In November 2019, BREEAM delegates David Leonard and Weikai Gong attended the first Green Building Conference held at the Kyiv National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture (KNUCA). Organised by Professor Tetyana Krivomaz, Professor of Kyiv National Construction and Architecture University, the conference was attended by students, members of the construction industry and BREEAM assessors from the local region. The aim of the conference was to stimulate interest in sustainable building practices, share knowledge of success stories and for BREEAM to establish a partnership with the university to deliver BREEAM training as part of their educational programs.
Ukraine is the largest country within Europe with a population of 42 million, achieving independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By signing a free trade agreement with the EU in 2016, beginning the process of developing Ukraine’s economy, governance and rule of law to EU standards,[i] this young country is pushing towards transformation in its built environment and greater integration with Europe. As examples of BREEAM’s success in neighbouring countries, both BREEAM in Poland and in Russia were represented at the conference.
Ksenia Agapova of MCL, assessor of one of the first BREEAM certified projects in the Ukraine ‘Astarta’, demonstrated in her presentation the growth of BREEAM in Russia, currently numbering nearly 150 assessments.[ii] Tetiana Kanashchuk of Gleeds presented the meteoric rise of BREEAM assessments in Poland, from the first assessment in 2010 to nearly 800 certified to date. [iii]
This rapid growth demonstrates the level of demand in new markets for sustainable development, and in some countries this has become the expectation rather than the exception for aspirational clients. In establishing itself within Ukraine, BREEAM aims to build upon these successes in Eastern Europe and help to create a catalyst for similar change within the Ukraine.
Speaking with delegates there was a desire not only for economic prosperity, but also for greater consideration of the environment. Several presentations referenced UN Sustainable Development goals, national press were present, and students demonstrated their awareness of environmental issues through installations created for the conference.
Barriers still exist towards wider adoption however. A lack of sustainability professionals, stakeholder awareness and few existing case studies within the country were identified in a ‘Barriers to BREEAM’ workshop held by the BREEAM delegates. A partnership in Ukraine to develop BREEAM training for its students will help to address this important first step towards training a new generation of sustainability building professionals.
Beyond the conference, a separate meeting at the Ministry of Ecology and Energy gave our delegates a chance to meet members of government, and share BREEAM’s approach towards infrastructure. It is hoped that the conference and the contacts made will be an important first step towards creating a foundation for BREEAM based on education, robust science and business for the future growth of sustainable building in Ukraine.
[ii] Greenbook Live
[iii] Greenbook Live