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Best practices in sustainable, affordable housing – Danish and Portuguese experiences

On June 16, the Embassy of Denmark, together with the Municipality of Lisbon, hosted another initiative organised under the bilateral co-operation between Lisbon and Copenhagen on promoting energy efficient solutions in affordable housing.

Picture: Construction site, photo taken from Vandkunsten presentation

In the beautiful Salão Nobre at Lisbon town hall, politicians and practitioners from Portugal and Denmark shared their policy perspectives, best practices and challenges on creating affordable, sustainable housing.  
The challenges faced by Copenhagen and Lisbon are different, but solutions and best practice initiatives in providing traditional social housing, as well as affordable housing for the young and the middle class, are often similar. Therefore exchanging views and ideas is important and mutually beneficial.

Three Danish companies had the opportunity to present their solutions at the seminar.  

Bombas GRUNDFOS Portugal S.A. presented how they work with energy optimisation in pumping systems. Grundfos is a global leader in advanced pump solutions and a trendsetter in water technology. 10% of the world’s electricity is used for driving pumps, and a great share of pumps used are not efficient. In fact 2/3 of all pumps run at an unsustainable full speed all the time, which is only needed 4-5% of the time. Therefore, there is a potential to reduce pump energy consumption by up to 60%. Investing in new pumps give a quick return on investment - payback time can be as short as 1.8 years. Grundfos typically performs energy check visits, processes data and provides the client with an energy check report giving an overview of potential savings. In previous cases analysed by Grundfos in Portugal -  Centro Cultural de Belém and Hotel Tryp Coimbra - Grundfos pumping systems gave 73% and 80% savings in energy respectively.
MT Højgaard (MTH), a market leader in construction in the Nordic countries, had the opportunity to explain how they increase productivity and reduce risk by working with novel tools and processes, which can improve efficiency in construction and building maintenance - Virtual Design and Construction (VDC).
Put in a popular way, MTH is best in class in executing construction projects virtually before doing it on site. VDC is not only a smart software showing alternative models, financial implications and timing issues; it is process management, which allows early involvement of all stakeholders and risk management. MTH explained how Danish Public Clients use VDC to optimise their affordable housing projects.
MTH is represented in Portugal by Seth. Seth specialises in harbour construction and marine works and operates on the Portuguese market including the Azores, and in Africa.

Finally, Vandkunsten Architects from Copenhagen presented us with different cases of sustainable, affordable as well as attractive housing solutions, built in the Copenhagen area. Vandkunsten offered their Lisbon counterparts representing “programa renda acessível” a series of “best practice ideas” on affordable, sustainable housing, since Vandkunsten architects have been working in this area for many years. 

The Embassy of Denmark was delighted with the exchange of ideas. We were also happy to receive a big number of participants at the seminar, and look forward to continuing the cooperation with the Municipality of Lisbon.