Conference Center Opening
An inauguration ceremony
was held on June 27 by the
Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC)
to mark the official opening of its environmentally friendly conference
which has a target of zero annual CO2 emissions.
Built as a brownfield investment, what makes the REC
Conference Center unique is the fact that it is optimally capable of operating
with a long-term zero energy balance.
The project has been financed mainly by the Ministry
of Environment, Land and Sea, Italy. Additional financial
support was provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein
and Norway through the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial
Mechanism. (This investment is one of the first EEA projects to be realised
with Hungary as the National Development Agency). The net value of the
investment was almost EUR 2 million. The companies that provided the infrastructural
and building technologies, as well as materials, also made in-kind contributions
in the form of significant discounts:
- Krüll-Ung Kft. – shades and blinds
- Oktoklima Kft. – heat pumps and air-handling
- Philips Lighting – lighting system
- Rheinzink – building envelope
- Sanyo Hungary Kft. – solar panels
- Sauter Automatika Kft. – building automation
The ambitious target of zero annual average CO2 emissions
is made possible by the simultaneous use of specific design techniques,
automated systems and renewable sources of energy, including solar power.
Electricity for the building’s heating and cooling
systems and the energy needed to operate the lighting system and other
electrical equipment is provided by 140 photovoltaic solar panels with
a combined nominal output of 29 kW. In the event that the electricity
produced on site proves insufficient (e.g. at night or during peak hours)
the system receives power from the electricity grid. In exchange, electricity
is supplied to the grid during periods of surplus power production.
The heat pumps installed in the building take advantage
of the relatively constant year-round temperature deep below the ground,
as compared with the ground surface. This temperature difference can be
converted into useable energy via 12 pipes installed in shafts drilled
into the ground. The system increases the efficiency of the heating and
cooling systems throughout the year. The interior air temperature is regulated
by a dual system, comprising an air-circulating unit and radiant ceiling
heating/cooling. The combined effect provides a very comfortable interior
environment for visitors. The air flow throughout the building is automatically
adjusted according to the number of people inside at any given time. These
solutions are remarkably effective.
As part of the building renewal, a new building envelope
was added, reducing heat loss in winter, preventing heat absorption in
summer and maximising the exploitation of natural light.
A continuous glass ribbon has been installed along the
upper section of the interior walls on each floor. The ribbon is positioned
on a horizontal overhang extended towards the interior, which creates
a “light shelf” to direct sunlight inwards. During summer
months the shelf also functions as a shading device, along with moveable
and fixed screens and Venetian blinds. The actual output of the light
fixtures is regulated according to data collected by light sensors. This
system allows for continuous adjustments, so minimising reliance on artificial
The REC – an international organisation with a
mission to promote sustainable development and the protection of our environment
– and its partners will make use of the new building in several
ways. As well as being a conference venue, the REC Conference Center will
function as a demonstration and information centre as well as a climate
The REC Conference Center was designed in Italy by Architetture
Sostenibili, and the design was implemented locally by Kima Studio. The
Italian project leader, Professor Federico M. Butera, believes that we
already possess the technologies to slow down climate change but that
technology cannot solve the problem without a change in people’s
attitudes and behaviour.
It is expected to take several decades to recoup the
approximately EUR 2 million invested. However, the positive effects on
the environment are apparent from the day of the building’s inauguration.
The two conference rooms (with a capacity of 120 and 80 people respectively)
will be used to host REC events and will also be an ideal venue for events
of other organisations and companies with an environmental profile or
activities in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility. The building
will also be open for guided tours for school groups, engineering students
and other interested professionals, with the goal of promoting and supporting
the proliferation of green architecture in the region.
REC is an international not-for-profit environmental
protection agency based in Hungary, which operates an extensive network
of regional offices, with a history going back to the time of political
changes in Eastern Europe. Its main goal is to set the rapid social and
economic development of the region on a solid environmentally friendly
foundation by providing help and financial support to specific projects.
The REC is therefore primarily a coordination hub, serving as a catalyst
for positive change. Its task is continuously to update and harmonise
macro- and micro-level regional strategy, and assess various local needs
in terms of environmental protection projects, evaluating their quality,
securing financing for them and distributing funds.
The REC is an independent international organisation
established in 1990 by the European Commission, the United States of America,
and the Republic of Hungary. Today, the REC is legally based on a charter
signed by the governments of 29 countries and the European Commission.
It has 200 employees, working in 17 countries. The headquarters are located
in Szentendre, Hungary. Since 1990, the REC has completed projects with
a total value of EUR 120 million, primarily in Eastern Europe, although
part of its activities extend to Asia, Africa and South America.
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For further information please contact Mr. Zsolt Bauer, Communications Director of the REC (email@example.com
/ (36-20) 560-1659.