor to Mr. Tomasz Gałązka. Let us start our meeting.
Tomasz Gałązka: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for inviting me. I would like to answer to the first question displayed a moment ago on the slide — what will be the consequences of implementation of the directive? There are a couple of directives that relate to energy efficiency, including energy efficiency in building. These are directives on energy performance, on promoting renewable sources of energy, and the energy efficiency directive. These directives will above all result in gradual improvement (…) of energy efficiency in building. (…) Regulations on energy efficiency and thermal protection of buildings are about to come into effect. I would like to emphasize that the existing requirements do not, in fact, prevent anyone from building better. (…) As Mr. Augustyniak pointed out in his introduction, the requirements will be gradually tightened, until the objective determined in provisions on energy performance of buildings is achieved. This objective consists in reaching near-zero energy levels in case of buildings constructed since 2021. And this is the purpose the new standards should serve. (…) Apart from these regulations concerning the energy standard of the buildings, the key and very important element of the energy assessment system is the obligation imposed on designers, which has been in force in our legal system since this October. This is an obligation saying that when creating documentation, the designers should include in the technical description of the building the information, analysis of possibilities of using renewable energy sources for hot water, heating, cooling (if applicable) and lighting in public buildings. And maybe that is it to start with.
Tomasz Augustyniak: Thank you, Mr. Gałązka. And now, I would like to ask Mr. Pucher for a short commentary.
Paweł Pucher: Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Gałązka was kind to show us a few consequences of regulations coming into force, however these are regulations which already exist in our legal system. These are amended ordinances concerning the standards to be met by buildings, their location, as well as ordinance on the scope and detailed contents of a building design. These regulations actually come into force on January 1st, but this is only a fraction of what has to be implemented according to the European legislator and I would like to point out — if I am to speak about obstacles — to what our government and our parliament do not do and what makes these obstacles exist. (…) Actually both the 2010 directive on energy performance of buildings and the 2012 directive on energy efficiency set, in my opinion, the right direction (…), and the transposition of these regulations into the Polish law is far from being perfect.
And unfortunately (…) one cannot say when the new act on energy performance of buildings comes into force, because right now we are only at the stage of draft assumptions to the draft act. The delay in this transposition is more than a year and half and this is, sadly, quite characteristic for our legislator. The Polish legislator acts in a way I would call minimalistic, which means that they select from the directive the provisions that have to be implemented in our legal system in order not to be at risk of sanctions — and where the directive allows, as this is the nature of this act of law — to select measures aimed to meet the objectives indicated in the directive or select, choose own ways, the legislator does nothing. As an example, let me say that in the assumptions to the draft act I mentioned before, only a few lines are dedicated to the issue of programs supporting the energy-saving building and to promotion of this issue, and these provisions lead to the statement that no new support programs are planned and the ministry will create a website. I think there is no need to comment on the possible effects of that on the market — or rather on no effects of that. I would like to go on with my criticism, but I see the moderator winking at me and I think he wants me to stop my argument, so I am sorry, but I have to give the microphone back.
Tomasz Augustyniak: This is my unrewarding function (…). Now, I would like to give the floor to Mr. Marszałek — How does a developer cope with such an environment?
