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WSB News - August 2014

World SB14 Barcelona preliminary programme is now available!

20/08/2014 - A new website that will allow you to learn and plan your day to day at the Conference, depending on your interests and motivations. So that you don’t miss anything and make the most of World SB14 Barcelona.


144 Sessions. Six Plenary Sessions. Speeches, presentations, coffee breaks…We know there is a lot of content and we are sure that you find it all interesting. That is why we have just published the preliminary programme of World SB14 Barcelona. Because we don’t want you to miss anything, make the most of this great gathering that will mark a before and after within the building sector on a global level.
Designed as a pull-down calendar, with a series of tags that help define session content, in this space you will find useful information on each of the programmed events during the Conference: Session title, Conference area it belongs to, invited speakers, time and place, etc.
So you will be able to organise your visit with plenty of time, selecting what type of activities you want to attend, classifying them by areas, topics, or even by speakers’ names.
Visit the preliminary programme and start planning your Conference!

The Government of Spain enters the World Sustainable Building Conference with a Platinum Sponsorship

20/08/2014 - The Government of Spain, through the Ministries of Infrastructures and Agriculture, Food Quality and the Environment, will have a highlighted presence at the World Sustainable Building Conference, World Sustainable Building 2014 Barcelona (World SB14 Barcelona)


Thus, both Ministries join other public entities and important companies within the building sector in sponsoring this great international gathering that will take place from the 28th to the 30th October in Barcelona and which will count on the presence of the main building sector stakeholders from all over the world.
In becoming PLATINUM sponsors, both Ministries will become directly and immediately involved in Conference development. They will enjoy a large exhibition space in the Innovation Fair that will take place simultaneously and will take part in the several debate sessions that will answer each of the questions put forward by the Conference Scientific Committee.  
Luis Álvarez-Ude, CEO at Green Building Council España (GBCe), showed his satisfaction on the involvement of the Government in the World Sustainable Building Conference: “it is another demonstration of the commitment acquired by our Public Administrations in the sustainable development of the building sector. Along the past few months we have seen how our country has developed a new regulatory framework, much more favourable to building and renovation with energy efficient and sustainable criteria. With this sponsorship, the Government is showing its concern on a sector that will be a pillar for economy and employment in Spain”.

Robert Engelman, keynote speaker in the Area “A Global Vision” at World SB14 Barcelona

20/08/2014 - Robert Engelman, Senior Fellow and president until a few months ago of the World Watch Institute, has confirmed his participation in the World Sustainable Building Conference, World SB14 Barcelona. He will be present as a keynote speaker in the Session GB3, “Is sustainability still possible? The role of the building sector”, set within the Global Vision Area of the Conference.


Robert Engelman, researcher and former news reporter specialised in Science and the Environment, works as a researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, currently directing the Institute’s Family Planning and Environmental Sustainability Assessment project. This organisation, based in Washington D.C., works as an independent research institute devoted to global environmental concerns since 1974. The Institute’s top mission is to improve life-quality through universal access to renewable energy and nutritious food, expansion of environmentally sound jobs and development, transformation of cultures from consumerism to sustainability, and an early end to population growth through healthy and intentional childbearing.  


Worldwatch enjoys great prestige and is widely recognised by international public opinion for its foresight and accessible, fact-based analysis. Facing uncomfortable environmental global issues, the Institute develops innovative solutions that blend government leadership, private sector enterprise, and citizen action. During Mr Engelman’s presidency, the University of Pennsylvania rated the Worldwatch Institute as one of the top three environmental think tanks in the world.

About Robert Engelman
Robert Engelman currently directs the Institute’s Family Planning and Environmental Sustainability Assessment project and pursues research in human population, reproductive health, gender, climate change, and sustainability science.
Before joining the Worldwatch Institute, Engelman was Vice President for Research at Population Action International, PAI, an international policy research and advocacy group that advocates for women and families to have access to contraception in order to improve their health, reduce poverty and protect their environment.
Robert Engelman has also served on the faculty of Yale University as a visiting lecturer and was founding secretary of the Society of Environmental Journalists, SEJ. This organisation, founded in 1990, has more than 1,400 members – journalists and academics – all over the world.
As a writer, he has carried out research and published many works on the connection between population and climate change, economic growth and civil conflicts. His peer-reviewed papers have been published in Nature, The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Conservation Biology, and The Journal of Environment & Development.
It is also worth highlighting that Mr Engelman was granted the Global Media Award for Individual Reporting, of the Population Institute, for his book, More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want(2008).
As a journalist, his articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Scientific American and The Wall Street Journal.

Interview with Albert Cuchí and Antonio Lucio on World SB14 Barcelona

20/08/2014 - One of the PLATINUM sponsors of the World Sustainable Building Conference, the insulation manufacturer URSA, division of the multinational URALITA, interviewed two of the maximum representatives of World SB14 Barcelona in the company’s latest newsletter. Albert Cuchí and Antonio Lucio are two relevant figures in the sustainable building sector. They both possess wide experience, leading them to be two of the highest coordinators of World SB14 Barcelona.


Albert Cuchí, Conference President, is the author of the Report “A Global Vision”, which analyses the impact that building has on climate change, and its consequences on world population. The Report is coordinated by the Area “A Global Vision”, under the responsibility of Antonio Lucio. We hereby reproduce the very interesting interview in which URSA took part after the presentation of this Report, starting point of the debate at the World Conference.

Question: Antonio, as person responsible for coordinating and managing this Area, could you tell us what it will comprise and which are its main goals?

