Part of a wider movement to promote coherence in green building standards, France is pushing to ensure that its own standard, the HQE, becomes the norm in Europe. Haute Qualité Environnementale is an approach which uses 14 criteria for reducing consumption of natural resources and discharge of pollutants, as well as enhancing the comfort and health dimension of buildings. It focuses on the design and construction phases of renovation as well as new building projects. Certification is underwritten by the Paris-based Association pour la Haute Qualité Environnementale.
Alain Maugard, President of the Scientific and Technical Building Centre (CSTB), is lobbying for a Europe-wide adoption of the HQE standard. In an interview with Les Echos earlier this month, he noted that France’s HQE was among the world’s most advanced certification procedures.
“Right now there is competition globally among the different certification “brands”. You have the North American label LEED, which is used in Canada and the USA…. the Japanese reference CASBEE, which seeks to be the leader in Asia, particularly in China, and the BREEAM (U.K.)”.
“What we are trying to do is to forge alliances with the UK and our other European colleagues, notably German, in order to define a certification which would permit convergence of all the technical references covering initiatives of environmental quality which respects local culture.”
In April, the CSTB of France and its UK counterpart the Building Research Establishment (BRE) announced the launch of a new organization called the Sustainable Building Alliance which aims to speed up the international adoption of sustainable building practices through the promotion of shared methods of building performance assessment and rating. Some 20 odd countries have expressed interest in taking part, and some of them are meeting in Stuttgart, Germany this week for discussions. The alliance is modelled on the concept of airline alliances and hopes to pursue an approach of providing transparency between building assessment rating systems, while recognizing the need for regional and national differences to be reflected within such systems.
via Les Echos