Lazari, E.; Sutherland, G.; Vandaele, L.; Bloem, J.J.; Baker, P.H.; Blumberga, D.
Bibliographic info:
Dynastee 2005 Scientific Conference, 12-14 October, Athens, Greece

The European Research Area (ERA) in the field of energy in buildings continues to develop dynamically in response to both the market needs and to the ongoing technological and legislative developments. Various networking mechanisms can be applied by key actors in the field to enhance access to research activities and increase the coherence of the scientific community: one such mechanism was formulated in the early 90s by the grouping of research actors from the PASSYS and PASSYS II research and technical development projects funded in part by the European Commission. This grouping, the PASLINK EEIG (European Economic Interest Grouping of Outdoor Test Centres), focussed on the maintenance of a highly specialised research infrastructure of outdoor test facilities for evaluation of the thermal and solar performance of building components. The market of the PASLINK EEIG, fundamentally the research market for methods and methodologies in this field, but also the industrial market for development of specific innovative construction components, is changing in line with the ERA. Hence, the grouping must change as a result. A number of options exist for networking, but the transformation of the PASLINK EEIG into a more informal network, as originally considered, would not necessarily guarantee the sustainability of the grouping, despite the fact that its presence as an actor on a European level -providing an essential link between research and application- is justified. Given the changes in the market and the generally adopted concept of incorporating the energy performance of buildings and building components within a more holistic approach, it appears that the scope of the activities of the grouping could be extended. The wider scope of activities could cover more comprehensively the environmental, indeed ecological, performance assessment of buildings, whilst fully incorporating the current activities. A new grouping, ECOPAS EEIG (Eco-Performance Assessment of Buildings) is proposed, in order to fall into line with the widely accepted approach. Given the market requirement for the provision of sustainable network mechanisms which link all the fields of research in the eco performance of buildings, it is proposed that the ECOPAS EEIG should operate as an umbrella organisation for a cluster of more informal networks, covering, for example, current activities (measurement, testing, analysis and simulation) as well as new directions in the field of environmental and ecological impact arising from energy consumption of the construction sector and the builtenvironment.