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Τhe European Council of Civil Engineers has declared the Year 2020 as the Year of the 3S Approach “Safe – Sound – Sustainable”

The European Council of Civil Engineers has declared the Year 2020 as the Year of the 3S Approach Safe – Sound – Sustainable. The official opening event of this initiative was held on 14th December 2019, at Nicosia, Cyprus during the 27th General Assembly of the Cyprus Association of Civil Engineers.

It is a fundamental and inalienable human right for everyone to live in a Safe, Sound and Sustainable home. For this reason, it is necessary to have first and foremost structural security in buildings and then sustainability.

Europe's engineers, and ordinary citizens alike, are wondering why significant amounts of money are invested in improving the shell of buildings, ignoring the structural adequacy of these buildings, especially in countries located in earthquake-prone areas.

The suggestion is that a holistic policy should be drawn up for the structural or seismic upgrading of the structural wealth of European States, along with the wider sustainable environmental upgrading, approaching the problem in a rational way.

The new trend nowadays is...smart financing for smart buildings. But a building can only be called smart... once it fulfills the 3S approach "safe, sound and sustainable".

ECCE has launched the 3S Initiative aiming to raise awareness on this topic in an effort to make an impact towards achieving one of the most important Human rights affordable, Safe, Sound and Sustainable buildings (3S).

In this context, ECCE has published the 3S Manifesto in the beginning of 2020 and has recently prepared the Position Paper titled "The Need for integrating Structural / Seismic Upgrade of Existing Buildings, with Energy Efficiency Improvements".

3S Manifesto

ECCE Position Paper "The Need for integrating Structural / Seismic Upgrade of Existing Buildings, with Energy Efficiency Improvements" 

The 3S Manifesto has been translated to various languages to facilitate the dissemination and enhance the publicity of the initiative among its members. The 3S Manifesto translations and the Position Paper "The Need for Integrating Structural / Seismic Upgrade of Existing Buildings, with Energy Efficiency Improvements" can be accessed in the ECCE web page.

ECCE is very satisfied to notice that ECCE's campaign on the 3S initiative gains ground continuously as we acknowledge the adoption of these ideas by other European organizations.

The European Commission’s Joint Research Center is being carrying out the European Pilot Project: Integrated techniques for the seismic strengthening and energy efficiency of existing buildings. This Pilot Project puts forward a holistic approach to improve simultaneously the seismic safety and energy efficiency of the European building stock. ECCE was invited to participate and present its views and the main points of the Position Paper "The Need for integrating Structural / Seismic Upgrade of Existing Buildings, with Energy Efficiency Improvements" during the JRC online Workshop that was held from 16 until 19 November 2020.

The pilot project directly supports several European Commission priorities including the Green Deal’s call for renovating in an energy and resource efficient way. It provides technical background in support of the Renovation Wave initiative and an action plan to modernise the European building stock.

The Renovation Wave Initiative communication states “An integrated approach to building renovation means boosting energy performance of buildings by applying the ‘energy efficiency first’ principle, deploying renewables, preparing for climate impacts, deploying urban green and blue infrastructure and incorporating circular economy, waste treatment and pollution prevention principles.”

Although we agree with the concept of a wider and integrated approach of renovation, we have to remark that it is still far from a holistic view of the problem of maintaining and upgrading the performance of existing buildings and infrastructure.

Renovation and retrofitting works need to be done in parallel with other necessary interventions so that the essential requirements established in the Construction Products Regulation are also respected.

Providing safe buildings and infrastructure for the citizens of Europe is clearly a political responsibility and obligation which needs to be sought after by not only European professional organizations but by the National Governments as well.