Michał Marszałek: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. As a developer, I think I should be speaking about obstacles which appear in the context of combining an energy-saving building with economic aspects. In fact, one may say that the economic aspect appears in two phases of a building’s life. First during construction and second — during operation of the building. I can tell you how we overcome these obstacles in my company. The first element is that from the onset of the project we attempt to select partners, architects, designers who can meet our expectations. In our team, we also have qualified members from the technical department who make sure from the very beginning that the building being built is of the highest priority. We implement solutions like designing using the BIM system and we have an extensive central purchasing system. However all this makes energy-saving building more expensive — we have to invest more (different statistics say it is 2 to 5% more expensive). For us, optimisation is most important, as well as showing (…) that we want to go in the energy-saving direction despite there are no different guidelines on how to do it (…) We try to do everything to make energy-saving buildings a reality, as (…) we know that there is a demand for that and we know it is profitable. These buildings are cheaper in operation, these buildings are easier to sell and the people working in these buildings are more satisfied. The very costs of operation are lower — I think it is the basis of energy-saving building — that the building itself brings, after some time, savings. However, I would like to point out that the awareness of people who use such a building is very important. We, as a developer, who is aware of this, also try to educate somehow the lessees. Another idea is to create something (…) I don’t know if it will be called so — a green property manager who will take care that the building is energy-saving during its operational functioning after the occupancy permit is obtained. We introduce certain provisions into contracts to obtain every month data from utility counters located on the leased space. We verify them against the energy model, check them and recommend certain changes. When it comes to the question whether the energy-saving aspect of building can be combined with economic aspect, I believe that this subject has to be approached holistically, end-to-end. I will let myself present here one more statement, I don’t want to tranlate it to Polish, but the so-called life-cycle cost is very important to us too — this means that from the very beginning, the idea, the verification of costs so that the best optimization can be done and then, such building is economically justified.
Tomasz Augustyniak: Thank you very much and I give the floor to Ms. Kalinowska-Sołtys, to present us the point of view of an architect.
Agnieszka Kalinowska-Sołtys: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. The debate started with the discussion of law and legislation. We, as architects, have not much influence on the law, of course we can take part in debates, discussions, make our remarks and we try to do it, but let’s be frank, we cannot do much. The law is what it is and in order not to stand in one place, we try to make some changes. Michał presented Skanska’s philosophy, what are the expectations of the investor and we, in a will to adapt to this ideology we also completely change our work, the perception of what is going on in our company. Some time ago, maybe 5 or 10 years ago, the task of an architect was to design a building according to standards, but actually to a minimum of standards, because it has to be as cheap as possible (…) and on this, the role of an architect ended. Now, we are trying to meet the expectations of investors, who exactly know what they want not only at the construction stage but are already thinking of how the building will function in the future. We had to change our approach to designing. Right now, at the very beginning of the design stage, which is the preliminary concept stage, we invite to discussion every participant of the investment process. The work on the project starts with a brainstorm, where not only architects and other discipline specialists and static engineer are present, but most of all the investor and the property manager (something that did not happen in the past) and construction companies. We all talk about how to solve certain aspects of the project to make it cheaper and more comfortable and more energy-saving and more environmentally friendly. I believe that by starting such discussion at a very early concept stage, we may benefit a lot and save a lot of money. (…) The more a design is thought over, the project and later building management is easier and the quality of this design and of the building itself is higher — that is my opinion. And this is what we aim at.
Tomasz Augustyniak: Great, thank you very much. Now, I would like to ask Ms. Paciorkiewicz, as a property manager, to say whether these activities bring some tangible results and whether lessees appreciate this.
Zuzanna Paciorkiewicz: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. We, the property managers, get a certain gift in the form of a building, and get it together with users, or our lessees. We have not much influence (…) on legislation (…). Still a few years ago, not much was said about green certificates, about certified buildings. Take note that that were not the legal obligations, the directives that forced the situation on the market when it comes to certificates; it was rather a grass-roots initiative of the developers’ market, who saw a great competitive edge in having a green building. Thanks to this, it became popular. Why do I speak about that? Because building users are a kind of animal who will do what its beneficial and convenient to them, so the basic obstacle or opportunity to have green buildings, near-zero energy buildings, is in fact the awareness of users. If the users are not aware of that, they will simply interfere with the operation of the building, because they will act as it is the most convenient to them. Therefore there is a need to design bearing in mind that our user is lazy. (…) and here, I would fully agree with the Skanska representative who said that the point is in designing and managing the building in such a way as to use it as it was intended in its design. We, as property managers, sometimes have some problems, because a building is really designed to be green, only after it is build, there is a problem with educating users, with educating technical services, etc. Not everyone is sufficiently educated and has the appropriate awareness yet. This results from the fact that on one hand, everyone thinks that an ecological building will be cheaper, and on the other hand, people are saving on knowledge and on educating the service staff who contribute to the good and proper use of the building. And here once again I will agree with my colleague from Skanska — when analysing the operation of the building, one has to look at the cost analysis of the whole life cycle of the facility. Because a building behaves differently in its first of second year of operation, when it is being occupied by lessees, and it is hard to make it zero-energy at this stage. It may be zero-energy only after some time. And this too has to be taken into account. In the design, everything looks nice in calculations, but in practice, there are many variables coming into the equation. Everything depends also on the method of operation of lessees. (…)
Tomasz Augustyniak: Thank you and I would like Mr. Bartkiewicz to comment on that.
