In the center of Tunisia, a four-hour drive from the capital, lies Sidi Bouzid. Surrounded by mountains, the city is home to 50,000 inhabitants. Soon a major construction site will be underway for a new regional hospital with 33,000 square meters of floor area that will accommodate 420 beds.
The project’s scale and environmental ambitions speak volumes. Many innovations have been included to make this health institution an ecological champion for the region.
Special attention was paid to the hygrothermal potential, namely, the movement of heat and moisture through buildings, to ensure comfortable temperatures for patients and staff throughout the year. This had to be coupled with the building’s energy performance, which exceeds the requirements set by current regulatory framework.
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An army of inventive minds have been working on this for years. Technical assistants for the Program for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (PEEB) have played a key role, “Using architects’ plans, they drew up a diagnostic aimed at optimizing the institution’s energy consumption,” says Mitchell Schouchana, PEEB project coordinator.
Their approach illustrates the program’s overall objective of supporting emerging and developing economies in pursing the de-carbonization of their building sectors. The goal is to pollute less to ensure better living conditions, which are more likely to help to establish peaceful societies.
Build more... Build better
PEEB, a French and German initiative implemented in 2018 by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Agence Française de Développement and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), seeks to solve a critical equation.
The energy-intensive building sector is growing rapidly and the floor area of the global building stock is expected to double by 2060. “Many countries with emerging or developing economies lack strategies for prioritizing green solutions in their building sector,” Mitchell Schouchana explains. “Our role is to help design and implement these strategies.”
PEEB targets the entire building sector chain. Its experts help international stakeholders implement or adapt to current standards, and train officers in charge of their application. On the operational level, they raise awareness of best practices and expertise for energy efficiency, promoting skills development for industry professionals, from architects to construction site managers.
Since funding is crucial, the program mobilizes innovative financing solutions by combining grants and loans, including from AFD and Proparco.
The sharing of experiences
What comes next? Christiana Hageneder, Director of PEEB, emphasizes the sharing of experiences. First of all, at the national level: “The construction of a hospital like Sidi Bouzid will serve as a prototype for 13 similar projects planned by the Tunisian government.”
Currently present in five countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Vietnam and Mexico), PEEB is working in close collaboration with the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC) and promoting transnational exchanges: “In Morocco, we supported the creation of a platform that brings all public and private building sector stakeholders together. It will be an inspiration for projects in Mexico and in Tunisia. ”
PEEB in three figures
- 1 subsidized program receiving €8 million in funding
- 5 partner countries
- Energy efficient projects representing over €1 billion in total investment
It is this desire to meet with new partners that prompted PEEB to participate in the Paris Peace Forum. Because, in the long-term, energy efficiency has a geopolitical scope: “At first glance, pursuing an HQE certification for a hospital seems very technical.
But receiving access to education and health care in high-quality buildings and living in decent housing is a fundamental right for each individual. We cannot separate environmental and social issues; they go together,” says Mitchell Schouchana.
PEEB offers a concrete solution to a global reality: better living conditions for thousands of individuals and peaceful relationships between societies can no longer be considered without taking environmental issues into account.