For further information please contact our General Manager, Sigridur Bjork Jonsdottir,
by e-mail: email@example.com or by phone: +354 5712700 (work) / + 354 8403838(mobile).
The Icelandic Green Building Council ( Vistbyggðarráð in Icelandic) is now located at Höfðabakki 9, 110 Reykjavík.
Role and objectives
The Icelandic Green Building Council (IGBC) is a consultation venue for companies, municipalities and public entities in the construction sector with the common goal of increasing the use of sustainable construction methods and land-use planning. The principal object of the Green Building Council is to be a leading venue in the field of sustainable development in land-use planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of installations in Iceland. Furthermore, it is the role of the Icelandic Green Building Council to formulate policies and to lead the discussion on ecological methods and focal points in accordance with international criteria on sustainable development in general.
VBR’s fundamental goals involve:
• Defining the Icelandic criteria for sustainable construction making it easier for designers and interested parties to increasingly develop an sustainable focus in land-use planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of installations in Iceland.
• Supporting the professional debate and research in the field of sustainable land-use planning and construction.
• Increasing the awareness of the public and interested parties within Iceland as regards to sustainable land-use planning and construction.
• Engaging in co-operation with foreign counterparts with the goal of sharing our experience and taking advantage of knowledge gained in other countries.
It is important for such a small nation to join hands in regards to progress in the field of sustainble efforts in the construction sector as a whole. Therefore, it is vital to utilise the knowledge available in various parts of the world while at the same time adapting methods and technology from other countries to Icelandic conditions.
International and Nordic co-operation
IGBC’s role models are the Green Building Councils, some of which are also members of the World Green Building Council established in 2002. (see www.worldgbc.org)
WGBC is an independent council whose primary goal is to facilitate the development of ecological design in the global construction industry and to be the international voice for ecological values and development in construction. The association provides members with assistance and information, ensures that their work is effective and that they work together and share knowledge and experience amongst themselves. It is precisely this role that the Icelandic Green Building Council plays in Iceland, i.e. in bringing parties together and sharing experience and knowledge, in particular concerning adaptations to Icelandic conditions which are somewhat unique, particularly as regards to renewable energy use which is based on the utilisation of geothermal energy and hydropower for heating buildings
Nordic Green Building Councils have been established over the past 2 years. The Icelandic Green Building Council has had excellent working relations with the Nordic councils with particular attention being paid to co-operation in research and the development of various certification systems for buildings and land-use planning. VBR is firmly committed to maintaining good relations with its counterparts in the Nordic countries and is at the same time, an important point of contact for organisations who are members of VBR. The cooperation of the Nordic Green Building Councils includes holding the joint conference of the Nordic Green Building Councils in February every year.
Furthermore, IGBC’s role is also to encourage the authorities and organisations within the market to sharpen their focus in the field of sustainable design and land-use planning, such as by providing opinions on acts of law and regulations.
VBR was formally established on the 23rd of February 2010. More than 30 companies and public organisations have already become members. The goal is to increase the number of members even further over the next few years. At present, the association has one employee, the Managing Director in a 50% position.
In general, the association operates on two levels. On the one hand is the internal work, performed for the most part in independent working groups addressing defined issues, and on the other, disseminating general knowledge about ecological methods and focus points to the public. This is done through a dynamic website and open meetings where issues are debated. In the event that IGBC holds courses, these will be in co-operation with various educational institutions.
Working groups – further description of activities
Sustainable issues in Iceland
The group’s role is to define the uniqueness of Icelandic conditions as regards environmental certification, to define and address basic technical issues and focal points as regards eco-friendliness within Iceland. Compare with current certification systems and assess whether it is more appropriate to consider adaptation to existing systems.
Sustainable land-use planning
A close examination will be made of the status of the planning laws and regulations as regards to sustainable land-use planning since the laws and regulations are currently being revised. Particular attention will be paid to the manner in which sustainable land-use planning is connected to formal planning phases in Iceland. Moreover, a review will be made of the status of sustainable planning attitudes, certification systems and/or standards and other criteria on how to prepare ecological land-use plans and the importance of introducing guidelines on working practices with respect to what aspects are important when preparing an ecological land-use plan.
Review of building regulations
The group is to review the new Building Act (2011) and the manner in which the new building regulation reflects their objectives and focus as regards sustainable construction practices.
Energy use of sustainable buildings
A review will be made of international certification systems with respect to the energy aspect and an examination made of whether there is reason to seek specific certification (new assessment aspect) for renewable energy sources which will provide a separate assessment level in the certification process. Furthermore, the group will be expected to analyse the status within Iceland as regards to the energy analysis of buildings as well as examining the availability and options for software/analytical tools for energy measurements in buildings.
Sustainable construction materials
The availability of sustianable construction materials in Iceland will be reviewed. An examination will be made of the opportunities available and also of the certification systems that are being used both here and in the other Nordic countries. The group, moreover, should prepare proposals on the manner in which it is possible to encourage designers, users and sellers to increase the range of supplies and purchases of sustainable construction materials and to prepare a check list or criteria on what assessment aspects and/or systems are generally used when referring to sustainable construction materials.