Piotr Bartkiewicz: I am looking at this from the perspective of — let’s call it — science. I am watching certain processes that are happening now. And I have to say that basing on experience we have gained on international projects concerning the method of implementing these directives in other countries, and understanding the Polish context — it seems we could do this simply better. And what you have been stressing — it is true that awareness, end user awareness is very important, but I believe that broadly speaking, awareness of Poles is important. We are not fully convinced and we do not understand too well what lies underneath the provisions we have been speaking of in the context of legislative changes. It seems to me that we need to talk, need to have a wider debate, where we can show why we are doing this, what this change, for instance concerning the thermal performance ratios, consists in. On the other hand, I would like you to note — we still have a few years, if we want to really take this challenge and have in 2020 near-zero energy buildings, and we only start from a level where people do not really know why this is for, do not really want to agree to that, are, as we mentioned it, lazy in some way or another, optimize their costs in some way or another, and also here, we have a free hand with regard to this legislation part. We can think about the life cycle analysis issues. We can think about the optimum cost. We can think about the definition of the near-zero energy building. In Europe, there are a few definitions, different countries started to define this in various ways. We have to consider how will this impact the systems, because in a few moments, we will be designing other systems, we will have to use renewable sources of energy more, which will make the very systems, the very buildings different. Are we ready for that as designers, as contractors and as maintenance service? Are we ready for that as citizens? I believe we aren’t and this is the huge role of education. Please note how poorly we promote examples of buildings, let’s call them, nearly-zero energy or zero-energy or even plus-energy ones. For now, these are just a few isolated examples, but I think it is important to show that it is doable, to think about the consequences it has for us all. So that we do not start making buildings which have actually very low energy consumption but are dramatic when it comes to comfort level and quality of interiors. Perhaps once again, we will throw the baby out with the bathwater. And here I believe the holistic approach we are talking about, an approach where we take care of different issues, is the key. (…) If we could have some incentives rather than just regulations, which tell us how strictly we have to limit the energy demand. These may be financial incentives (…) and if we cannot afford that, some smaller incentives, for instance ones where examination of designs by central administration would be quicker in case of sustainable buildings. There are many examples of that worldwide and we have much to do in this respect. I believe this debate, where the participants represent various companies, various approaches, could help us elaborate on an area that is common to us all and would help us find this solution.
Tomasz Augustyniak: Thank you very much for this lecture. There was a question which I will address to Mr. Gałązka — do buildings which are actually more than average, are certified, are designed and made in accordance with the best practice and are really energy-saving, do these buildings have a chance to have their building permits processed more quickly?
Tomasz Gałązka: As an answer to this question I have to say that all the buildings are assessed in the same way and there will be no special treatment for buildings which have a better energy performance than it results from standards imposed by the law. I would also attract your attention to the fact that all the aspects related to obtaining the building permit and the execution of the investment process include more than just energy-saving. There are many more aspects that have to be taken into consideration.
Tomasz Augustyniak: Thank you although I think we would be more satisfied with a different answer.
Tomasz Gałązka: Well, I had to say what I said.
Tomasz Augustyniak: We are hoping you at the ministry will think it over, maybe in the next years.
