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Wellbeing and energy efficiency at the heart of SUSTAINABLE buildings

COP21 is coming soon, and those who care about safeguarding future generations are advocating for a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions to limit global warming and its potentially disastrous consequences.

Within the building industry, we have been claiming it for years: buildings must be the cornerstone of the energy and climate transition; they have huge environmental consequences, but the solutions to reduce their impact are already widely available, cost efficient and bring the added value of fostering economic growth and job creation.

While today energy efficiency and carbon neutrality are considered prerequisites for sustainable buildings, it’s becoming more and more obvious that they must meet the challenges of all three sustainability pillars (Environmental, Social, and Economic) over their whole lifecycle.

At every stage, a building designed, built or renovated in a sustainable way helps improve people’s comfort, safety and well-being, while minimizing the consumption of energy and natural resources, reducing the environmental footprint and resulting in lower running costs and increased property values.

At least, this is our vision at Saint-Gobain: a vision supported by sound building science and a fact-based business case, and encompassed in our Multi-Comfort program.

Combining four key aspects of comfort–thermal, acoustic, visual and indoor air quality – the Multi-Comfort program showcases, through real projects, how to achieve an exceptionally high level of building performance while creating a sustainable, comfortable, low maintenance and cost effective living environments. In other words, living, working, even playing in a sustainable building means feeling at ease, keeping an ideal indoor temperature all year long, being protected from outside noise, enjoying full natural light without glare, surrounded by clean air, with no worries about high energy bills.

Created to address the challenges of designing for different building types, in different climate zones and in different building traditions, our Multi-Comfort program has already provided some valuable learnings from its first realizations: 20 buildings in 14 countries have been constructed to date.

But we also know that cooperation along the entire value chain is essential to further develop the business case for sustainable buildings and to deliver at large scale those comfortable and healthy buildings occupants deserve.

We believe that it is essential to bring clear evidence to all those who design, build, own, occupy, operate or sell buildings, that sustainable buildings are a win-win game for people, businesses and the environment.

That is why, above and beyond our involvement with Green Building Councils*, we have decided to support the “Better Places for People” campaign, to share and increase together with other trendsetters the knowledge and the capabilities around sustainable buildings.

We are very optimistic that this campaign will be a major milestone on the road towards better living places for all people and their environment.

*Saint-Gobain is a member of more than 30 GBC worldwide, a member of the WorldGBC Corporate Advisory Board and a partner of the European Network of GBCs

Pascal Eveillard and Camille Fabre, Sustainable Habitat Director and Manager at Saint-GobainPascal Eveillard is a member of the Better Places for People Steering Committee.