Part 1: ..ENERGY (1/2)
Part 2. ..ENERGY (2/2)
Part 3: ..MOBILITY
Part 4: ..BUILDINGS
Part 5: ..FOOD
Part 6: ..INDUSTRY
Part 7: ..FINANCE
Part 8: ..SMART ECONOMY
Part 9: ..CIRCULAR ECONOMY
Part 10: PROSUMERS & SOCIAL MODEL
Part 11: EXPLORING ECONOMIC BENEFITS
Part 12: My conclusion
This part 4 comments the chapter “BUILDINGS” (page 121-149). This is a much smaller chapter than the preceding ones, and besides the compulsory buzzwords “green, smart, circular….” seems less utopian and more realistic (but maybe I begin to wear off by reading and rereading so many fashionable sentences). A big objection again is the blatant misconception (I should say lie) on climate change. An example of page 138: “Climate change is dramatically transforming the water cycles of the Earth, given rise to unprecedented winter snows, extreme spring floods, dramatic summer droughts and wildfires…” etc. This is pure BS, and none of these changes can be seen in Luxembourg and neighboring countries. Until now, nobody can unambiguously point to a certain climate change (or even extreme weather phenomenon) and conclude that it is the consequence of man’s emission of CO2.
The main subject is retrofitting buildings to make them Near-Zero-Energy-Buildings (NZEB). The report (p.123) goes into ecstasy when enumerating the thousands of new jobs that will be created; a big idiocy is that “1 million $ spent on LED lightning creates about 13 jobs” . In residential buildings LED lightning will normally be installed by the owner (simply replacing bulbs with LED’s) or in some much rarer cases by the usual electrician. I see no possibility for increased future jobs here. As a matter of fact, this transformation is going on since at least 1-2 years, and certainly should not be included as a TIR element, but as a normal evolution.
Mounting small noisy windmills on the buildings does not seem such a bright idea either, as their efficiency and potential are very low. What I find disturbing, is that again solar PV seems to be the single player, and thermal solar more or less ignored; in my opinion integrating thermal solar (roof or façade panels) into existing heating structures is relatively easy and does not need Big Data transportation between different buildings.
Geothermal also seems a petty subject of the authors; I doubt that Luxembourg’s geothermal potential is great (not withstanding the real ugly problems related to its exploitation, like fracking, induced tremoes, subsistence of the ground etc..).
I applaud the authors that they write at page 131 that there should be no obligation to retrofit, but incentives.
Each future building must be smart (whatever that means) and should be capable of storing electricity to help balancing a grid that will be under heavy stress from the intermittent renewable resources. This is easy to say, but difficult to do. Electrical batteries of the required capacity are expensive, have a great demand for not too common elements like lithium, and have a working life that remains short (a few thousand of charging/recharging cycles). So here again one gets the impression that the problem of electricity storage is close to be solved. Nothing could be more wrong!.
An interesting point is that the report stresses the importance of standardization and modularity in the future buildings. This is a good suggestion, as building today is such a complicated activity, still far away from the benefits that an increased standardization of components (walls, windows, …) could deliver. It also suggests that for every building there should exist one unique dataset (database) holding all information of the building, really a good idea. But suggesting that future building should be done like a military construction of temporary housing for refugees (housing that can easily be built, dismantled, moved around and recycled), seems a bit over the top. And as should be expected, the report suggests a big densification in urban and residential construction. Possibly the future 1 million population will signify the end of individual house ownership.
NEZB will rely on extremely good thermal isolation and artificial controlled airflow. It is not sure that the health consequences will be nil. Hectometers of air-ducts could harbor dangerous legionella populations, molds could develop if ventilation is not adequate etc. There are many examples that these are not hypothetical dangerous, but very real ones. I hope Luxembourg’s governments will closely monitor the rise (or absence of it) of respiration diseases in the new NEZB during the coming years.
(end of part 4)