Report on the workshop on the impact of the COVID pandemic on the energy situation of buildings and healthy and sustainable construction

An online format workshop on the impact of the COVID pandemic on the energy situation of public buildings and healthy and sustainable construction was held on September 23, 2022.

Initial presentations looked at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on heating and electricity consumption in public buildings and the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions. Focusing on the period from the start of the pandemic to now, an interesting case study done in County Durham in the UK was presented, as well as an analysis of the energy situation of selected public buildings in three Polish municipalities. It allowed to show important lessons for the future.

The second part of the meeting was devoted to innovative solutions used in public buildings. Participants were able to see how they allow to ensure the right microclimate in buildings and improve the comfort and health conditions of users. A general introduction got acquainted with the issues of healthy and sustainable construction, and a review of good practices applied in office and educational buildings across Poland, made it possible to show what is already happening in this area.

The follow-up to this meeting, was the final panel discussion for the expert group on energy efficiency in buildings established under the REBUS project, which took place in an online format on September 26, 2022. The changing economic situation, rising prices for energy and construction work, as well as facing the aftermath of the recently ended pandemic… It all have created new challenges for public authorities to resolve. These, as well as the analysis of possible solutions, were the main topic of discussion with city representatives. I let to compare situations and approaches to the topic in different municipalities, including the thread of the functioning of public buildings with the partial/full introduction of remote working and learning.

The goal of the REBUS project is to help local governments improve the energy efficiency of public buildings by planning a model "building energy renovation pathway", including planning, execution and monitoring of relevant renovation work in city/municipality-owned buildings, as well as raising the competencies of those involved in the process. In response to new challenges, the project also focuses on the topic of energy management in buildings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising energy prices and construction work, the development of a closed-loop economy, and the need to adapt to the already locally observed negative effects of climate change.