Diskusný klub v Trnave, 16.5.2024

On Thursday 16.5.2024 we met at the cultural centre Malý Berlín in Trnava for the event „From sustainable buildings to sustainable cities“. The main topics were the creation of sustainable urban districts, positive energy districts and inspiring projects and plans for Trnava. Researcher Jeroen Brouwer from the Netherlands came to speak about the transformation of cities to carbon neutral and concrete districts in Amsterdam. Thank you to all participating guests, the audience and partners for the presentations of innovative approaches, discussion and pleasant atmosphere.

At the beginning we were addressed by Mrs. Henriette van Notten, Deputy head of mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Slovakia, who gave the patronage to this event.

It’s about relationships between people, about trying to understand each other. And that’s exactly why we’re here. Let this event be about energy, about connections, about inspiration.“

We were happy to meet you in Trnava, despite being a small city, the topic of sustainability is alive and well and they are introducing innovations in urban development, energy and mobility. We were welcomed by city officials, Vice Mayor Eva Nemčovská and the Head of the Department of Urban Planning of the City of Trnava Ondrej Horváth, who presented current projects that contribute to Trnava’s goals in the field of sustainability and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Positive energy district Republica in Amsterdam, photo: Maikel Samuels

The main speaker of the event, Jeroen Brouwer from the Dutch TNO Vector, presented the project of an energy plus district in Buiksloterham in the north of Amsterdam. What steps would he advise municipalities in Slovakia to take and what should they avoid?

„I would encourage all cities to ask architects and developers to go beyond the state of the art, beyond what is currently required in legislation. Building standards are only the minimum of what we can achieve in quality and in various aspects of sustainability.“

He continued: „That’s why at the level of cities, regions and even the whole country you need to find initiatives that want to go a step further. We need to demand a higher level of innovation and support their motivation, for example by helping them to take some of the risk they are entering into when they start something that is completely new.“

In the next presentation, architect Viliam Zajíček from Sadovsky & Architects presented the last completed stage of the award-winning Trnava Nádvorie project, the transformation of the original historic townhouses and their courtyards into one complex. It is an example of how historic cores can be sensitively intervened and at the same time technically modernised and revitalised. Despite the limited possibilities for energy saving in terms of the presentation of the cultural heritage elements, it has been possible to build a system that can supply the building throughout the year without the need for additional energy production.

How did you manage to convince the investor to use innovative technologies and materials? What was the most difficult part?

Intense collaboration and communication can reduce risks in all innovations. But they require hard work every day. Investors take time to embrace new technologies, it helps a lot that there are already a lot of completed projects and data that we can use to convince them.

The programme of the discussion club also included presentations by prominent Slovak companies, which focused on specific solutions in renewable energy and sustainable material solutions. They were presented by Milan Sedláček from Tepore and Igor Krajčovič from REHAU. How does Igor Krajčovič, Head of Sales of Building Technologies, evaluate the comparison of the number of projects implemented in Slovakia and Austria?

We started 15 years ago, and it takes time. Compared to what’s being built in Austria it’s slow, but it’s getting better. Now we are feeling stronger pressure for change, both from EU legislation, also from Slovak laws and also from financial institutions, and so it is all starting to come together and we are happy that it is no longer just about individual projects, but we are working on a bigger scale.

Thank you to all the partners of the event, to all the participants, and we look forward to seeing you in other cities at the „From Sustainable Buildings to Sustainable Cities“ Discussion Clubs.

Text: Ivana Nemethová

Photos: Zora Pauliniová