Antonio Lucio – When talking about a Global Vision Area we are referring to a part of the Conference in which we think on the Earth as a whole. This is not utopian, it is necessary to be practical and to be able to do things in the near future.
In the famous ’92 Earth Summit, which is sort of the starting point of what we have been doing for the past 20 years, the conclusion on how to behave forward was that we must think globally and act locally. Because to be efficient we must think globally.

Q. - But aren’t the problems in China or India, Canada or any European country, completely different?

A.L. – Yes and no. There are some common problems and some singular problems.
But we can all learn from each other. Within the field of exchanging good practices, for a long time we thought that Northern and more developed countries could give lessons and cooperate with knowledge. Then the process started on how experiences and lessons from developing countries helped other developing countries and the South-South cooperation concept appeared. Lately, talk has arisen on South-North cooperation and lessons, as well as North-South and South-South, because sometimes when trouble, needs or gaps appear, and resources are not fully available, one makes more use of one’s imagination.
Now we are all aware, even in more developed nations, that resources are not unlimited. We are starting to learn things from the South, in some cases things that we did until 50,100 or 150 years ago, things that we stopped doing when we thought that we had natural resources in abundance. In any case, from the point of view of exchanging knowledge and experiences, the framework and the “global village” is a reality.
It is also true that some specific problems happen in some places which are radically different to others. For example, in the developed world the main problem is energy: how we consume less energy when building and maintaining our homes. However, if we think about the hundreds of thousands of poor and insufficient houses in many suburbs, the main problem is water: how to bring drainage and potable water to these homes or, simply, how to cook without filling the house with smoke. The main concern is not energy. Nevertheless, climate change is a problem that concerns all, as is the soaring price of energy, fruit of excessive demand compared to limited offer. In sum, it is necessary to think globally and act locally, something that had not been done until now in the building sector.

Q. – What would need to happen in the Conference to make you think that this area’s targets have been met?

A.L. - Go through the first round. And be aware that there are three or four rounds left to finish a really efficient approach. That is why we believe that our effort is to launch the race, encourage it, knowing that there are still three rounds left. Start with a good pace and very well trained. That is what we are working on.
But we will see the complete document, the mature approach, in the year 2017. We don’t need to wait until then for the Roadmap because we can start building it now. We have an index with information and conclusions but we lack information to fill in other chapters. We can have this in three years.

Q.- Albert, in this World Cup environment we have just passed, in which moment is the Conference right now: first half, second half, extra time?
A.C. – Following the football comparison you are using, right now the goalkeeper has the ball and is starting the game. The ball must now advance and finally strike goal. A process is starting, with a clear end, an end that wants to be achieved within a specified timing. What we are doing is setting the ball rolling.

Q. - And it is set rolling with a Report, also named “A Global Vision”. What are the main novelties presented and what does it tell building sector stakeholders?

A.C. – Well, if we had to provide a headline it would be that if the building sector continues evolving as it has up to now, it will break the most recognised global environmental limits, climate change or even the energy crisis we are immersed in. In this sense, the most symptomatic graph is this. In 2050, the building sector, in order to satisfy the needs of a growing population, also in resources, and that will claim decent housing, is going to use and generate all the emissions that we are allowed to emit as a whole, if we want to keep the increase in Earth temperature under 2ºC.
Our society’s objectives regarding climate change are not viable with maintaining a building sector that serves, as is has until now, growing housing needs. Therefore, the sector must understand these global limits, appreciate their local expressions, and develop diagnosis and roadmaps that allow habitability needs to be covered.

Q. – So is political commitment unavoidable?

A.C. - Yes, but also commitment from all parts of society and building sector stakeholders. We must think that we carry out a crucial role and thus are committed to the targets that our society has to survive. We must achieve this from a bottom-up perspective, from our conscience as individuals, and globally as stakeholders and a building sector.

Q. - We talk about political responsibility, building sector stakeholders. Which role do you think industries, manufacturers such as URSA, will have not only in this Conference, but also in that goal of moving faster than we currently are?

A.C. - First of all, I see manufacturers as stakeholders within the building sector. One of the things that this Report says is that we must not only consider emissions or energy consumption needed to maintain habitability levels, but also to produce the materials and products necessary. Therefore manufacturers are in; we need their opinion and capacity to understand these limits, as well as the strategies they can envisage. In the case of insulating manufacturers, we need them to understand the building sector’s challenges and contribute with their very useful views and approaches.
A.L. – The other side of the coin, defined by social needs and environmental limits, are the opportunities for building materials providers and manufacturers, for the whole value chain. Our approach to a Global Vision can be read as a great market survey, where a large part will work as a globalised economy and another part will surely work with small-scale economies, highlighting social entrepreneurship.

For a company like URSA, that large portion of covering needs - directly related to the insulating materials produced – finds directions in the market survey that our Global Vision approach sets for the next few decades.

Baker & McKenzie, SILVER sponsor at World SB14 Barcelona

20/08/2014 - The prestigious international law firm Baker & McKenzie has also wanted to be present at the World Sustainable Building Conference. This prominent multinational is the first on a global level, with the highest turnover and over 11,000 employees all around the world, 200 of them in Spain.


The law firm develops its activity focusing on a high level of specialisation and innovation, with clients in key business sectors such as building. This sponsorship will grant Baker & McKenzie an exhibition space and the opportunity to organise one debate session, formed by a chair and four speakers who will answer one of the questions posed by the Conference Scientific Committee.

Logo  Baker & McKenzie

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