Velux CEO: ‘If you want the most energy efficient home, live in a cave’

(EurActiv, 17 Oct 2019) Companies and lawmakers must take more responsibility in helping to solve issues related to buildings, including reducing carbon emissions and improving health standards, according to Velux CEO David Briggs.

David Briggs is the CEO of Danish windows firm Velux. He spoke to EURACTIV’s Sam Morgan on the sidelines of the 2019 Healthy Buildings Day, in Paris.

Can initiatives like the Healthy Homes Barometer transfer the ‘Greta effect’ to the buildings sector and convince people to make changes to reduce their inefficiencies and improve health standards?

I’m a little bit cautious about saying the “Greta Thunberg effect” because we don’t need to be overly dramatic, at least in this issue, although I have a deep respect for that young lady. But I think most policymakers are now clear that if we’re going to meet our emission targets then we’ve got to address energy efficiency in buildings. It’s pretty commonly understood that 40% of our carbon emissions are from them, so we know we’ve got to accelerate renovation rates and legislate to ensure new builds are as efficient as possible.

With Healthy Buildings Day, we want to make sure that this need to renovate does not mean that we forget the basic premise of a building: to protect inhabitants, keep them comfy and healthy. Ninety percent of our time is spent indoors. If indoor conditions aren’t right then people are going to get sick. Let’s take the opportunity of needing to renovate buildings to ensure well-being too.

So there’s no dichotomy between efficiency and health?

No, it’s not a choice. It’s absolutely an ‘and’. If you start to make it a choice, by starting to legislate and design in that direction, you may as well take it to the extreme: if you want the most energy-efficient home, live in a cave. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to live in a cave. Nobody wants to buy or live in a house just because it’s energy efficient. People, of course, want that but, fundamentally, they want a house or working environment that is comfortable to be in.

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EurActiv, 17 Oct 2019: Velux CEO: ‘If you want the most energy efficient home, live in a cave’