Tomasz Gałązka: I wanted to point out to another thing, it is not that these regulations are imposed top-down, by the administration, by the market regulators. All the regulations we were speaking of at the beginning, both the act on energy performance of buildings, and the secondary regulations I mentioned before are subject to major consultations. Every stakeholder may take his or her position about that, different circles make their stand and many proposals, ideas are taken into consideration. Thank you.
Tomasz Augustyniak: OK, changing the subject, when people go to the store and buy a fridge, they have some vague idea of the energy saving class, they also buy a washing machine that is energy-saving — for years they have been prepared, accustomed to that. And they really trust in companies that make these appliances and really make an informed decision. But how is it when they buy a building which has some energy-saving class to which the developer or the designer commit? Are there methods, any ideas on how to commit that the building, with a proper method of use, will actually consume the amount of energy as written on the certificate or in some other calculation presented to the user or lessee? Maybe I would ask Mr. Marszałek to tell us what Skanska thinks in this context — how to convince users or buyers?
Michał Marszałek: Yes, we already thought about this aspect and soon we will be implementing the so-called dashboarding — I’m sorry I’m using so many English words, but sometimes it is impossible to translate it to Polish. We will use information boards in buildings, in main halls. There is a software we are creating in house, which will illustrate the consumption of the building. Each lessee and each visitor of a given building will be aware of how the building operates, at the very moment, how much energy it consumes and where it consumes most. We want to play a bit with the lessees, create a kind of competitions for people or for companies who will be using the least energy in their office. Maybe there will be some mini prizes or some initiatives. We will be thinking of that but is seems as a good step, linked to the awareness we were talking about. Step by step we will make this energy-saving awareness very high in the nearest time.
Tomasz Augustyniak: Maybe someone would like to take the floor again?
Zuzanna Paciorkiewicz: I would like to add one thing — just to follow this way of thinking about positive motivation to be green and to educate, because for now, we have the impression things are just imposed on us (…) I like very much the British example, where the public administration started to show the right direction and started from itself. To put it simply, new offices or authorities which are relocated are relocated only to energy-saving and green buildings. I believe it is a kind of positive example that we could try to implement in Poland too. This generates the highest level of trust. (…) It is an element of positive motivation, as Poles do not like having things imposed on them. I do not like it myself and will do everything out of spite, perhaps not very wisely, but it is so sometimes.
Tomasz Augustyniak: Mr. Gałązka, what does the public sector has to say to that and when the price criterion will cease to be the only criterion, but energy-related criteria will be taken into consideration too?
Tomasz Gałązka: It is hard to say — when it comes to public procurement regulations they contain solutions thanks to which the price criterion is not the only one to be taken into consideration. On the other hand, I would like to refer to the proposal that the public sector should be a model — it is actually so. The public sector has some tasks both concerning the purchase of energy-efficient equipment and to occupy buildings of appropriate energy standard. But one thing has to be said — in its vast majority, the public sector occupies buildings which are quite old, and in many cases, these are historical buildings where the application of energy-saving solutions is very difficult.
Tomasz Augustyniak: Would people on my left like to comment on that?
Paweł Pucher: I would like to continue this subject. I perceive myself as the one looking for gaps in the system. It is true that in the new regulations, which will come into effect, this leading role of public administration is programmed. In fact, if the new regulations become effective, all the public administration buildings of more than 500m of usable space and, from July 2015 — of more than 250m — will have the obligation to place copies of energy certificates at a visible place at the entrance of the building. The same obligation will apply to the non-public sector but only in relation to buildings that have to obtain the energy performance certificate. However please note that we keep talking about new buildings, while in Poland there are more than 6 million used buildings and the energy consumption is the highest there. The draft regulation will apply to them only to a very limited extent. (…)
Tomasz Augustyniak: I would like to thank you very kindly that you came here today. I would like to thank our speakers and would like to stress that as you could see, 40 minutes is a way too short. Therefore we would like to start this debate today. We invite you to participate in it, express your opinions, ask questions we could address to experts. At the beginning of next year we will present the results of this debate. We already have some first remarks of companies, whose representatives could not be with us today due to a shortage of time. So please feel invited to participate in this debate. Thank you.
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