Sustainable Buildings for the High North project seminar in St. Petersburg
Representatives from three Barents region countries attended the meeting in St.Petersburg and took an active part in all the events arranged by the official organizer of the seminar. The Norwegian team, whose head Mr. Bjørn Sørensen opened the seminar, consisted of Mr Raymond Riise, Mr Eigil Roaldset and Ms Olga Zakharova from Narvik University College and Mr Andrey Kazakov and Ms Natalia Andreassen from University of Nordland. Mr Thomas Olofsson and Ms Ingrid Allard from Umeå University, Sweden, have also agreed to participate in the meeting. The Russian academic group included Mr Vladimir Malyshev, Mr Vladimir Kurenkov, Ms Ekaterina Zvonkova and Ms Lubov Barantseva. The participants represented not purely the academic staff from Universities; the seminar also attracted attention of the municipal officials from Murmansk, i.e. Svetlana Pionkovskaya, Committee for the Urban and Regional Development, and Nikolay Berezhnoy, Murmansk Regional Fund of Residential Stock Capital Repair. Denis Osipov, a representative St.Petersburg business community, has also expressed interest in the seminar.
The first day of the seminar was devoted to presentations and official reports of each team on their work packages and the progress they had made for the time being. The issues raised during the presentations were later the focus of debate during the round-table talk of the second working day. Among them there were topics of responsibility and performance of housing and utilities sector in the Barents region countries, computational methods in planning and design of energy efficient buildings, studies on user behaviour in Russia’s utilities sector, energy audit of some buildings in Murmansk. The other informative talks were concerned with the current state of Russia’s legislative and economic activities in the housing and utilities sectors by the example of Murmansk regional and municipal programmes in the sphere of capital repair, energy efficiency and funding of such projects. The exchange of the information and data accumulated, processed and presented during the two days was a rather invaluable contribution to the project, as the seminar participants coming from different national, economic, educational and social environments enjoyed a great opportunity to share their experience, knowledge and understanding of the issues under discussion.
Besides being engaged into a constructive dialogue inside the project, the seminar participants have also welcomed a chance to promote the project further on the Russian market, so they took part in the Russian International Energy Forum, Energy and Energy Technologies: A Focus on Business Cooperation, where the stand with informative leaflets and a roll-up poster was placed to encourage further cooperation and interest in the issue of energy sustainability and its vital role in the economic and environmental development of the modern society.
To conclude, a final coordinating meeting took place where plans and a schedule of further work were discussed. Firstly, the seminar participants spoke about a necessity to organize a benchmarking trip to Berlin, Germany at the end of September to learn and compare the experience of capital repair of old housing stock. Secondly, the steering group meeting date was defined. And thirdly, Mr Sørensen presented an ambitious final stage of the project, Energy Efficiency Festival, which would be arranged in Murmansk, Russia on 28-30th October 2014. The organizers of the next event hope to raise awareness of both the political elite, the business community and most importantly the general public to the issues of housing renovation, energy efficiency as a way to increase the quality of utilities service and to decrease the public utilities service expenses for consumers.