Fabian Demicoli

UGreenS – Lifelong Learning Programme


Leonardo da Vinci – Transfer of Innovation – Sustainability,
which involves the optimization of economic, social and environmental issues,
is becoming a key element in buildings and the construction sector in
general. 

The construction industry,
being one of the foremost consumers of energy, cannot ignore requirements of
sustainable development any longer. Within a climate change context, the
immediate implementation of sustainable construction practices are becoming a
necessity. Urban Greening technologies are in consonance with the EU's response
to the climate change challenge thus enhancing the climate resilience for
buildings in general

Whilst
the general principles of sustainable construction are slowly being
incorporated in university curricula under the pressing deadline of the Europe
2020 targets, it would be a rather late response, if one were to wait for such
educational programs to bear fruit. Furthermore we cannot ignore professionals
already in the field as well as developers and NGOs militating on built
environment issues.  Developers have
always shown themselves to be responsive to emerging technologies which they
are willing to implement through the capability of seasoned professionals and
who are regularly kept in check by civil society.  We therefore need to tap into a number of
practicing professionals (engineers, architects, landscape architects and urban
horticulturists) who are familiar with urban greening concepts and are also
eager to learn new techniques and, in turn, disseminate them to their
respective societies so as to be able to hit the ground running.

Urban
Greening (UG) uses technologies (such as Green Roofs and Living Walls) that are
widely known to mitigate urban heat island effects, storm-water runoff, as well
as providing thermal conditioning for buildings, thus significantly
contributing to sustainable construction and development. In Mediterranean
countries, however, UG technologies have witnessed little application. The
reasons for this include a lack of knowledge, by society and the construction
industry, of the benefits of using green roofs and a limited technical
expertise for the widespread implementation of UG technologies.  Green infrastructure solutions are often
cheaper in one-off and maintenance costs than purely technical protection at a
larger scale.  Moreover such solutions
also enhance the aesthetics of a building and enhance its value.

UGreenS
aims at introducing the practical know-how for the implementation of two new
technologies, Green Roofs and Living Walls, both of which fall under the
umbrella of Urban Greening.  This
knowledge will be introduced to practitioners such as professional engineers,
architects, scientists and where there is specific interest to developers and
non-governmental organisations to enhance the skills of the capacity of our
community, offer the opportunity of training those who wish to be first movers
in these areas and ultimately reinforce sustainable construction in Malta.  An initial 2 day workshop will be shortly be
organised for 10 professionals.  The
organisation of another workshop will be given due consideration if there are
specific requests from the business, development, professional or non-governmental
communities for additional training sessions aimed to introduce these concepts.

 

The Faculty for the Built Environment
is the Maltese partner involved in this transfer of knowledge programme which
commenced last year and which brings together experts from Spain, Greece and
Cyprus.  For further information or in
order to express an interest in exploring the possibility of organising a 2 day
workshop (minimum 10 participants), free of charge, contact the resident
academic involved in this project, Perit Kevin Gatt, on .  Moreover you are also invited to regularly
visit the project website at www.ugreens.eu to be updated on the project's
development.

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